Hating pictures of yourself is a waste of energy

The good, bad and the negative

Hating your pictures is a waste of energy. Yeah, I said it, and I meant it. Let’s have some real talk for a minute. I don’t know about you but I HATE having my picture taken.  Yet we live in a day and age where everyone walks around with a camera in their pocket. We take snaps and Instagram photos, selfies to post to our feeds and stories.  The endless bombardment of the need to show ourselves having a fun and fantastic life filled with adventure and friends.  For those of us that have severe body image issues, this is a living nightmare.  Now I take just as many pictures of my friends and dog as the next person, but I’m always careful to be the photographer and not the model. Why? Simple, I don’t have to face my flaws when I see the photo if I’m not in it. 

The sad part though is how much energy we spend navigating ourselves to either avoid a picture or try to look good in a picture we are forced to take. There are countless blogs and videos on how to use tips and tricks to catch the perfect pose. How to hide fat or some other body feature. We jump through hoops in order to immortalize an image of a person who really isn’t who we are.  Inevitably we fail, and our flaws shine through. Glaringly proud to show the world how messed up we are.  All that work going into hiding them for nothing. 

The inner critic has a field day

What is the first thing that runs through your head as your eyes eagerly devour a new picture that you happened to be captured in?  For me, there is always a slight apprehension, as if I know what’s coming next will leave me feeling devastated. It’s only on the rare occasion am I pleasantly surprised to say “well that’s not so bad”. Honestly, the first thing that goes through me is horror, and then dismay.  Suddenly my inner critic is up and stretching, he’s preparing to run through his favorite gauntlet, the one that tears me apart in my own mind.  “Do I really look that big?!” is usually the first one. “God look at my face” is a close second. Then as I scroll through picture after picture, my little inner critic runs circles in my head, leaping to conclusions and pole-vaulting me straight into depression and shame.  

hating pictures of yourself is a waste of energy

S,The abuse and self-destruction are just not worth it.

This happened recently, just the other day in fact. I went with a friend to go take some pictures with Rebel, so I could have more to share here on the blog with you guys. I know I haven’t been feeling very confident lately with the whole pandemic pounds packing on, but I recall the last time I took some impromptu pictures I was feeling better about myself. Having been working on losing weight and seeing changes in my body.  Well I saw a change this time and it wasn’t a good one. 

Immediately I started to tear myself apart.  The pictures were actually pretty good, I mean my dog is literally just a beautiful beast of a puppy!  I had my hair done, my makeup on, and the beautiful Colorado landscape as our background. How could things go wrong?  Well, I’m sure you can guess, the first thing I saw when I looked at them was how much of my lost weight I had gained back.  What happened next, is why hating pictures of yourself is a waste of energy.

The self-abuse started up like it never stopped  What a failure I was, how I’ll never succeed in reaching my goals. To make matters worse, I had let myself down in such a big way.  How was I ever going to share my story with the world, with you guys, when I continue to be a big FAT failure. Seriously who would want to follow and learn from someone who struggles so much in finding her way?  I had officially hit a spiral of self-destruction.  I even asked a very close friend those exact questions. His response is absolutely everyone who ever struggled with loving themselves! (I’m paraphrasing but that was the gist of his statement)

Be brave, embrace your vulnerability. 

Here’s the deal, yeah I hate my pictures, and yes the idea of showing them off to anyone is exhausting and scary. More importantly, it leaves me absolutely vulnerable. I don’t know what other people may think, but that’s kind of the point of all of this. To stop worrying so much about what someone else may think about what I look like. 

It’s time to really dig deep down, grab a hold of bravery, and start loving what I look like.  I may not love every pound on my body, god knows I really don’t.  Nobody likes the wobble in their arms or the cellulite in their thighs.  I certainly hate, with a depressing kind of passion, the way my belly hangs into my lap. Yet every single one of these things are temporary. Nothing about these issues is permanent. I can make the changes to what I see as I move through life, and more importantly, my friends, SO CAN YOU !

What we see in that frozen second of time is a person, a physical statement that we were there in THAT moment, celebrating life. We made a memory! So what if physically we aren’t where we want to be. That doesn’t stop us from loving the moments we spend with friends and family, or the adventures that life takes us on. We pass up so many opportunities to be present in the moment enjoying what life is offering us.  Why? Because someone might think I’m too big and pass judgment on me?  You know what, so what?  Let them judge, let me be in my moment loving the life I’m building.

love the moment you are in not the body you are stuck in

Bottom Line

The bottom line, hating pictures of yourself is a waste of energy. Spending the time hating what you see, only keeps you stuck.   My recommendation, take some of the photos you don’t like and look at them again. Instead of thinking of what you look like in that picture, soften your focus and think about the moment that picture was taken.  Who else is in it with you? Or if you’re alone in it, who took the picture. Where are you and what were you doing that day?  Use the picture for what it’s true purpose is, not to tear you down but to remind you of that moment you lived in. The people you spent those moments with. The laughter you had that day, or the adventure you went on! 

I took a few of those photos from the other day that had me in such a state, and did exactly what I’m suggesting to you. In the process of doing that, I found myself smiling at the goofy face I was making with my dog and him making one back at me. I found beauty in having Rebel in my life, and being on a fun hike with my friend who didn’t make me feel bad about myself. In doing so, I was able to be brave enough to share those photos with you guys.  Lastly, remind yourself that it’s just a picture and not a full representation of the wonderful and amazing person you are inside and out.  Embrace the moments that you can immortalize and reminisce on later. Stop judging yourself so harshly, love the moment you are in, and most importantly BE BRAVE!!!!  

As always my friends, remember you are never alone, and you can always reach out to me via email or in the comments below. Until next time beautiful people!

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  1. Adrienne

    Perfect post and honestly something I deal with I’m my biggest critique and always think about what other people see when they look at the picture and half the time they love it but I’m like nope. Thanks for sharing it’s super encouraging

    • Amber

      Don’t give up, I cringe at new pictures all the time. It’s hard not to feel embarrassment or shame sometimes when I see them. Everyone tells me I look good and then I get mad because I feel like they are lying to me. changing how I looked at those pictures has softened my reaction by quite a bit. It still happens but I keep working at it!. Thank you =)

  2. Alexandra

    So true! I’ve spent most of my life hating pictures of myself, as well as deleting those. Oh, regrets.

    • Amber

      I realized one day I didn’t have very many pictures of me with my friends or family from when I was younger. The few I DID find, I looked so unhappy and miserable. So many wasted moments

  3. Amanda

    This was so inspiring to read. It’s so hard to leave auto criticism away, mostly while taking photos. But you’re right it is definitely a waste of time judging ourselves.

    • Bojana

      I LOVE this post! A great reminder to appreciate ourselves more. My inner critic can be a real a$$hole sometimes 🙂
      Great post!

      • Amber

        Mine is a huge jerk, getting that inner critic to be quiet for just a little bit takes practice! even then it still likes to poke its head up from time to time

  4. Castlesandturrets

    I love this post! There was once a time when I hated having my photo taken, when all I would do would take endless selfies until I was happy with one. But that always took forever and it ruined the moment. Now I love every photo taken of me (good and bad) because it’s a moment, a precious memory and I love all of them! Thanks for sharing x

    • Amber

      It’s honestly something I struggle with every day. Yet I realized I can’t learn to love myself if I’m constantly throwing shade at my own image! also yes!!! all the time wasted and energy used up trying to look good instead of loving the moment you’re in is such a pain!


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Tired of battling low self-esteem, zero self-worth, and an emotional eating addiction, Amber created Amberable to share her journey with those who may be struggling. Hoping to empower, inspire and heal others like herself