People who know me well say I jump into things I get passionate about. My experience with doing 20 portrait shoots over the past 2.5 months is a great example of this only what has created the “jump into” energy is the river of women who’ve sought me out to do shoots, which I’ve been so delighted by!
One of the things I’ve been the most surprised to learn in talking with women during these shoots is the extent to which they do not feel they have permission to be beautiful. Many see their experience during our photo shoot as a rare and exciting opportunity to be beautiful and fully enjoy it. Others find the process of having their picture taken unexpectedly anxiety provoking because they hadn’t anticipated that it would actually feel foreign and confronting to celebrate their beauty.
The general sentiment I hear is that brides are the only women who are 100% allowed to be their fully radiant selves, to be the prettiest woman in the room. Other than that, your need to tone it down.
I have my theories about this but I decided to hear people out and see what the dominant answers were when I asked women why they felt they needed to tone themselves down. To be clear, because your mind may be saying the same thing, many said they didn’t have time. But when I asked how much time they spent online or watching tv, they laughed and admitted the had other reasons. Their answers fell into 3 groups.
ONE – Being beautiful, expressive, and radiant goes against the role and identity they took on in childhood, are still living, and believe to be true about who they are. This one goes deep and is the seed for the next two.
TWO – Being beautiful will intimidate other women and lead to being judged and isolated.
THREE – Being beautiful will attract attention from men that they don’t want because they feel unsafe to deal with it. Or, it will attract male attention that they do want but this makes them feel ashamed.
If you hold yourself back – with your beauty, expression, words, desires, or anything else – for one of these reasons, consider if that’s a version of you that you want to keep living. If so, why? If not, what can you begin living a version of yourself who is beyond these beliefs?