Have you ever thought of employing an imaginary self-esteem mentor?
In my big dream quest to help women love themselves through the art of pin-up photography, I meet a lot of amazing women who don’t like themselves very much. Every woman who walks in my photography studio doors has a secret (or not so secret) part of herself she automatically criticizes.
Every. Single. Day.
My job as an empowering pinup photographer is to dull their internal negative dialog long enough to provide them with an stunning photographic experience. I don’t merely do makeovers with their hair and makeup. I strive to makeover how my female clients talk to themselves. I encourage them to be kind, both to themselves and to the world at large.
But what do you do when you are at home, and the negative voice in your head is shouting at you louder than the positive, and you don’t have me there with a camera to help you see the beauty that is you?
Girl, Get Yourself an Imaginary Self-esteem Mentor!
You may know someone who seems to glow from the inside. She seems to appreciate her imperfections. If she complains about her body, it doesn’t stop her from wearing a swimsuit or going out in public with a pimple on her chin. Or maybe there’s a celebrity you follow who isn’t perfect, but you love her in everything she does. She’s altruistic and someone who seems like she cares about making a difference in her world.
This woman can be your imaginary self-esteem mentor.
Research has shown when you imitate another’s confidence, aptitude, and positive thinking; you can actualize these traits in yourself.
This past weekend, I hosted a swimming pool party, and I wasn’t enthusiastic about entertaining others while dressed in a swimsuit. In my past, I’ve been called fat, so it’s difficult for me to walk around a pool and not internalize thoughts of guests repulsing at the sight of my thighs.
But my imaginary self-esteem go-to person is British comedian, Luisa Omielan.
To give you some idea why, here’s a video of her stand-up routine that I play in my head when self-critical thoughts appear:
I simply put on my swimsuit and think about this skit from Luisa Omielan.
I had a great time at my swimming pool party. I visited with friends, and I played with the kids–in the pool! It was a hot day, and everything felt perfect. My thighs did not bring the world to an end. And no one said anything about them to me. Except me. Today–in this article viewed by a lot more people than attended my swim party.
And honestly, I would not have worn a bathing suit if this party occurred a few years ago. I used to talk to myself in awful ways. In fact, I said more damaging things to myself than any other person.
I gained 100 pounds. I felt worthless, and I wanted to hide from the world.
I’ve worked hard to change the way I view myself. I choose to love myself. I choose to appreciate my imperfections. I choose to help other women appreciate their bodies with all of its blemishes, c-section scars, and glorious thighs that touch.
As soon as I picked an imaginary mentor and I began to work to help other women feel good about themselves, I lost the weight. When I say it works when you find an imaginary mentor and imitate the qualities you admire, I’m speaking from personal experience.
Find yourself an imaginary self-esteem mentor and practice seeing your worth until you believe in yourself. If you still feel inclined to suck in your stomach all day and wait to exhale until you get home–go bet it. But try to smile, find ways to laugh and understand that you are not alone while you are doing it. There are other women out in the world possibly looking at you and secretly thinking you are amazing.
Iman Woods is an American artist who specializes in pin-up photography. Through a unique and therapeutic process, she’s spent over a decade in perfecting, Iman helps women undo the damage from a negative self-image and unrealistic beauty industry expectations. She helps women embrace their own style of beauty and see themselves in a new light. You can find her on her website, Iman Woods.