Actions Speak Louder Than Words

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A couple of months ago, one of my favorite bloggers, Gigi from Kludgy Mom, wrote a post – When did you stop thinking you were beautiful? about a video by Dove. Gigi shares about her daughter and how she hopes she never stops thinking she is beautiful.

I love that children LOVE having their photo taken or being on video. So sweet and innocent and how we all should be. As a mom of 3 girls, I completely agree with Gigi that I pray my girls NEVER stop knowing they are beautiful.

This video got me wondering. Do you think our children learn to avoid the camera because they see their mother’s do that? Are we teaching our children to not accept their beauty and embrace their awesomeness when we throw our hands in our face when someone brings out a camera? Are you quick to disregard the photos taken of you saying “I look fat” or “That is a terrible photo of me”? Think about what you say about your own appearance, especially when your children and girls are around. Is that the internal monologue you want to teach your daughter?

No matter who you are, there is something about your appearance you may not enjoy. Personally, I don’t like my profile and I used to avoid it being photographed at all costs. However, I have stopped that and embraced it. I would never want to hear one of my girls criticizing how they look…ever. And that starts with me. My children will never hear me criticizing my appearance and it isn’t because I think I’m a stunning super model because I have insecurities like everyone else. Instead, I’m keeping those negative thoughts to myself. I know I never once heard my mother criticizing her appearance and I thank her for that. Thanks Mom!


I challenge you to take a photo of yourself or be in a photo and do not criticize the way you look in the image. Will you take on my challenge?

Read more about how to take self portraits:

Self portraits: Get in front of the camera
Self portraits made easy
Tips for taking your own family portraits

*This post is not sponsored by Dove.

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  • Liz
    August 15, 2013 at 9:56 AM

    This summer, I created an iMovie for my mom’s 70th birthday. I spent hours going through old slides looking for images of my mom. There were plenty of her before my brother and I were born but soon after our arrival there were less and less. Of course, I know she was TAKING the pictures but it got me really thinking. Each image I did find was so precious to me. This is a great challenge…one we should all continue for a lifetime.

    • Courtney Slazinik
      August 20, 2013 at 3:05 PM

      Yes! I so wish I had more photos me my mom when we were younger as well!!

  • Jennifer
    August 15, 2013 at 10:04 AM

    I always try to coach my friends and family to do this. I thought I was “beautiful” for many years. At 30 I got diagnosed with breast cancer. Bald, 40 lb weight gain. Scars everywhere after multiple surgeries. But, I never stopped letting my photo be taken. Still heavier than I thought, now starting to gray and wrinkle… the fact is this is the reality. It’s the snapshot of my life. It’s the memories we make. Women steal from themselves and their families by not letting their “not 20 year old fit selves” be photographed and embracing it! Great challenge.

    • Courtney Slazinik
      August 20, 2013 at 3:06 PM

      I LOVE this! Love! I think it’s fantastic that you did not shy away from the camera! Thank you for sharing your story!

  • Barb
    August 15, 2013 at 10:30 AM

    Scott has been telling me this for years and even more since our children were born. I love how he can always see the positive in everything instead of negatives. I’m trying to be more conscious of what I say about myself and what my actions say for the benefit of my girls. Thanks for a great reminder

    • Courtney Slazinik
      August 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      You should listen to that man! He’s wiser than he looks ;)

  • August 15, 2013 at 10:33 AM

    Jill Samter did a “I am beautiful challenge” that I took part of a few years back, since then I’ve tried to ensure I get photos with me and a recent selfie with me and my husband, I was like “Wow! I glow and I’m happy” I started looking through some other photos and maybe its my intent to remove some of the negativity working, but I found even the ones I’d throw away in the past? I embrace for the fun moment captured! Its a great challenge!

    • Courtney Slazinik
      August 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      Yes, I did that challenge as well and remember your images! I’m so glad you are still getting in front of the camera!

  • Meghan
    August 15, 2013 at 2:37 PM

    Great idea! I don’t want my children to grow up being negative…….. starts with me though. I am going to do some self portraits !

    • Courtney Slazinik
      August 20, 2013 at 3:07 PM

      Awesome! Please share them on our FB page!

  • August 15, 2013 at 4:52 PM

    I will do it- happily!

    • Courtney Slazinik
      August 20, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Fantastic! You won’t regret it!

  • August 19, 2013 at 5:19 AM

    love what you wrote in this post. Something to think about….

    • Courtney Slazinik
      August 20, 2013 at 3:08 PM

      Thanks :)

  • Katie Wright
    September 20, 2013 at 12:55 AM

    Thank you for this Courtney! I think too often we forget that we need to be apart of those memories captured. This is my personal goal, to be in those photos and just enjoy being part of that moment in time.

  • Mom
    May 5, 2014 at 10:10 PM

    You’re welcome! We may not be beautiful to some people but we are who we are, and maybe if we don’t point out our insecurities, like the fact that my smile is crooked, no one else will really notice. Just be happy with who you are and that you are happy, healthy, and here! Cherish your time with your children, there is nothing better.

  • Stuart Wilson
    May 5, 2014 at 10:58 PM

    I can not do that. My wife is the only person who can take an image of me and make it look good. I don’t know how she does it but I’m glad that she does, otherwise I would never have any record that I actually lived on this lovely planet of ours. She just knows how to make an iphone snap look like a nikon capture.

    • May 8, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      Sounds like your wife knows what she’s doing. Don’t forget to encourage her to get in front of the camera too :)

  • Kira
    May 5, 2014 at 10:59 PM

    Yes, Yes, Yes!! You are so right. I am super excited to be expecting right now, but have been frustrated with how fast I’m growing this time in comparison to my previous pregnancies. Hearing you say, “Think about what you say about your own appearance, especially when your children and girls are around.” was a little bit of a slap in the face reminder. Thank you for this kind, important post. I’ll watch my mouth and attitude, and continue the “mommy and me” photos I used to be more regular about taking with my kids.

    • May 8, 2014 at 11:12 AM

      Congrats on your new little! Take lots of maternity photos to remember this time :)

  • Mari
    May 6, 2014 at 12:09 AM

    I don’t actually have very many pictures of myself, partially because DH has NO interest in learning the basics of my camera. The other part is somewhat difficult to explain – I’m part of the last generation before digital. When I was growing up taking pictures was a big deal (expense wise) and something you only for special occasions. It’s also difficult for me to “insert” myself into a picture for that reason. Well, also because I was raised by some very “old world” standards and was taught that wanting to take pictures of yourself was very vain. I’m trying to get over it, but it’s slow going! :)

    • May 8, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      That is why God invented tripods :) I’d say 90% of my photos with me in them were taken by me. I’m glad you are slowly getting in front of the camera more. The world wants to see your beautiful face :)

  • May 6, 2014 at 11:45 AM

    I’m so glad you shared this. I’ve always said that I take the pictures so I don’t have to be IN the pictures, but I’ve come to realize recently that I have been very selfish. It really isn’t about me. It is about other people’s memories of me. I work at a college and at graduation every year, students want to take pictures with me. It should be an honor that they want to remember me as someone who helped them accomplish this dream, but in the past I have shied away from being in the shot. This year though, I gladly jumped in with them. Of course, their generations uses FB instead of photo albums, so I have seen myself posted all over the place. Do I love the pictures? Most of the time no, BUT, these are their memories of me and I owe it to them to smile and show the love I have had for them during their higher education journey. In the future, I will keep in mind that it really isn’t about me and smile my biggest smile. I may even do a duck face or two….

    • May 8, 2014 at 11:13 AM

      I love that! What a great way to look at it. Your students DO want to have memories of you. I’m so glad you are hoping in the photos with them now :)

  • May 6, 2014 at 4:42 PM

    Wow, what a powerful insight. Between your blog & Laura’s comment above…A big Bingo! I never thought our reactions might be influencing others to adopt the same attitudes but surely they are. I have to tell you why this resonates so much with me. I lost my mother in 2006. The night of the family visitation, when back at my parents house, my sister in law started taking pictures of my Dad with his 2 sisters. I quickly jumped over to my Dad’s side & said take a picture with me & my Daddy. I realized I had avoided having my picture taken for years because of my weight & now had no pictures with my mother & no opportunity to correct that. My father died 13 days after my mother & that photo is the last I have of him. That photo & one I have of me & my dad taken on my 21st bday about 34 yrs ago are two of my most precious possessions. Life is precious & goes by to quickly. Photography is not about what we look like. It is about who we are. It is about preserving the moment, the memory, the feeling. I still don’t like my picture but I’m only kidding myself. I don’t look any differently in person than I do in a photograph. Heck with good photoshopping I could actually slim myself up a bit! LOL! Thank you for this challenge. I will accept it & I encourage everyone else to do so too! As Laura put it so well….we need to remind ourselves…it’s seldom about me.

    • May 8, 2014 at 11:14 AM

      I’m sorry to hear that you don’t have many photos of your mom but I love that you did get in a photo with your dad :) Yes, it is about the memories.

  • Stacy
    May 6, 2014 at 11:58 PM

    Really appreciate this! I’m a new mom and love taking pics of my baby. I get frustrated that when I hand someone the camera my head is chopped off or I’m really out of focus or…you get the point. I take selfies here and there but no reason I can’t learn to use a tripod, remote and learn to take some better self portraits. Also my guy is willing to take pics of me when I ask. Great post!!!

    • May 8, 2014 at 11:15 AM

      Yes, I’m right there with you. I understand when I hand my camera over that the odds of it turning out perfectly are slim. That is why 90% of my photos with me in them were taken by me and my tripod :) Enjoy getting in the photos with your little guy :)

  • Gini
    May 7, 2014 at 3:00 AM

    Sorry, have no idea why the above posted a link to my photography. Not intentional & I do apologize.

    • May 8, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      No need to apologize :) I have it set up to post a link to your last blog post :) Sharing the love.

  • Donna Schumann
    May 7, 2014 at 9:01 AM

    I loved this viedo :) thanks for sharing

  • Andrea
    May 26, 2014 at 6:59 AM

    Hi Courtney.
    I was on holiday when you sent out the Weekly Challenge email for Self Portraits so I am only just reading it now. It is so perfectly timed because a little while ago I decided that I want to start a Project 365 for myself and that once a week I would take a self portrait and once a week a family photo. There are so many photos of my son on his own – I’m normally behind the camera and my husband works long hours so he leaves before my son is awake and when he comes home its time for dinner, bath and bed. The reason I decided to set a day for family photos and self portraits is because I realised that if something happened to either me or my husband or even both of us, we have almost no photos of us together as a family and that just absolutely scared me. Photos help us to keep the memories in our hearts strong. My husband isn’t one for climbing in front of the camera so I am going to have to do some persuading but I am so excited to start my Project 365 and be able to show off my family photos.
    Gini, your comment brought tears to my eyes – thank you for reminding me that I need to take more photos with my parents and extended family, not just my little family.

  • July 29, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    I avoid being photographed so much, its ridiculous how bad I critique myself.
    Reading this has opened my eyes.
    thank u for posting and for the inspiration

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