Confidence Archives | Smart Photography

Category Archives for "Confidence"

2 Toxic Memes

I need to start this off by stating that I LOVE memes. We create loads of them for Instagram and Facebook.  I share them, like them, tweet them.

However, I am also acutely aware that a widely shared meme demonstrates 'this view is popular'. If that view makes someone feel negative emotions such as guilt or shame, the meme may be toxic to their mental health.

People are extra-sensitive right now, as we're all coping with our own, unique situations. Consequently, the opportunities to make people feel 'less than' are abundant.

<Waits patiently whilst someone bleats on about snowflakes>.

When brands create memes, they've usually got a very defined audience in mind (and I am including us as a brand here - 15 years in business, we've got a logo and everything, if I want to say we're a brand, let me have it).
You think pretty carefully about who you want to 'speak' to, as a brand. You're not intending to actively alienate every one else (most of the time), but you're not really trying to speak to the majority, as much as you're attempting to really reach the people who share your core brand values.
I tend to try to play it safe - to me this means 'don't make anyone else feel bad, in trying to make someone feel good'.

When individuals create memes, they've just thought 'sounds good to me' and go for it.

Toxic memes are falling into a variety of categories.

Toxic Motivation

toxic motivation meme

I first came across this in various business groups on Facebook.
Now, businesses are getting hammered by the lockdown. Many business owners aren't working, aren't earning and don't know whether they'll ever re-open, such is the current economic reality.
Needless to say, therefore, seeing these posted, does not necessarily buoy your spirits, when you're wondering 'am I going to lose my house in all this?'.

Worse, the sentiment got shared much more widely. As if everyone was now on some kind of extended holiday, and should be 'making the most' of their sudden, clearly abundant, free time.

Sure, you may be trying to home school your children, make £2.50 last for 4 weeks and stop your dog going crazy, but if you really wanted to learn to play the cello, you would be making it happen.

Meanwhile, you could be doing none of these things, and spending all day in your pyjamas, watching Netflix, and finding even that a struggle. You got through another day. You are doing enough, right there. Don't be guilted into thinking you aren't.

Finally, you might be like me - essentially, kind of fine with lockdown and a bit lazy. Still. Leave me be. I usually work flat out, so excuse me if I don't want to make now the moment I write a book.

Fat Shaming Memes

These have built in popularity, the longer the lockdown goes on. I'm not sharing one. You've seen them, probably given them a like, possibly shared them.
They're essentially variations on the theme of how fat you're going to be, by the time lockdown ends.

I do not think you're fatphobic for sharing these. There's some kind of weird validity that comes from something being a widely shared meme - just a general 'it must be ok'. And, it made you laugh, at first glance. Quite possibly, your intentions lean towards being self-deprecating. I understand all of this, and I just ask you to think about who these ultimately refer to. This article explains it brilliantly.

(Incidentally, the very first one of these I saw had a picture of a toddler, on a beach, in a bikini. So, yay, we're somehow - what? - fat-shaming children now? I don't get it).

Anti-Ageing Memes

See above - I'm not sharing any.  These are similar to fat-shaming memes, just replace being overweight with 
1. having grey hair
2. having wrinkles

Because, of course these are the worst things that can happen to us.

Anti-Feminist Feminist Memes

Not lockdown specific, these. They'll say things like:
"You can always tell who the strong women are. They are the ones you see building each other up, instead of tearing each other down."

Implicit it in these is that there's lots of women behaving terribly towards each other, and a few, strong ones not. 

Essentially, this is something all of the toxic memes have in common - putting a group of people down - either obviously, or subtly. And it is often subtle, which is what sucks us all in to sharing them.

ps...

You may, from reading this, consider me a completely joyless shrew. Just to let you know, I am fine with that.

Much love,
Anna
xx 

Radical Inaction

I'm inadvertently taking part in radical inaction

radical
adjective
(especially of change or action) relating to or affecting the fundamental nature of something; far-reaching or thorough.
"a radical overhaul of the existing regulatory framework"

inaction
noun
lack of action where some is expected or appropriate

You may not think of yourself as radical - I certainly don't - but there are things I don't do that seem to be radical - to the point where I sometimes do them, just to not be making a statement.
I am inadvertently taking part in radical inaction, just by thinking 'I don't see the point in doing that'.

Take shaving your body hair

No, really take it! Or waxing, sugaring (I don't know what that is, but I'll bet it hurts), lasering, whatever.

I used to shave my legs and armpits - of course I did. I didn't grow up as some kind of monster. I just became one.

In the same way I don't really get the sitcom 'Miranda', I don't get removing body hair. I just know that it's very popular and you're a bit odd if you don't like it.

My radical inaction on this is not radical on my part. It's just a 'but I don't understand the point?'
However, nor do I want my inaction (radical or otherwise) to be seized upon as some kind of statement. So sometimes I will shave my legs (literally, as far up as I think they might be seen. 3/4 length trousers = only a third of leg needs to be done).
I am doing this solely to fit in and not be commented on - not because I buy into any real reason for it. Effectively, I am being an (oddly sheared) sheep.

Or take anything to do with looking younger

Again, I just don't get it.
What real effect will wrinkles have on my life? That other people think I'm old? And this is bothersome to me how? Maybe I just am, you know, old. (You're always old to someone!).

radical inaction

Are you taking part in radical inaction?

You may be taking part in radical inaction, as a woman, if you

- don't dye greying hair

- don't have long hair
(there's an article here that suggests it you don't do either of these, you're extremely radical!)

- don't have a skincare regime to stop wrinkles/other signs of ageing

- don't diet/worry about your weight (beyond health reasons)

- don't remove every bit of hair from your body, except for your head (for which you can get a shampoo to try to make sure you keep every hair) - see this article for how radical and feminist this is

- not having children, by choice

(Feel free to add your own thoughts to this list, because there will be many things I have missed out).

You may think you're just being yourself

But when 'being yourself' corresponds with stepping outside of society's norms, you may be taking part in radical inaction, simply by not fitting in.

(Fun fact - on a phone-in show discussing Greta Thunberg, one man triumphantly declared her 'not being interested in make-up' as proof that she's not a 'normal teenage girl'. Now, I don't think that GT necessarily is a normal teenage girl, I think she's extraordinary, but still!).

There is an absurdity to radical inaction

In that I feel it's quite likely that women often aren't intending to be radical, statement making feminists by taking part in it. They're just wanting to quietly go about their lives, not doing some of the stuff that's often taken for granted.

Are you taking part?

Much love,
Anna
xx

self love brings beauty

Self Love Brings Beauty

If there's a message we can get on board with, then surely it's 'Self Love Brings Beauty'?

So when our original 'knicker lady', Vee, showed me these knickers - an awesome collaboration between body positive activist Felicity Hayward and lingerie brand, Playful Promises - I thought, "hmmm, maybe when she comes along for her shoot, we could be photographed in them together".

self love brings beauty knickers

Then I thought "Why stop there?"

If there's an opportunity for body positivity, we have to take it!

So, I put a shout out across our Facebook page and our 'Fall in Love With You' Facebook group, in the hopes I might get a couple more people to come along.
Secretly thinking 'how awesome would it be, to get every size represented, from an 8 to a 26?'

As always, we are nothing without our tribe. We got messages! Our clients, friends of clients and women in the group were happy to take part. (I mean, it's perfectly possible they didn't know exactly what they were taking part in - I may have been a bit vague).

An extra thank you to the women who had never been to us before

It's one thing for a client to step forward - they know us.
I have to say an extra, heartfelt, thank you to the women who had no clue who we are, and agreed to come along anyway (especially the client who I persuaded to stay on after her shoot!).

Of course I was in there myself

A chance to wear knickers saying 'Self Love Brings Beauty'? I'm not missing that - with apologies to my friends and family who may have thought they'd seen enough of me in underwear. Sorry, you were wrong!

And here we all are

self love brings beauty

In the end, we had women sizes 8 to 24 come along. Let's be honest, bums are always, always awesome and these women are no exception.

Please don't underestimate the bravery it takes to get down to your knickers, in a room full of strangers, and have your photo taken!

Thank you, everyone.

Self Love Brings Beauty - it really, really does!

Much Love,
Anna
xx

Want More Confidence? Make Decisions

AKA Confident People Don't Dither

If you happen to either be very indecisive, or a total, out and out people-pleaser, chances are you don't make quick decisions. There can be too many options and you want to think them all through, you want everyone to be happy, you want the right decision.

All Decisions Are Not Created Equal

Of course there are some things in life that take deep consideration. I'm not advocating choosing which house to buy on a whim! But every day, there are lots of decisions that really, will have very little overall impact.

  • What to have for dinner
  • What to watch on tv
  • What film to go and see
  • Which top to wear

There may be other people's preferences, but there's no right or wrong answer. So start making these decisions quickly. Assume all of the options have equal merit and just choose.

We Keep Our Minds Busy Sweating the Small Stuff

We know we do. 

If we attach great weight to small decisions, then the weight we attach to big ones is overwhelming. We don't have the headspace left to consider them, when there are just so many things to think about.

If you don't get caught up in pleasing everyone, what's the worst that can happen? You see a terrible film? Someone doesn't have their favourite meal that day? These things don't matter.

Quick Decisions Give the Appearance of Confidence

And not just to other people, but to ourselves too.
They're a very easy way to help you feel more confident. No overthinking, you just cracked on, made a decision, moved on.
You'll appear more confident. And, over time, you will feel more confident, because you are repeatedly trusting yourself.

Much love,
Anna
xx

Talking to Yourself

"Talk to Yourself Like You Would To Someone You Love"

This is one of my absolute favourite quotes, from the fabulous Bren√©  Brown.

It's also really, really hard to do. Plus, we sometimes fall into a pattern of familiarity with people we love that means, well, we don't always let them know that we love them.

How about then, we at least try to talk to ourselves with respect?

When we respect our own opinions, our health, our bodies, we're showing that we believe in ourselves - and this is at the root of confidence.

When we don't have faith in our decisions, and waver, second guess, or start to lose track of ourselves, our confidence levels fall.

Body confidence is not separate from any other kind of confidence - build your confidence in one area and it will ripple through your life.

Build your body confidence, and you will gain more general confidence
Build your overall confidence, and you will gain more body confidence

Respecting your opinions doesn't mean you somehow think you're always right. Don't people who do think they're always right just annoy the hell out of you?
It just means that you place trust in your own decisions. If something doesn't work out, well, we're all on a constant learning curve, that's how we grow and change our minds over time.

Equally, respecting your body doesn't mean considering it to be 'perfect'. It simply means that you make decisions based on what you know to be good for your health, good for your body, good for you.

Establish a pattern of respect for yourself, and your confidence will grow

There are so many ways to do this, and it will vary for everyone.

If, for example, you start sentences with "I'm probably wrong...", catch yourself, stop yourself, remove the preamble and just say what you think.

If you never choose what film to see, or what restaurant to go to, because you are more concerned at pleasing other people than yourself, put your opinion forward. Yes, compromise is a wonderful thing, but not if you're always the one doing the compromising. 

If you feel like you don't 'deserve' nice clothes, well-fitting lingerie, or to be able to wear a bikini - show yourself that you are absolutely as deserving as the next person.

Act right now how you think you would act if you had more confidence

Because that's all anyone else is doing.

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