At my recent retreat in Lake Tahoe, I had the participants do some image/identity work with the camera. One of the exercises included posing each other in creative ways. It was fun to watch everyone come up with unique ideas and we captured some great photos.
Later, during the coaching session, we viewed the pictures on a big screen TV. One of the participants could barley look at one of the pictures. When I asked her what was going on-she told me to please take the picture down. This is the photo she saw and wanted removed:
As she looked at this picuture, she told herself that she wasn’t good enough, that she didn’t work hard enough, that she would never be enough even though she worked so hard. She cried and looked away and felt shame and upset as she looked at this photo and told herself this story.
It was baffling to the rest of us. We loved the picture. We thought the person who had posed it was creative and had made it interesting. We loved the energy and the feel of the photo. We thought it brought out the truth of the moment and the excitement of the day. But then, of course, this was was we saw when we looked at the photo:
She missed it.
She missed her own beautiful smiling face.
She missed Janie’s face and smile.
She missed Alison’s smile.
She missed Judith’s smile.
She missed the connection with her friends.
She missed the beautiful trees and the bright green grass.
She missed the entirety of the moment.
She only saw what she thought was “not good” about the photo.
She told herself a terrible story that caused lots of negative emotion.
When I pointed this out to her, she was stunned. She truly hadn’t noticed anything else in the picture but the negative judgment she had created about herself and her body. She said, “Oh my gosh! What else have I been missing in my life because I am so focused on what I don’t like?”
What are you missing in your life?
What are you choosing to focus on?