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Back in April I decided to share a selfie tip each day over on Instagram and the Be Your Own Beloved Facebook Page. Some were technical, some mindful, all full of love and inviting in self-compassion. Of course, I didn’t want to give away all the tips I share as a part of the Be Your Own Beloved class content but instead provide you with a supplement to it!

They are such juicy tips though, so I didn’t want to just leave them in my Instagram archives where they’d be hard for you to find. So I decided to make you an E-Book with every single tip I shared. 30 pages of fun tips for you to try out on your Selfie Journey.

It’s my gift to you when you join the Be Your Own Beloved Mailing List (and of course, it’s always okay to unsubscribe if it’s not a fit for you) and I’ll send you over a link to your copy of the E-Book.
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I so hope it’s helpful to you on those days you could use some selfie inspiration or a supportive boost as you turn your camera on yourself. If you take some selfies inspired by the tips, please don’t hesitate to use the #beyourownbeloved hashtag (which you’re always welcome to use) so I can find it and cheer you on!

If you’d like to have support on your journey to see yourself through a lens of compassion, come join me for the Be Your Own Beloved class, a 30 day journey to create a habit of seeing yourself through kinder eyes. Not only does it include daily prompts, it also includes a beautifully supportive community, a video resource centre with inspiring and helpful videos and tutorials and support from me throughout your journey.

Be Your Own Beloved starts June 1st and you can grab your spot here!

I know it’s hard to make the choice to see yourself through a lens of compassion (cause I’ve been there at that precipice of having to choose self-love over self-hate) but it is truly such a gift we can offer ourselves to simply begin the journey, to say yes.

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  • Question for the online class you are offering that starts June 1: Do you by any chance give instructions on using our iPhone for selfies that are more than holding our arm out as far as we can and turning the camera towards our own face? There surely is a way to do these like the settings on a regular camera. I have a DSLR but want to play with the iPhone if there is a timer that can be purchased in an app.

    Your class looks wonderful AND I really like your website and blog. I appreciate your newsletter signup idea of offering a freebie. I just got this idea from a blog consultant yesterday. You are proof that it works. Thank you.

    Marrianna in Flagstaff, AZ, USAReplyCancel

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You don’t need to apologize for your selfie.

For posting one when you don’t usually.

For wanting to be seen.

 

You don’t have to apologize for being yourself.

For your wrinkles, your chin, your belly, your smile.

For your inherently worthy body, right here right now.

 

You don’t have to apologize for being unfiltered

Or highly filtered. Or even touched up.

It’s your story to tell the way you need to.

 

You don’t owe us an apology. And what would it feel like not to apologize?

 

When I have the urge to apologize for posting something I don’t usually or a photo I’m not sure folks will groove with I feel myself shrink down, worried what other people might think. In fact often apologizing does the opposite of what we might want it too…pointing out that thing we think we need to apologize for actually points out what you might not want the viewer to notice.

Sharing without apology feels like a way to ground myself in my own power, in my own right to be here and tell my story.

And if you can’t resist the urge to apologize (or if you don’t have that same experience of the apology feeling like it invites you to sit in your smallness rather than bigness, that’s totally groovy too of course).

Or if this feels really big to share a selfie unapologetically and you’re not sure where the Beloved Beginnings class is starting Monday and was created not for people who already love taking selfies, but for those who it feels really vulnerable or out of your comfort zone.

 

Tell your story.

Take your selfie.

Unapologetically.

 

Nextbyobeloved

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I’m sorry to say, but our cats don’t care about our selfies.

Recently when I shared a selfie with my cat, Ladybug, lots of folks on Instagram said : I wish I could get my cat to do that! But the truth is, while Lady and I might make it look like she’s into taking the photo with me, she isn’t. And really who’s cat is? Our cats just don’t care about our selfies.

Still we want them to be in our photos. I know I sure do. So in my attempts to get Ladybug in the frame none the less, I’ve uncovered a few tricks I thought I’d share with you!

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Take LOTS of Photos

This is a tip I like to suggest for any sort of selfie taking. Don’t stop at just 1 photo and assume we can’t get the shot we want. It takes everyone a lot of tries to get that shot they really love and this is no acceptation!

So whether taking a selfie solo or yup…with your cat…try a whole bunch in order to get that one you really love. Get a variety of them too, try some of the tips below or just give yourself the chance to get playful and creative and capture that sweet feline of yours alongside you!

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Your cat doesn’t care about your selfie…so follow it’s lead.

From my experience with Ladybug, well, she couldn’t care less if I’m trying to take a selfie. In fact its rather annoying to her. So how do we accept that fact and still get a great shot? That’s where we simply have to let go of trying to plan out a shot and well, do what works for our cat.

Often when I’m sitting at my desk, Ladybug will come sit right in front of me, in that space between myself and my computer. You know, where they are completely blocking your view. After peering around her for a while I often give up and then say “Fine then, we’ll take a selfie”! What works is that she’s sitting on my desk so if I bring my face near hers…selfie success!

Now, on the opposite realm, if I try and pick her up and force her into a selfie…it’s just not going to go well. The theme of the selfie will become her trying to escape from my arms (and you will see some of those below). Because again, your cat doesn’t really care about your selfie. But we want them in them none the less, don’t we.

So if your cat is sitting on the ground, get down on the ground too.

If your cat is looking out the window, look out the window too.

If your cat is sitting on the top of the couch, don’t ask it to move…move towards it yourself.

Follow your cats lead! I’m pretty sure it’s the only way to make it happen!

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Attract its attention

I think sometimes with dogs you can make them sit and then the person with the camera can call them, but with cats and with selfies…that just doesn’t work.

One trick I’ve been using lately to try and get Ladybug to actually look at the camera is while I’m holding it to kind of scratch on the back of it with my fingernail. Cat’s love noises so it drew her attention and I was able to get one that looked like she was looking in the camera.

Make it quick though as after a while she totally caught on and started ignoring me! Cause, well, that’s how cat’s roll!

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Get Silly

While I haven’t actually had a successful shot like this yet, the whole Cat Beard Selfie phenomenon…oh my gosh…I love it. I just can’t imagine my cat letting me do that!

But there are other ways to get silly with your cat too. Sometimes when Ladybug decides to sit on my shoulder I pull out my camera as it kind of looks like she’s photobombing me. Um, here’s some other cat photobombs that cracked me up (especially if you’re having the kind of day where you need funny cat photos…cause some days we just do).

Or I just go with the flow and follow the lead of what she’s doing and often they end up looking quite humorous. Have fun with it (and you never know you just might get some hilarious outtakes out of it too)!

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Use Your Timer 

My answer to so many selfie questions is to use your timer! My favourite app is called Gorillacam and it allows you take a whole series of photos one after another. I recommend setting the camera to take around 10 or 15 (or even 30) and find a place to prop it where you and your cat are in the photo. Then you have both hands free to be in the photo with your cat! It helps big time, especially to get more candid or even silly cat selfies!

You could also use the Gorillcam timer for an arm’s length selfie and not have to press the photo button each time as the app will capture the photos for you!

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Get Candid

Following along with the idea of using your timer, it can be so fun to let your timer capture candid moments with your cat. Does your cat sit on your yoga mat every time you do yoga? Why not set up your timer and capture it. Maybe even put your camera down on the ground especially if like me and Ladybug…she follows me everywhere around the apartment (when not sleeping) and I’d love to get a shot of her little feet following mine.

Or is there a spot you both sit? You could set up your phone and timer (or get a remote like the HISY Remote for your phone) and get cozy in that spot you always sit together. There are so many possibilities. Especially if your pet is a big part of your life and your day, why not invite them into the visual story too. I love how every session of the Be Your Own Beloved class, pretty soon after we start taking our selfies, there’s always a large portion of them that involve our pets just naturally!

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Think Outside the Selfie Box

Just like with our selfies in general, they don’t have to be an arm’s length face selfie do they? There are so many more options, many of which are wonderful ways to tell the visual story of you and your cat. You could aim downwards at your cat and your feet, capture the photo in a reflection or a mirror, put the camera on the floor and capture it from ground level.

Remember, following our cats lead is our best plan and thinking outside the selfie box is a way to make that happen!

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Get Creative with your Cat Selfie

One of my favourite things to do with photos these days is to take Double Exposures and it can be so fun to use this or other creative tools to have fun with our selfies, especially the ones we might not love as is. This image above was an example of that, where I didn’t really love the way the photo worked out originally but when I added a layer to it, I ended up loving it.

You could play around with making your cat selfies black and white or colour, combining a bunch of them to make a GIF or hyper lapse. You could make double exposures with images of you and your pet together or even combine a portrait of you and of your cat separately into one image, double exposure style.

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But Really…

I know that I’m gettin’ a bit silly with y’all here cause cat selfies doesn’t seem like a very serious matter, but I do want to share why it’s really important to me to take cat selfies. Because…I’m so darn grateful to have this little purring, kind loving little being in my life. These pets are a part of our families and the more photos we can have with them the better (even if they still don’t care about being in our photos). We care that they are in our photos.

This image above…while in a way it’s an example of how not to take a selfie with your cat because Ladybug looks absolutely terrified. When I shared it years ago, people laughed. And I see why…we both look like a deer in the headlights. But my other cat Elliot had just passed away and I had just found out that she had the same condition that took him. I was feeling like a deer in the headlights and she was probably freaking out at why I was suddenly making her be in a whole bunch of photos. But I thought I’d loose her any day. So this photo feels important to me after all.

Even the photos we might not like at the time, that aren’t destined for Instagram, they are important. Inviting our lovely felines (or canines too or pets of any sort) into our photos is not just funny…but of such value to us. I know I won’t regret taking a moment every so often when she seems patient enough for it, to get out my camera and aim it at her and when I can, get into the photo with her too.

What about you? Have you had any successful pet selfie moments or photos? I’d love to know your favourite way to take a photo with your beloved pet? 

Nextbyobeloved

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Beyond arm’s reach there is so much more awaiting us than taking a face selfie at that angle we’ve perfected.

Beyond arm’s reach are our hands, free to move their own way, not held in position by holding the camera.

Beyond arms reach is that which we don’t know: the ways we could heal old stories, the potential for taking a of ourselves we really love.

Beyond arm’s reach is outside of the norm of what a selfie is perceived at, with a different perspective (potentially a kind one) awaiting us.

Beyond arm’s reach is that we can’t clutch onto, hold tightly to in fear. It’s letting go and trusting yourself as you open the door to seeing yourself with kind eyes (and trust that indeed, you will).

Beyond arm’s reach is that place beyond that wall we’ve been hitting with selfies, where we get bored or aren’t sure how to see something different day after day.

Beyond arm’s reach is outside of our comfort zone, where change happens.

Beyond arm’s reach is truly a whole other world of selfies we can take, when we step away from that small range of perspectives that our arm’s can reach to.

So how do we go beyond arm’s reach? It’s all about putting down our camera or phone on a bench or the ground or a tripod and stepping into the frame. Or perhaps putting it on a shelf just beyond arm’s reach and taking an arms length style selfie without having to hold onto the camera.

For me and often for participants in the Be Your Own Beloved class, this is the place where we step outside the threshold of our comfort zone of arm’s length selfies and into the empowering world of seeing yourself with a deeper kindness through your camera letting go of the limitation of only being able to see ourselves from that one perspective. For me, its where a deeper level of body image and self-love healing truly began.

Want to try it? I dare you! 

Indeed, you need to find your timer, right? iPhone users, if you don’t have a timer in your camera get Gorillacam and Android users you have a built in timer that is great and all other cameras likely have a timer included. Look around the outside of your camera for a symbol that looks like a clock or check your menu for the self-timer!

Go beyond arm’s reach!

Nextbyobeloved

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Yesterday I had a vulnerability hangover after posting a selfie.

Have you ever heard that term: Vulnerability Hangover? It’s a term coined by Brene Brown that she describes as: “the feeling that sweeps over us after we feel the need to connect… and we share something deeply meaningful. Minutes, hours, or days later, we begin to feel regret sweep over us like a warm wave of nausea.”

I had never pondered the overlap between that term and the feeling I sometimes had after posting a selfie but in that moment, it was clear…I was having a vulnerability hangover.

Sharing our selfies is vulnerable to many of us, especially when we’re going outside of our comfort zones, isn’t it.

So here’s what happened: 

I had just gone on a long run from my home to Granville Island along this beautiful seawall we have here in Vancouver. When I got there, I saw a wide open dock and decided to go stretch there as I cooled down from my run.

I’ve been working hard to shrink my body shame (rather than my body size) and have found myself able to comfortably rock running tights, which I was indeed wearing on this day.

After stretching I propped my phone up and used the Gorillcam Timer App to take a bunch of photos on the dock. This one caught my eye. We may have different reasons to choose our photos, sometimes because it feels like the one that is most in our comfort zone and other times because it is outside of our comfort zone…and we are ready to go there.

This was the case with the one you see above. I was able to step outside my old stories and look at her, the woman in the photo, as though she were a dear friend. I’m starting to be able to see this same way in the mirror when looking at my body too. I saw this photo and loved her curvature, the shape of her body against the wide open sky. So I went for it and shared it (and am including a few more here just to, you know, make it even more vulnerable to post this)!

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I felt 100% good about it in that moment.

But about 5 minutes later that wave of nausea hit.  Fiercely.

It came in the form of that voice, that inner critic that I’m grateful had taken a hike when I posted it.

“Did you just post a photo of your butt on Instagram?”

“Why in the world did you do that. Aren’t you embarrassed?”

“What if people think that is your belly not your butt?”

“Seriously? Why that one?”

And on and on.

Sigh. I thought I had posted this with love and that I wasn’t going to have to deal with my critic this time, but once again there it was.

Even though I had posted it feeling good about it, that sharing felt deeply vulnerable and the voice of my inner critic took the form of wondering what other people might be thinking. Deep down I knew that if they saw the photo with critique despite the fact I posted it with love, that was their story coming up and not mine.

What mattered was that I posted it with self-compassion.

And if I felt it in that moment I posted it, I could find my way back to it. 

It so happened that just then, I looked back at the photo and a wonderful woman had written “Love those beautiful curves”. Thank goodness for her…and thank you @wildspiritearth on Instagram. Having you mirror back that same reason why I posted it, the same kindness that in that initial moment of pressing the button to share it, that I had myself. It meant so much.

Yet sometimes there isn’t someone mirroring back kindness towards us. Or we may judge ourselves by how many comments we get or how many people like it and let that speak of the value of the photo rather than our own feeling about it. That nausea or panic might feel so overwhelming that we decide to delete it. I confess I’ve done that before. We get so caught up in all the stories of what other people are thinking after we take and share a photo.

People tell me they think they are doing this selfie-love thing wrong because they are having this reaction but really…this is the work of learning to see ourselves with kindness in our camera.

It is building that resilience in all the stages of the photo: taking it, looking at it, sharing it and even the ‘vulnerability hangovers’ that happen after we’ve shared it. Our resilience is needed in all of it.

It’s building that new story that we get to decide how we see ourselves and returning to that each and every time we have those doubts.

It’s not always easy. While over the years I’ve been building that resilience and I have these moments far less often (which OMG is such a relief). But they still happen. Especially as we keep pushing further and further outside our comfort zones.

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So Brene Brown’s term ‘vulnerability hangover’ came into my head in that moment of anxiety yesterday when that negative voice came up I was able to say in my head:

“Hey wait…I don’t usually post photos of myself from behind and this is new territory for me. But I saw my curvature with love in that photo and that is the new story I want to live in, not the old ones that not only don’t serve me but are also deeply unkind”

I repeated it to myself especially the words as though it was a mantra until it started to feel like it was soaking in and calming me.

It helped. And knowing it was in fact a ‘vulnerability hangover’ in reaction to that moment of sharing something outside my comfort zone. I think the more we find those terms or ways to wake ourselves up in these moments the easier it is to be resilient in them!

Sometimes it’s hard to pull ourselves out of all things we’re imagining other people thinking about our photo, but there’s only one truth we have control of…our own.

I had chosen to see myself through a lens of love when I posted it, and that is the truth I want to believe in.

How about you? Have you had a selfie vulnerability hangover (I bet most of us have). How did you get past it?

Nextbyobeloved

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  • […] this post about the ‘selfie vulnerability […]ReplyCancel

  • We are funny creatures for sure! Before reading your post…my 1st thought of your picture was that of a strong, curvy body, small waist, beautiful day…I was not expecting the story that followed. But oh how it resonates with my story…more often than not!

    You are wiser than you know! No doubts, no regrets…great post…AWESOME picture! :-)ReplyCancel

    • Thanks so much Kim! While it’s super vulnerable to even share the story (i may be having a second vulnerability hangover over here) but its important for me to because I think it’s a common thread within so many of our stories, those voices that come up after we take or share our photo.

      And thanks SO much for leaving a comment lovely! In these days of Facebook and social media when sometime takes the time to comment on the blog post itself mean so much!ReplyCancel

  • vilma

    Love your Photo,I saw somebody having fun, looking up to the sky and enjoying a beautiful day!!! I understand you….ReplyCancel

  • I know this feeling all too well! I’m constantly battling “vulnerability hangovers” all of the time!

    I don’t think you have any thing to be embarrassed about! These photos are so creative (love the angle) and I agree with Kim, you look like a strong, curvy woman enjoying a beautiful day!ReplyCancel

    • Thanks so much Cole! Glad it resonated!

      Indeed, back in my non-vulnerability hangover self I totally agree have found myself back to that place of love again and am not at all embarrassed about it now at all. I tend to share a lot more of what my inner critic actually says than the average person cause I hope it will help us feel less alone in those moments of vulnerability…cause we all go through it in some way!ReplyCancel

  • This post made me cry. I see you. And I’m so thankful for the way you share yourself. xoReplyCancel

  • Honestly, if you allow me, I just see a beautiful soul! Whatever the curves… that, in my opinion, are just natural and real. The fact that our culture sadly celebrates skinny, almost anorexic figures (with all of the problems that this causes) doesn’t mean that they are more beautiful than curves or that those women don’t have very carefully hidden, embarassing curves or other parts of their bodies that they consider “embarassing” or “faulty”. And if it’s not about the body, probably it’s something else!! Hence hooray for those beautiful, happy curves!! Thanks for posting those pics.
    You go girl!!!
    xoxoReplyCancel

  • […] I’ve experienced “vulnerability hangovers” too many times, so it was quite refreshing to read this. […]ReplyCancel

  • Alison M

    Thank you, Vivienne. I will be thinking of your words lots when I experience this same feeling.
    I just love that last photo. Your stance is so powerful and you are so enjoying the beauty of the day. All of these photos are so good. I am enjoying the moment with you, no notice or care of body shape. Sometimes I find that posting about (or asking about) the things we are vulnerable about is a good way to see things in a new light.ReplyCancel

  • Thank you so, so much for this post. It made me cry. I resonate so much with what you’ve written, and admire the courage it takes to write so honestly. My own inner work, as well as much of my work with other women, centers around learning how to see ourselves and our bodies through the eyes of love. For me, it is deeply spiritual, even sacred, work.ReplyCancel