Lately I’ve been craving to revisit my self-care plan.  I have a collection of ways I like to cultivate self-care in my own life, and keep my own well filled up. Some things (like getting outside for walks) are still a thriving part of my self-care while other things have gone to the wayside (like my Monday Morning solo coffee & journaling date).

Plus, the new year feels like the right time.  In the past couple years I’ve committed more than ever to my own personal path towards body acceptance and with that, resolutions just don’t feel like the right kind of goal setting for me anymore. So I’ve been planning to revisit the tools in my Self-Care Policies Class starting January 1st as a way to reconnect and revise my own self-care plan.

But then I thought, why not invite you to join me and we can explore them together!

This is normally a self-paced class but I’m running it once in 2015 as a community class! We already have lots of folks signed up to join and I think it’ll be a mighty powerful way to get inspired to make 2015 the year we dig deeper into self-care and self-compassion!

Oh, and you may notice the title has now changed to Cultivating Self-Care. I still love the idea of creating self-care policies but it sounds so formal and almost like you’ll be in trouble if you don’t fulfill your policy! But that isn’t the case and if you’ve taken a class with me you’ll know that self-compassion and playfulness are at the forefront of everything I teach, so I wanted to make the title more gentle (in case you were wondering about that)!

So, you are invited to come spark the year with self-compassion and explore these tools that I hope will help you make more space in your day, week and your year for self-care! Oh, and did I mention it’s super affordable at only $39!

Come join us! 

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I’m having an EPIC 20% off site-wide sale to thank you for your support during this past year and celebrate the coming year ahead!

Enter the code: BELOVEDHOLIDAYSALE to get the discount!

Yes, the means the February Session of Be Your Own Beloved!
Yes, that means the Self-Paced Class you’ve been eyeing!
Yes, that means the Beloved Camera E-Book!
Yes, that means the Mentoring Sessions too (via skype).
Yes, you can even get 20% off of a Beloved Portrait Session (offered locally)! 

Gift yourself with the experience of a Be Your Own Beloved program and explore seeing yourself through a lens of compassion! If you’ve been a bit nervous to sign up for the class I hope this discount will help you say YES to the class and to your choice to see yourself with kindness!

You can most definitely use the code to buy a gift for someone else (just let me know if it’s a gift in the ‘Notes to Seller’ or use the contact form to connect with me about your gift)!

And thank you, truly…for all the comments, retweets, repins, likes and especially to those of you who got brave and said YES to seeing yourself with compassion this year! 

The Fine Print: The Sale Ends December 12th at 11:59 (no exceptions).  The only thing not an option for the sale are those workshops listed on the Workshops page (which of course are not hosted by me or not mine to offer a sale on)!

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During each session of Be Your Own Beloved there is a point where our inner critics start to get really shaken up. For most women who take the class, it is SO outside of their comfort zone to take a selfie, let alone a whole month of them.  I bet for those of you who’ve been on your own selfie journey you’ve found the same thing happen.

Our critic likes to tell us we are doing it wrong, likes to shame us with old stories and with the intention of ‘protecting’ us it is trying to stop us from out ‘outside of the comfort zone behaviour’, right?  At least that’s how mine is!

In our live call for class I shared this:

That our critics rise up when we do.

And do we want to keep small and protected. Or do we want to rise up?

Our inner critics are getting shaken up cause we are shaking things up. I know when I try to put it in these terms it calms me a bit when I’m having a fierce inner critic day…when we remember that we are indeed choosing to go outside of our comfort zones and that this is a part of that process, I find it easier to not take their words to heart.

You know what I mean?

As well, the process of making peace with our self-image doesn’t happen overnight.  The path (for all of us) involves ebb & flow, kind days and critical days.

But is indeed worth the work it takes to feel like we are released from at least some of our old stories of how we see ourselves!

I thought I might also share a few of the stories I’ve told here about coming face to face with my inner critic:

New Wheels and a Lesson in Confidence

Making Peace with my Body…In a Bikini

Outside the Comfort Zone

Choosing to See Beauty

When Your Inner Critic Shows Up You’re Doing it Right!

You know what else? Sometimes our outer critics rise up when we do too.  When we stop playing small in our own lives, often that can bring up the way others are playing small in their own lives too.  For example, people might be critical of you starting to share your selfies, making peace with your self-image and building confidence…because they  feel the way that they haven’t done that themselves! Here are some ideas for dealing with our outer critics too!

The good news is that our rising up outlasts our inner critics capacity to be mean.  Once we push past our inner critics…that is where change happens.  One BIG example of that for me was this time just before Be Your Own Beloved Came to be.  Everything in me was telling me to quit and that I wasn’t enough when in reality…I was just about to find the work that I feel I’m really most meant to do in this lifetime.  Of course I’d have the fiercest critics attacking me and telling me to quit before that happened cause I was indeed rising up to my own potential.

I really hope you’re having a critic-free day but in case you’re not…what are the ways you might be rising up in your life right now and not playing small that might be sparking your inner critic to react?

 Copy of Nextbyobeloved

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Each session of Be Your Own Beloved there is one prompt inviting you to capture your shadow.  I confess that it is one of those activities I have in there to balance out the ones that take people really out of their comfort zone, as a soft place to land after getting super brave with the prompt before.

Because for so many of us, shadow selfies are pretty inside our comfort zones as they aren’t an actual reflection of ourselves.  As the light gets later in the day, our shadows shift and change to be so very different from our actual selves.

I find that the more dramatic the get (like my long legs above) the less my inner critic can possibly be invited to the selfie-party and the more it makes me want to just get playful with my shadow.

In Be Your Own Beloved, I participate alongside with each session and each time there tends to be a prompt that I experience really differently even though I’ve done it so many times before.

This time, much to my surprise, our shadow activity felt like a spark to me.  Ever since then I’ve been noticing my own shadow more than ever before.

The thing that surprised me this time was noticing how much of the story of our day a shadow selfie can actually tell. Of where we were, of what we were wearing, how our body language shares a bit about how we are feeling.

I truly believe that one type of selfie isn’t more worthy than the other, be it a reflection, an arm’s length selfie or by putting the camera down and stepping into the frame.

For me the most healing happens when I put down the camera, set the timer and step into the frame, but this week is reminding me that there is storytelling and healing awaiting us in all types of selfies. If we choose to explore it!

Plus, taking our shadow selfie can feel like it’s embracing our childlike self too.

As I mentioned, part of why I have it in the class is as a soft place to land, an activity within our comfort zone that we can return to when we feel like keeping it gentle and playful.  And I guess what I’ve realized by taking so many shadow selfies lately is that maybe I’m craving that gentleness, that soft place to land.

Because taking selfies isn’t a competition or comparison game (at least it doesn’t need to be).  What if we were to gift ourselves the permission to take really gentle & simple selfies and take off the pressure to conceptualize or plan out a selfie.

What if we really just offered ourselves a simple way to say to ourselves “I’m here”?

Want to try it?  Keep watch for your shadow today and capture a photo of it! 

And don’t hesitate to use the #beyourownbeloved hashtag (anyone sharing their selfies are welcome to…you don’t need to be in the class to use it)!



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  • I love those shadow selfies you shared! They made me smile. :)ReplyCancel


I’m so in awe of your smiles you’ve shared this week. So grateful. If you haven’t checked out the #beyourownbeloved hashtag on Instagram…I highly recommend it for a dose of inspiration in your day! And I’d love to hear how this experience has been for you!

I’ve had a lot of smile realizations come up this week and have been loving reading alongside the photos of folks participating what they are realizing too.

One of the biggest things is this realization, which of course I’ve known before now but really hit home in this context.

We are so much harder on ourselves and our SMILES than we would ever be of anyone else.

Why do we walk the world thinking everyone is seeing us critically when in reality we are the most critical of ourselves?

And while it can be so powerful to have people tell us what they like our smile…we have to be ready and willing to see it ourselves, in our own time and in our own way.

Which is why I really wanted to do this experiment and why I’m so grateful you are reading this post.

So, to end this experiment, I wanted to ask you…what if we let in the love?

That’s the other thing I’ve realized this week…that sometimes we hide love away from ourselves.

As I’ve mentioned, finding that one way I like to smile in photos was SO powerful.  Yet after only doing that smile for years I realize that by not letting myself authentically smile on the days when I really wanted to, I hid myself away from more love.

It reminded me of the way I used to hide my body behind extra baggy/flowy clothing.  Even though I felt good in those clothes, I couldn’t really see my body and when I started to wear more fitted clothing I realized there was a body under that flowing clothing I could have seen with love all along…

I think, especially in the case of our smiles, it’s easy to hide behind a posed smile and I want to continue to reserve the right to. But I realized that by hiding my teeth, by hiding my authentic smile in moments when I truthfully wanted to smile…I was hiding love from myself.

I was hiding the potential to love my smile just as it is.

I wasn’t even offering myself the option.

I think as women we are brilliant at that.  Hiding ourselves under baggy clothing.  Hiding ourselves by playing small.  Hiding ourselves behind negative words we share about our body aloud to friends.

We are hiding and holding back our potential for self-compassion.

We all have it.

We weren’t born hating our bodies or being critical of our smiles.

When we first smiled at someone as a small child, would we have ever imagined it would be something we would some day need to make peace with?

Let’s reclaim the inherent right to see our own bodies without critique.  I’m not talking vanity here. Just the inherent right to see ourselves without critique.

And in order to reclaim that, we get to make that choice.

To choose love or hate.

To choose kindness over critique.

Sometimes, its even awaiting us in a smile, isn’t it!



I have a specific activity to end this week but of course…if there is a certain way you are craving to smile today, go for it! This is about you sharing your smile, so bring it on.

For our final selfie experiment, I’d love for us to meet that woman in the mirror.  The one who we may often see with critique but who indeed has been waiting all this time for us to see with love.

In the Be Your Own Beloved classes we only do a few activities with the Mirror (I’d actually LOVE to do another Making Peace Experiment with the mirror sometime….let me know if that would be of interest) but this is one of my favourite ways to take a mirror photo, that doesn’t feel as vulnerable as a full body mirror photo but at the same time is such a powerful way to connect with ourselves in the mirror.

Your task is this.  Just like in the example photo above.  Get right next to the mirror.

  • Cheek to cheek or play around with angles and find a way that works for you.
  • Take a lot of photos and play around with having your eyes open or closed…or do what feels right to you!

And most importantly, smile with her.  Smile at her.

Send her some love today.

I truly can’t wait to see your photos today.  If you’re joining us beyond this week we’ve been doing it live, please don’t hesitate  to share your photos.  Feel free to tag me too.  My Instagram name is @viviennemcm or if you are tagging me on Facebook to see it, please use the @BeYourOwnBeloved page to tag me! Or please don’t hesitate to add your link in below too!

You can find all the posts from this experiment here!

I also want to thank you for being a part of this! It has truly been a joy in my days this week to see you exploring seeing your smile with kindness.  If you feel drawn to explore more self-compassion through taking selfies, the class Beloved Beginnings is a self-paced class you can start at any time!  It is super beginner friendly (even more gentle activities that we’ve been doing this week) and is also super affordable!

I’m also starting a brand new session of Be Your Own Beloved on Valentine’s Day! It is going to be a bit different as I’m adding some things to it! More instructional videos (about how to find your timer, how to take selfies) as well as videos sharing more about Being Your Own Beloved. Plus, the price hasn’t gone up (though it will after this session)!

I am so beautiful, sometimes people weep when they see me. And it has nothing to do with what I look like really, it is just that I gave myself the power to say that I am beautiful, and if I could do that, maybe there is hope for them too. And the great divide between the beautiful and the ugly will cease to be. Because we are all what we choose.” 

― Margaret Cho

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