For me, it might sound cliche, but beauty for me really does start on the inside. It’s like a state of mind, a state of love if you will. Then, whatever you can do on the outside is all like a bonus.

– Queen Latifah

I was inspired by this quote by Queen Latifah today becuse I picked up some pictures I had printed of my friends and family from the last few months. Its so easy to look at the people I love and know that I think they are beautiful for who they are, and then to struggle to look at myself in a picture without critiquing something about the way that I look or the way my clothes fit. While they may be honest with me with a picture that isn’t flattering, I know that when they see pictures of me, they just see ME for who I am.

For a few years after the invention of the digital camera (and even today), I took a lot of pictures of myself with my camera. Sometimes it was because there was no one else there to take the picture, such as when I was traveling, but most of the time I could be in a crowded place and stick out my arm and turn the camera around to take my self portrait While my friends continue to make fun of me for this act, especially when I am using their cameras, I have to say that it has made a big difference in the way that I view myself. Letting myself take a few “bad” pictures until I found one I liked helped me accept myself because I wouldn’t put the camera down until I liked a picture of myself!

I really love pictures and I like seeing the way my friends, family and I change and yet stay the same over the years. Its helpful for me to see the way that my hips and thighs look like my mom’s and my sister’s, and to know that those body parts are a part of my identity no matter how fit I am. It is also really rewarding and inspiring to see my body change over time as I have worked out and lost weight. I have never been one of those people who could be inspired to lost weight by seeing a “skinny” picture of myself or of other people, but I do love looking back and seeing how I have changed over time yet still stayed “me.”

When you look at pictures of yourself, what do you see?