Rachel Hall (Age 30): Me as a triathlete – anxious, uncomfortable, putting on a brave face, grimacing not really smiling.
Rachel Hall (Age 30): Me as a triathlete – anxious, uncomfortable, putting on a brave face, grimacing not really smiling.

I was flicking through some old pictures of myself recently, and after laughing at all my different hairstyles and hair colours, the fashions and my fluctuations in weight, something quite profound struck me… even though I was smiling in the majority of the photos, I wasn’t actually really smiling!!

My mouth was turning up at the corners yet my teeth were gritted together, my eyes appeared painfully sad, and my body was held rigid and hard – almost like a soldier standing to attention. The person in the picture could barely look at the camera and there was something about the pose that was aggressively defensive – if that makes sense. It was like I was saying: “back off buddy, I don’t want you to see me for who I really am”, or “please don’t notice how sad and lost I feel inside”.


After this observation I dug out photos of when I was a little girl. I was curious – did I carry that sad look and defensive pose back then, and if so, could I pinpoint when it started?

There are not many pictures of me as a child – my family was not very well off and back then getting a roll of film developed was a luxurious expense. There are a couple of pictures of me as a toddler and around the age of 3-4yrs. In these I can see a naturalness in the way my body holds itself and a loving tenderness in my eyes; there is deep joy and a cheeky playfulness in my smile.

Rachel Hall (Age 3): Relaxed, cheeky and playful, full of life
Rachel Hall (Age 3): Me as a little girl – relaxed, cheeky and playful, full of life.

Pictures of me from around 6 through to 10yrs show the beginning of a shyness in my gaze and some tension in the way I hold my body. My mouth turns up in a smile but my eyes have a hint of sadness within them, and not the cheeky joy of the younger me.

And… well, the shots from my teenage years show defiance, aggression and sadness all rolled into one, even in the photos where I am being goofy and clowning around. There are a few flashes of that cute little girl whose smile and eyes beam with joy when I didn’t realise I was being watched and captured by the camera lens.

So where did that little girl who knew herself to be beautiful go, and why did I try to hide her?

In a world that is difficult and tough, and where love and gentleness are not celebrated as they ought to be, a child learns to please and give their parents, teachers, friends and relatives what they think is required. We change our ways and alter who we are to fit in, be accepted, get the pat on the back, or to simply disappear and blend into the background.

This not being who we are but being who we think we should be, hurts us as it goes against our innermost nature.

For me it meant my whole way of being became aggressive and driven – but looking at the pictures of me, the sadness in my eyes clearly showed.


A couple of months ago I had a professional photographer come to my dental practice to do a shoot of my team and myself for our new website.

Rachel Hall (Age 44) - open, tender and full of love, comfortable in her own skin
Rachel Hall (Age 44): Me now – open, tender and full of love, comfortable in my own skin.

Instead of it being a stuffy and formal affair with the photographer telling us where to stand, how to pose and so forth, it was actually one of the most fun and enjoyable things I have experienced. Everybody was able to relax and just be themselves very quickly; most shots were taken of us simply doing our thing, role playing, working together in the dental office. I don’t think I have laughed so much in ages; I forgot the camera was even there most of the time.

This energy of ease and fun along with the love, care and tenderness of my team and myself was beautifully captured in the proof photographs that came back. As I looked through the shots I was deeply moved by the incredible work of the photographer, but also by the beauty of the people (us) in the images I was seeing.

 Rachel Hall (age 44): Tender Loving Me...
Rachel Hall (Age 44): Tender Loving Me…

Then one photo stopped me dead in my tracks, I think I actually gasped. It is of a tender, loving, beautiful woman who is not smiling with her mouth but with her eyes and all her heart… allowing you to see deep inside of her to the very essence of who she is, an essence that is pure love.

And as I looked at myself looking back at me, I wept with pure joy knowing that I no longer had to hide who I am, that I had come home to myself.

I was looking at a true picture of me.

Thank you to Serge Benhayon and all at Universal Medicine for allowing the real Rachel Hall to come out from behind her defensive walls.

By Dr Rachel Hall, Holistic Dentist, Brisbane

Rachel Hall (Age 3)

Rachel Hall (Age 30)
BEFORE (Age 30)

Rachel Hall (Age 44)
NOW (Age 44)

162 thoughts on “Pictures of Me

  1. I loved reading this sharing, it’s as if you were kind of writing about me too. I don’t have many photos of me as a child too, but the photos I do have as I was growing up were similar to yours, hardness and sadness.

    Photos don’t lie but most of all, when we look into a person’s eyes, and the way they present, tells many things about them and the sadness they carry too. We spend lifetimes pretzeling ourselves to be something we are not, and that really hurts us to the core. Its a no wonder there is so much unrest in the world, whether it’s mental illness or dis-ease, its there all around us.

    It’s only when we meet people like Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine that our lives can be lived from a different place. It’s not lectured, it is simply presented and within ourselves we will feel whether it is true for us or not. My life has never been the same since meeting Serge, in that I started to let go of the many things that were never truly me. It is a working progress and there is more to go without being hard on my self. But I can honestly say I feel I am truly returning home again, a place I feel more at ease now.

  2. We can see and feel so much from photographs, ‘And as I looked at myself looking back at me, I wept with pure joy knowing that I no longer had to hide who I am, that I had come home to myself.’

    1. I agree Lorraine, photos don’t lie. It’s only when we begin to know ourselves that we see these revelations more and more. A great antidote to the lies we are continually living.

  3. Transformational as you have shared Rachel the 44 year old has the tender glow of the 3 year old so if my math’s is correct 41 years to reconnect, which is great considering most of us stay stuck in the lesser self for life times.

  4. When someone is in the world, being full of themselves for everyone to see and feel, what gets captured in an image is worlds apart from those that saturate our social media with desperation of ‘Like me, like me.’

  5. I can relate to,your story Rachel of there being a beauty, cheekiness, aliveness and joy to myself as a child then a shift into sadness, protection and hardness in later childhood. Returning to myself requires much dedication as there has been and still is a lot to let go of, but wow, it is so worth it. This is what we miss most in the world – ourselves.

    1. We lose who we truly are as we try to navigate the world, and be what we think people want us to be. Hardness, protection and defensiveness replaced the innocence, sweetness and playfulness that I naturally exuded as a child. Returning to my essence, who I truly am is an on-going letting go of what is not the true me.

  6. Wow thank you for sharing the changes in your life, and how by going into protection as a child it set you up to become defensive as we can so easily see in the photograph when you were 30, and the after photo at 40 such a huge shift, your whole body language has changed and you now radiate such natural beauty to the world. Amazing!

  7. In my purely hiding days I’d only get a picture taken if wearing war paint or a really cool cosplay outfit. Nor would I want to look in a mirror unless dressing up. These days I love my elevator in my flat as it has a huge mirror. It gives away how I feel inside and I love looking into my eyes.

  8. Rachel, what I find so beautiful and confirming is how I actually began to cry when I saw that last photo of you (the tender loving me one) before I even read what you shared about how it was the true picture of you. To me this shows how we all can feel the truth of everything we perceive and how inspiring it can be to see another shine their light so fully as you are now.

  9. It’s absolutely beautiful – just being yourself and having that moment captured in a photo, and you find the beauty and love beyond what you have allowed yourselves to think you are. We really are much more than what we think we are.

  10. Your before and after photos are so different Rachel, it is clear you are embracing and accepting your beautiful and tender qualities now without needing to protect yourself in anyway.

  11. A great reminder Rachel that when we ‘soldier on’ through life there is a hardness and a rigidity to how we move and speak that totally compromises us living our heartfelt potential.

  12. What a miracle it is that we can look at pictures of ourselves now, and feel the grace and beauty that is there looking back at us… Without looking for it… We have found the best skin restorer on the planet 🙂

  13. That’s beautiful Rachel, a “true picture” of you. What a journey starting out in our naturalness as children, getting pulled away from that at some stage into defensiveness, sadness, hardness, emotions, etc, to then find Serge Benhayon and experience the joy of return to our true selves again.

  14. “as I looked at myself looking back at me, I wept with pure joy knowing that I no longer had to hide who I am, that I had come home to myself.” My whole body smiled as I read these words.

  15. Pictures can help reveal a lot to us as can video and audio recordings. Essentially they are mirrors of self-reflection and can offer a lot of insight when we look at them without judgement but with curiosity.

  16. A smile that comes from the whole body has the power to melt the one who is being smiled at. It is a true reflection of the natural beauty that we all hold within and when smiled forth brings with it the love and the joy that are inherently a part of the essence of who we truly are.

  17. What a change! Most of us tend to smile as part of covering up our insecurities that life is not what we know it ought to be. It is only ever when one smiles from absolute and pure content-ness and love within themselves that we really start to see the beauty shine!

  18. Photos are great markers for us and I know the author personally but have never seen these photos. How telling are they? and how easy is it to see the massive massive changes in them. It’s true testament to the changes and choices that have been made. The photo in the 30’s is a little scary in a way and looks robotic and yet the later one is so so warm, it’s great the author is a dentist as well and I know which smile I’d rather see looking down at me.

  19. When I look in the mirror today my perception of myself has changed. This is due to the fact how more open I am with my feelings and not shutdown. If I see myself as ugly this is what I am projecting out or towards myself. Better still is I can have this with anyone by receiving their reflection – an image in time. All my continuous choices are reflected in my body. So, I’m better off connecting and being honest with myself and my body to all that I’m feeling and know and accept that as my choice.

  20. I was sorting through and getting rid of old photos yesterday, quite revealing of what energies we go into during different times of our life. Your photos reflect a beautiful transformation Rachel.

  21. I can see and feel the beautiful tender woman that has been captured in the recent photos of you, and also through the words of your blog.

  22. There is such power in a photograph where what is truth comes through in vision and in emanation. Very beautiful to see and to feel, more pictures please Rachel.

  23. I can’t keep my eyes off your last photo, it’s a photo of a women emanating the love of God.

  24. Rachel you are a shining example of a woman who has embraced her love, beauty and tenderness and is now sharing this in the world for all to feel and be inspired by.

  25. Thank you Rachel, we can learn a lot by looking at photos of ourselves. I love to see how with yourself and in your body you were as a child and although you lost that you have come back now with a maturity and grace that cannot be denied.

  26. That life is a journey there is no doubt. That the journey does not necessarily lead us to higher grounds is also an established fact. This blog makes clear that pictures are the best instruments to help us reflect upon our journey. They capture not just a face, a situation. What they capture is our everything; our relationship with our potential.

  27. A history in pictures and how much we can learn from it. It takes a lot of honesty and willingness to see, thank you for your observation Rachel.

  28. From seeing you in person and on stage presenting, your smile, how you talk and move holds a joy, humbleness and love that spills out for all to feel and see. How awesome for all that you have taken down any walls there once were in front of you.

  29. This sentence resonated deeply with me Rachel – having been a master pleaser from childhood and bending myself into various ways to meet the expectations of others and what I thought was needed in order to feel acceptable, reminds me to appreciate just how much my way of being has changed since attending presentations by Serge Benhayon and feeling met in full by this humble man, with not an iota of expectation in sight.
    “…a child learns to please and give their parents, teachers, friends and relatives what they think is required. We change our ways and alter who we are to fit in, be accepted, get the pat on the back, or to simply disappear and blend into the background”.

  30. “We change our ways and alter who we are to fit in, be accepted, get the pat on the back, or to simply disappear and blend into the background.” It is quite extraordinary when you really stop and think that the majority of us have learned to behave in this manner yet it is not our natural way of being.

  31. A delight to read Rachel… I love the awareness and observations you had of how we can mold ourselves into who we think we should be rather than expressing the innate gorgeousness we are. How truly beautiful that you can now embrace all of you… allowing it to radiate out for all to see.

  32. Awesome blog Rachel, thank you for sharing you in this…the tenderness and love that you have of yourself now shines out from the photos. What a gift and inspiration it is to others when we allow ourselves to be seen and don’t try to dull down or hide ourselves.

  33. A story many of us can relate to. Breaking down those walls and allowing myself to be seen for all that I am is a work in progress, but what I can at least see very clearly now is that it’s crazy to be holding that back. In the past I accepted that people avoided being who they were as normal, I now prefer to address the elephant in the room and choose to see that everyone is worth shining.

  34. Rachel, I could look at your recent photo for hours. The tender love that emanates from you is a healing in it’s self. It’s got me thinking how we all become walking clearing symbols when we live the love we are.

  35. For most people all they see in the photos is the erosion of time and the consequences of the choices they have made… Imagine seeing love being reflected back at you… Well it looks like it’s possible ☺

    1. I reckon thats where a lot of the ‘I don’t like my photo taken’ attitude comes from, because it’s capturing a snapshot of our choices and if those choices aren’t loving then it’s not a pretty picture.

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