Having My Photos Taken – Seeing the Real Me

BEFORE UNIVERSAL MEDICINE: Nicole Serafin (Age 19)
BEFORE UNIVERSAL MEDICINE
~ Nicole Serafin (Age 19) ~
Unhappy and discontent with life.

I recently felt to participate in a ‘Before and After’ Project that Universal Medicine (UniMed) is creating, which involved having my photos taken. Part of this includes people submitting photos of what they have looked like in their life before they started attending UniMed workshops and presentations, and how they look today.

I have never been a fan of having my photos taken and was usually the person on the other side of the camera taking the pictures, hiding behind the scenes – which is a common practice of mine in life in general. I have often heard people saying they want to be the one taking the photos but prefer not to be in them… Could it be it is not that we do not like having our photos taken but that we do not like what we see in our photos?

Yesterday I went to have some photos taken which I was not bothered about – well, that’s what I thought until I had to actually stand in front of the camera. My body became quite tense and stiff and I just could not seem to let myself go. The photographer was extremely supportive and did an amazing job, but it was not until I was in my car about to drive away that I realised just how tense I actually was.

Why did I have such an issue with having my photos taken, or looking at photos of myself?

Then I realised it was not about having the photo taken, but about what I saw in the photo in the end result.

BEFORE UNIVERSAL MEDICINE: Nicole Serafin (Age 31)
BEFORE UNIVERSAL MEDICINE
~ Nicole Serafin (Age 31) ~
Beginning a new way of life, uncertain and scared of how that may look but knowing it was time for a change.

I had never accepted myself or my body, and looking in the mirror was one thing – but having a photo, which is a constant reminder of where I was and am at, is a lot more ‘in your face’, so to speak. A mirror you can choose to walk away from or not look in, but a photo is there forever as a reminder.

I remember going home after an esoteric healing session one day and sitting in front of the mirror and looking at myself: it would have been one of the hardest things I have ever done. I felt awkward, continually looking away at whatever I could then bringing myself back again to the mirror. I had never actually truly looked at myself before and I did not like what I could see. My reflection was looking back at me but it felt like it was not all of me – there was a part of me I was holding back and did not want the world to see.

I could feel how I had created a façade to hide behind, a front for the world, and looking in the mirror made me realise just how much of the real me I was still hiding.

Usually, looking in the mirror was brief and really only while putting on make-up or doing my hair which all supported the facade really, creating another face to present to the world. Some days I would not use a mirror at all.

Even though I myself have changed a lot over the years and there is now more and more of the real me shining through, I discovered yesterday that there is still so much more of me to come out.

I have now realised that photos can also be a tool for allowing us to see, feel and appreciate how far we have come and how much we have grown, rather than to be afraid of or disappointed in what we see.

AFTER UNIVERSAL MEDICINE: Nicole Serafin (Age 41)
AFTER UNIVERSAL MEDICINE
~ Nicole Serafin (Age 41) ~
Feeling amazing, purposeful and more content with me.

I can now have my photos taken and look at them and appreciate that I have come a long way… the hardness of the past now replaced with tenderness, my eyes no longer dull and withdrawn but alive and clear, willing to let the world see who I am without fear of being hurt; the stare of vacancy now replaced with gentleness.

And yes, they may not reflect the true me or all of me… yet. But day by day, these photos taken can be used as a reflection of me, supporting me to appreciate how far I have come and where I am going.

Through the support and sharing of Universal Medicine, Serge Benhayon and fellow students of The Livingness, I have been able to look at what I used in my life to hold me back from being and expressing who I am today. I now enjoy a life of simplicity as the way I choose to live, and a body of vitality which is able to support me in all that I do… something I have never had before, and for that I am eternally grateful.

By Nicole Serafin, Age 41, Tintenbar, NSW

BEFORE UNIVERSAL MEDICINE: Nicole Serafin (Age 19)
BEFORE UNIVERSAL MEDICINE
~ Nicole Serafin (Age 19) ~

BEFORE UNIVERSAL MEDICINE: Nicole Serafin (Age 31)
BEFORE UNIVERSAL MEDICINE
~ Nicole Serafin (Age 31) ~

AFTER UNIVERSAL MEDICINE: Nicole Serafin (Age 41)
AFTER UNIVERSAL MEDICINE
~ Nicole Serafin (Age 41) ~

186 thoughts on “Having My Photos Taken – Seeing the Real Me

  1. I have been wanting to have my photo taken by an amazing photographer I know, but I have only ever got to the point of enquiry, not commitment. I have been avoiding seeing myself and have been avoiding others seeing me as I am. I don’t want to hold back anymore.

  2. Almost everyone in the world is looking for vitality, looking for a solution to their difficulties, and here you present a way of living that can help. It is not a solution, but a way of living and being.

  3. Something I absolutely love about photography is that you can really show someone just how beautiful they are, and how they are so much more than just their external looks.

  4. The detail you have shared here is spot on, I have struggled to look at photos of myself over the years too. I recently had a photo shot that was so confronting, as the photograph could see straight through my games and hiding and still managed to access the real me. It was really hard to look at these photos at first but with my husbands support and love I was able to really appreciate myself and my true beauty and now, one of the pictures is my all time favourite.

  5. “Could it be it is not that we do not like having our photos taken but that we do not like what we see in our photos?” Spot on Nicole. I never really like it when I see myself in photos. As a child I would turn my back on the camera – ruining many a family photo. I still prefer to be behind the lens. Similarly listening to recordings of my voice – I say to myself ‘do i really sound like that?’ However as i deepen my connection with myself I am more accepting, even learning to appreciate, what I see and what I hear- all thanks to Universal Medicine.

  6. Wow Nicole that is really a change you have made! I love this insight: “I have now realised that photos can also be a tool for allowing us to see, feel and appreciate how far we have come and how much we have grown, rather than to be afraid of or disappointed in what we see.” That is for me a wonderful way to see a photo as this way is much more self loving and supportive than being self critical and dismissive against myself.

  7. That third photo warmed my heart… What a stunning picture of what a woman living her femaleness actually looks like!

  8. When we start to accept ourselves this is reflected in what we see in the mirror or on a photo. The last photo shows, how embracing yourself supports the beauty and grace that lives inside to be reflected out.

  9. Allowing all of ourselves to come out is what most of us would like, but I know for myself I find I am a little in and out most of the time depending on the situation. I would love to know the whole of me and have enough trust to be so.

  10. It’s a revelation, the moment we are in front of the camera, I have done everything from bursting into tears to avoiding altogether. Now I am able to be in front of a camera but still I find an element of holding back. To open and be in connection to my inner glory and sacredness, being intimate with the camera and shining my light I know and trust is there, will be interesting to see and feel.

  11. I think you hit the nail on the head when you said we don’t like to see our photos because we don’t like the truth we see, however we are a result of our choices, so making different choices can easily transform the truth that’s apparent in photographs.

  12. It’s interesting to read as I remember having the same pattern of disliking that what I saw on the pictures taken. When I looked to a photo taken of me I always only saw the imperfections I was holding but never I could see through that and see that tender and delicate caring man I actually am and always has been there in all the pictures ever taken whatever mask I had on on top of it.

  13. I’ve always enjoyed having photos taken as I like to look back and have things or times recorded. I get what you are saying though and photos are a reflection and these days with most people having a camera on their phones it is much more convenient. It’s great to see what your reflection is and usually for me, my reflection is based on how I am feeling and has little to do with anything else. Photos can appear to change – I can look at them with one set of eyes and see something but then with another set I can see something completely different. If I look at myself critically in the mirror or photo I am looking at my thoughts and movements around my everyday…. have I been caring for myself consistently and watching my thoughts or have I been too busy or had my head down etc. I also take note of where I am critical because this can support in changing how I have been. All these things I use, to bring awareness to what is really going on for me. On the surface you can say you are just in a bad mood, or justify and say the photo was really bad etc but there is always, always something deeper to understand and this never stops.

  14. I used to be someone who would look in the mirror and just focus on all my flaws. Now when I look in the mirror I see much more of my beauty- something I had previously never thought was possible for me.

  15. Last year, I had an opportunity to have some photo taken by an amazing photographer. I felt awkward during but looking at what came out afterwards was a bit of a process. Initially, I didn’t like how I looked in the most of them, and going through one by one, I started to feel the beauty and power in what I was seeing. I feel like there’s the whole lot more deeper I could go when it comes to truly appreciating myself, and as you say, it was a very necessary and supportive moment for me to stop and appreciate how far I had come.

  16. You are spot on here Nicole when you say…”it was not about having the photo taken, but about what I saw in the photo in the end result.” I have had two professional photo shoots done over the last 18 months, and both times have felt so exposed as every tiny detail is captured in a moment of how we are, and how we hold ourlseves, and in some of these moments I did not like what I saw. But equally, there were also moments of absolute beauty, grace and divinity captured, and in these photographs I was blown away by what I saw. It is an incredibly powerful experience to have a photo session such as this, and a wonderful opportunity to make some different choices, to bring these moments of true beauty to everything that we do.

  17. it is a choice of how we look at ourselves, to appreciate or to judge. It is all from the way we live that we create our judgements or feel the appreciation. I feel pictures are a beautiful reflection of the moment, a marker to look at and feel, Wow, what amazing steps have I taken. It is a time to take stock and build on, this is all of life in the end, with appreciation we grow.

  18. I love seeing the before and after photos and appreciating how far people have come in connecting to and expressing the true beauty that lies within. It is extraordinary how many of us hide and hold back in showing all of ourselves and yet it is such a blessing to not only ourselves but others when we truly allow ourselves to shine for the world to see, whether immortalized through a photo or not.

  19. “I now enjoy a life of simplicity as the way I choose to live, and a body of vitality which is able to support me in all that I do… something I have never had before, and for that I am eternally grateful.” There is so much grace in living in a body that is vital and has been given the love and care that it/we all deserve.

  20. “Could it be it is not that we do not like having our photos taken but that we do not like what we see in our photos?” I think you are definitely onto something here Nicole – hit the nail right on the head!

  21. Amazing what is revealed in a photo. Thank you for sharing these and letting us see how you have changed and really come home to yourself. Very inspiring and a reminder to take more photos for the great reflection they offer.

  22. I love having my photos taken simply because every picture shows me a process, nothing to hold onto but a reflection to take stock and appreciate—no matter how I looked or felt, it was an opportunity for me to see if I could accept myself.

  23. The same happens when I look in the mirror. Some days I look gorgeous and other days I really don’t like what I see. It is definitely a reflection on how I am feeling on the inside. I suppose when I look at my face on those days where I don’t like what I see its because I am faced with also seeing the choices I have made to get myself to that place.

  24. Thanks for sharing these photos of you Nicole; it’s beautiful to see the joy, tenderness and openness that’s there shining through you now.

  25. I love photos and pretty much always have. As this article is saying I was always keen to see how I looked in photos and used it as a gauge of how much of me I could see, similar to, “I have now realised that photos can also be a tool for allowing us to see, feel and appreciate how far we have come and how much we have grown, rather than to be afraid of or disappointed in what we see.” Whenever I had a photo taken I would study it and look at every thing. There were times I didn’t like what I saw but this didn’t stop me from having another one taken it more woke me up or gave me awareness to the things I saw that I’d like to change. I love having a catalogue of photos and really would love to do a shoot each year to keep this catalogue going. As I saw from the photos in this article they are really priceless when you look back to see how much things have changed.

  26. Your photo’s in this article say it all, how you now enjoy living more of you, sharing this openly with us all. And the word ‘simplicity’ is palpable, why make life complicated and struggle when we can choose the simplicity of living who we are each day more and more, moment by moment.

  27. Photos give away so much, they tell you far more than what we think we see, and the more aware I become, the more aware I realise that I knew exactly what I was doing to keep the world at bay, totally different to actually seeing a true delicate and claimed reflection that no longer allows the world to own them.

  28. The reflection we see back when we look in a mirror, or when we see a photo of ourselves can be a tool we use to check in with the level of self-love and self-acceptance we currently have. It is a reflection that can help us return to the sweetness and loveliness that we all inherently are.

  29. One dayI would love to have a professional photo-shoot but realise that when I do I am claiming all of me, claiming all the beauty I am and that is confronting. Claiming my beauty is one thing I can do privately but it feels very ‘big’ doing it for all the world to know and see. Yes Nicole, this does expose so much to be felt and the holding back needs to be exposed. Our beauty is within us waiting to come out.

  30. I’ve been inspired by another blog I recently read and have started a selfie journal. As someone who does not like having her photo taken, it’s been an interesting experience. There are not many photos yet, because I keep deleting the ones I don’t like : )

  31. Thank you Nicole, I appreciated the new, gentle and embracing way you have developed to look over your photos, to approach yourself with understanding and to now celebrate how much you have grown and how much of your beautify inner self you can let out to the world. Your final photo does indeed show someone who is tender, open, wise, gentle, gorgeous and with a sparkle – and ready for more to come! I’m sure if I look over past photos I will see something similar with the inner true me sparkling much more now.

  32. Thank you for sharing Nicole and showing us what changes are possible when we change how we are living and bring in The Way of the Livingness to our lives.

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