Getting past the fear of sharing our joy.
Sure there are plenty of people flooding the internet with their faces and making it about their ego. Pristine snapshots gift wrapping an underlying hyper insecurity. Yet, there are also many people flooding the internet with their faces, the faces of loved ones, places and (yes, of course,) food, because they genuinely love their lives and they want to share it with the world. If they could create a mural for the gratitude they feel from moment to moment, they’d repaint it daily. However, they can’t because that’s called graffiti which is illegal. Instead, they make a monument on the internet – the sandcastle equivalent of our documented lives. The later, gratitude junkies, are judged vehemently in our culture and misattributed to the former, ego boosters.
Sharing and displaying our joy can be an act of gratitude rather than and indicator of narcissism.
Nearly everyone who’s not a card caring narcissist fears that a photo that includes themselves, displayed proudly and prominently in their home, office or across the internet will send a red flag to world that they’re conceited. No matter how much we may want to yell our gratitude from the rooftops, the consensus is that only the self important would ever shout about the beauty of their life (in the privacy of their own homes or in the vast sea of the internet).
“Somewhere along the way, it became bad form to celebrate our lives, as if it meant that we only cared about ourselves.”
Outward demonstrations of elation and love are reserved for the movie screen. Somewhere along the way, it became bad form to celebrate our lives, as if it meant that we only cared about ourselves. Yet, the door of rejoicing and enjoying life swings both ways. If inspired to do so, we can boldly display the goodness in our lives while also, equally holding space for the consideration of others. As a Philadelphia family and pet photographer the inevitable moment occurs when a client (whether it be family, couple or individual) sits across from me and asks, “Is it weird for me to have photos of myself on my wall?” To which I reply, “It’s not about your ego.”
It’s not about your ego. However, it is about the following four principles:
Celebrating our greatest joys and victories of ourselves and those we love.
- At our best, we’re building the life we believe in, with intention. We’re never arriving but always journeying forward to that which gives us greater joy and delight in life. Along the way, it’s important to pause and take stock. It’s important to acknowledge and affirm how far we’ve come. If we can’t stop long enough to enjoy what we’ve been striving towards then, what’s the point of striving towards it?
“If we can’t stop long enough to enjoy what we’ve been striving towards then, what’s the point of striving towards it?”
Celebrating the everyday.
- The value and importance of our lives doesn’t reside in all the big occasions. Rather, all the tiny moments that make up our days come to define its richness. The daily rituals we cling tightly to become our lighthouse when the world is swaying around us. We hold tight to bedtime story hour with the kids or the daily morning snuggle time with the dog. The long weekly solo hike centers us and reminds us of our strength. Honoring the importance of those moments in a photograph reminds us who we are. Seeing our most humble moments proudly displayed in our homes proclaims the truth. The value of our lives is intrinsic to our existence, not to our monumental achievements. We needn’t do or be anything other than our authentic selves to receive the most life has to offer.
“The value of our lives is intrinsic to our existence, not to our monumental achievements.”
Saying “I love you.”
- Often times, we’re out and about in the world working our ass off for ourselves and loved ones to have what they want and need in life. We can’t always be physically present for every moment we want to say “I love you.”. Yet, when we photograph ourselves and all we love together on our best day, take the time to create beautiful wall art from those moments and intentionally display it in our homes; we’re creating a monument. We are saying “I love you.” every time we and our loved ones see these beautiful moments that capture the essence of who we are.
Reminding ourselves about what really matters.
- Even when we’re physically surrounded every day by what matters most, we get lost in the weeds of everything that must happen in a day. It’s right there in front of us, but we’re so busy making life happen. We forget to pause and be present in the joy we’re creating. We lose sight of what matters. We forget why we’re working so hard in the first place. It all becomes a blur of one task to the next. We’re craving some respite for a breath of air. We can live our entire lives lost in the madness of making the most awesome life possible that we completely miss the awesome life itself. That’s when having a physical representation of the life we’re creating through our personal photo story and wall art serves as a reminder and an anchor to what matters most. Even as all we hold dearest seems to swirl around in a soup du jour of chaos, our monument to what we’ve built stands.
“We can live our entire lives lost in the madness of making the most awesome life possible that we completely miss the awesome life itself.”
It’s not about your ego, it’s about your why.
Why you work hard, love hard and play hard. Life is simply too important and too good to spend it measuring our enthusiasm by what we hope or fear everyone else can or can’t handle. If you love it, celebrate it. If you love it, shout it out as loud as you want. If you love it, create a monument to look to that reminds you how good it really is when it’s hardest to see that goodness.
Kristen Kidd Photography is a family portrait photography studio in the North Wales suburb of Philadelphia, Pa. We specializes in helping two-legged and four-legged families stop and reconnect with the love in their lives through fun and unique photo experiences and custom designed wall art collections.