I love my younger self. She was re-introduced to me as I began to digitize and clean up old home movies and, I have to admit, she was a bit of a surprise.  Having five children in 10 years means that my memories of those early days are a blur of soccer, school, swimming, WORKING, and laundry. Lots of laundry.  In almost every scene that includes me I am folding a  mountain of laundry

I discovered something else though, that makes me love my younger self and appreciate all that she managed to achieve:  she was cheeky; she was funny; she never spoke to the kids in anything but adult language so that at an early age they were accustomed to words like impetuous, concentration and white balance.  She was a multi-tasker, duh, and she didn’t have time to sweat the small stuff.  Thanks to her, I am what I am today, with far less laundry.

Whenever you get a chance to see yourself on video, be it old video of yourself or current video, grab it.  The things you learn by seeing yourself the way the world sees you are invaluable and sometimes painful.  Before you run to the video collection, or camera, some tips to make the experience useful and somewhat less cringe worthy.

  • Don’t be so judgy! Most people immediately focus on things they’re bothered by: is that really what my hair looks like? My nose is so big! I need new glasses, etc.
  • Remember that what you see in the mirror every morning is exactly the opposite of what the world sees; your hair is parted on the opposite side.
  • Your voice sounds weird to you because it’s been removed from your head and chest so you get to hear it without the vibration that usually accompanies it when it’s running around in your body.

If you can separate your hyper critical self from the self you are watching on the screen, you will learn some valuable things and begin to appreciate yourself a little bit more. The insecurities we carry about how we’re doing, how we are being perceived, fade under the glare of daylight. Sure you’ll find things you want to change and rest assured those tweaks will pay off.

Don’t be afraid; it’s only video.