From Day 88 of Beautiful You:
The picture captures me as a first-year teacher and coach, age 23. In it, I am lying across desks in my classroom, dressed for coaching that afternoon’s soccer game. My cheeks are pressed into round apples, my mouth is pulled into a joker-like grin, my teeth are biting the tip of my tongue—it’s the quirky thing I do with my smile when I’m at my most joyful. My hair is pulled tightly back in a ponytail, but you can still see what inspired my student to take this picture—my raven hair is now royal blue to celebrate our team’s first win of the season (let’s just say, it took awhile). If I could choose just one picture to show what teaching and coaching meant to me, it would be this one. The joy, purpose, and passion I felt in that work is captured in that dye job, that smile, that lack of self-consciousness. Being reminded of this young woman is like a bridge to my best self, and that is why this picture stays on my desk, even when other things come and go. It’s a peak at my core, a touchstone that’s always present, just in case I need a reminder when I am not feeling like myself.
Today: Find a photo from one of the most joyful times in your life, a time when you were content and self-satisfied—even if it’s when you were six—and place it somewhere you will see it often and be reminded of your best, most life-affirming self. When you are feeling down about where you are or the way you look, track your eyes over to that photo for a reminder that you have been to that place of joy and fulfillment, and that you can return.
When you think about this exercise, what photo of yours comes to mind? What does it show you?