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That thing others are shaming you for? Do it anyway.

The thing that others are shaming you for? Do it anyway.

“You have such crooked teeth! You really should get braces.”

“Why do you make such weird faces in your pictures? It’s annoying!”

“You have such an ugly ‘smile’! I can’t believe you post selfies here. You should be embarrassed.”

All of those remarks — and more! — have been left in comments here and on Facebook in the last few weeks. Most of them were from the same two people who apparently are on a mission to get me to stop posting selfies.

I’ve just been deleting the comments as they come in and didn’t plan to mention them in a post because I don’t like to give trolls or rude commentors a platform here. My policy has always been that if your comment is shaming, harsh, or sharply critical, I promptly remove it as I want to keep this place upbeat and encouraging.

That thing that others are shaming you for? Do it anyway.

However, when I deleted yet another comment this morning about my “dumb selfie faces”, I could keep silent no longer and this post just bubbled forth.

You see, posting a selfie might seem very inconsequential to some of you. For me, being brave enough to take and then share selfies this past year has been monumental.

Why? Because it’s something that I ran kicking and screaming from for years.

I was embarrassed of my sometimes dorky faces, of my jaw, of my crooked teeth, of my overbite, of my skin that was prone to breakouts, of the fact that I probably don’t know how to do makeup, and of the fact that I probably don’t shape my eyebrows correctly.

For years, I hated the fact that I wasn’t photogenic. I was so self-conscious and insecure, that whenever a camera came out, I’d be so nervous, I wouldn’t be able to smile. My mouth would quiver. My hands would shake. I’d break out in sweat. And I just plain couldn’t smile sincerely.

That thing that others are shaming you for? Do it anyway.

I remember the night I was supposed to get my senior pictures taken. There were a group of us getting individual pictures done and when my turn came, I froze and couldn’t smile. The photographer tried over and over again to no avail.

I was so embarrassed and frustrated with myself. And ever since then, I shied away from cameras because I didn’t want to suffer that same humiliation again.

When I started blogging 10 years ago, I found that it was such a safe outlet for an introverted, insecure, and un-photogenic girl like me. It allowed me to mostly hide behind my computer screen. To carefully pick and choose any pictures I showed to the public. To take 46 different pictures in hopes of getting a decent shot.

The more I hid behind my computer screen, though, the less authentic I felt. I didn’t want to photoshop my life. I didn’t want to live life behind a smokescreen.

That thing that others are shaming you for? Do it anyway.

I wanted to be real… even though I know that it would mean sharing the good and the not-so-good. Even though I knew it would be opening up myself for criticism. Even though I knew not everyone would like the real, sometimes dorky, sometimes un-photogenic, me.

As I’ve stopped believing lies about myself and starting living under the truth, it’s given me more and more confidence to just be me. To stop worrying about what people would think. To stop caring whether I was going to be criticized. To stop stressing over whether I was going to disappoint someone.

And little bit by little bit, I’ve been brave enough to step out from behind the safety of the computer screen and be authentically me.

That’s meant accepting speaking engagements. Blogging about my struggles with shame and insecurity. Instagramming real-life stuff. Filming videos. And yes, getting brave enough to start showing my face in many more pictures.

Posting a selfie publicly represents something much deeper than the picture itself. It’s a testament to the work that’s happened in my heart, to the confidence that has grown in my soul, to the acceptance I have for exactly who God has made me to be — imperfections and all.

So when those recent comments have come over and over again, attacking me for how I look and how I smile, it really and truly hasn’t phased me. Instead, it’s encouraged me to realize how much I’ve grown in confidence and it’s also motivated me to keep posting the real-life, imperfect stuff.

The thing someone is shaming you for? Do it anyway.

The world needs to see that just because I happen to have a large number of people reading what I write online doesn’t mean that I am all perfect and polished and put-together. The truth is: nobody has it all together and nobody just floats effortlessly through life with flawless skin, perfect smiles, and zero struggles.

Now, let me be clear: I don’t share this post with you because I want you to criticize the few people who are on a “Stop the Selfie Crusade”. Honestly, I pray for them and hurt for them because I have a feeling that their unkind comments are probably coming from their own place of hurt and insecurity.

I also don’t share this because I need your affirmation. Truthfully, I don’t. I know who I am in Christ. I know the truth that I am enough. And I really can stand confidently in that.

I am writing this post tonight, because I have a feeling that some of you out there can relate to my struggles. Maybe you have no problem at all when it comes to smiling or showing your face in pictures, but perhaps you struggle with feeling like you don’t measure up somehow.

Maybe you had a really humiliating situation that forever cemented in your head that you weren’t good enough at X.

Maybe you’ve been shamed by someone close to you regarding your weight or your appearance or your skills or your mothering or your “inabilities”.

And it’s cut you deeply. So deep, in fact, that ever since then, you’ve avoided that thing at all costs.

That thing that someone's shaming you for? Do it anyway.

Can I encourage you to stop believing the lies & start camping on the truth? Can I gently admonish you not to let shaming words from others dictate how you live and hold you back?

Be brave. Be YOU. The world needs your gifts, your story, and your unique perspective.

And every time you see me post a selfie, can it be a reminder to you to keep putting yourself out there, keeping stepping outside your comfort zone, keep pushing forward little bit by little bit?

Let’s be a community of people who don’t let shaming words get the best of us. Let’s camp on the truth, walk in confidence knowing that we are enough as we are, and then let’s bravely face our fear gremlins head on — imperfect selfies and all.

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  • Allison says:

    This is what I have needed to hear for a while. It is great motivation to rethink the self-criticism that constantly invades my thoughts.

    By the way, when I see the “goofy” selfies, I just think that chick is fun and I wish I had her spirit.

  • Renee says:

    This was so beautifully written. Thanks for being so vulnerable. Love this!!

  • Cynthia says:

    How sad that people would say such ugly things. I think you are beautiful!
    I don’t like the way I look in pictures. So mostly I post pictures of others or my cats. If I do post something of myself, I heavily critique it first.

  • Jenna Priest says:

    You’re a very physically attractive woman. I don’t get it? LOL. Some people are crazy. And probably making mean comments because they are jealous of how pretty you are and that you run a successful website. How bizarre. Trying to find a hint of ugly but I fail.

  • christy says:

    I didn’t know that others felt the way I did about selfies.. and going one step further, posting a post on FB! I will actually lay in bed at night thinking if I made a spelling error or if I somehow offended anyone! Thank you for putting yourself out there! It is an encouragement for me to do more!

  • Beth says:

    Love your selfies!

  • Aubrey says:

    I love the faces in this post. They are real and human. I’d rather see “real” faces than perfectly posed faces. You keep on keep in’ on with your fun selfie faces!!

  • Tracy says:

    Keep taking and sharing your photos. Your selfies are real and fun and your kids and family will love them for the rest of their lives. I had a mother who was not a fan of having photos taken and often avoided the camera at family gatherings. She died at 46 and I so wish I had so many more photos of her. I made a decision to always let people take photos with me in them. I want them to have those memories of me no matter how I felt I looked in them.

  • A. Rose says:

    You’re beautiful and I love this post.

  • amy says:

    Thank you for this beautiful post! There are so many ways I feel insecure and inadequate and I’ve been thinking a lot about how much I try and fit into what I think other people think I should be.

    After feeling really down I decided to try to just be me — I used to like me! And I’m terrible at being someone I’m not! It’s funny, I totally don’t even see the “imperfections” that worried you about yourself which really made me think… Maybe all the things that are “wrong” about me are just my insecurities?

    Thanks for the inspiration! You’ve given me a lot to think about and even though I don’t even know you, I am very grateful for the support!!!

  • Misty says:

    I seriously think you and I should be friends! I feel the same way about a lot of the things you post on your blog and I love it. Sometimes a sister needs to know she’s not alone in the world and I think you are brave for facing the trolls head on. People don’t know how degrading their comments can be, either from ignorance or just plain meanness. And I’m glad there are women out there that are willing to be REAL! You are such a beautiful lady, and obviously from the inside out. Haters gonna hate ;). Keep on keeping on!

  • Erin says:

    It’s amazing how God orchestrates the right encouragement at just the right time! I was at the mall yesterday with my 5 (almost 6 year old daughter). I am 28 weeks pregnant, and exhausted. I had jeans and a t-shirt on. Hair in a pony tail, and little to no make up on. I had just finished 2- 12 hour shifts in a row, and I had things I needed to get done (despite the fact that I really just wanted to take a long nap). I am generally a very confident person, and don’t let what others say about me get to me. It’s easy to judge someone from across the room (or behind the guise of anonymity on the internet).
    Two girls in their late teens/early 20’s made a comment about my appearance. At first, I wanted to confront them, and tell them exactly how I felt about their comments. I, however, stopped myself knowing that would not please the God who loves me and knitted me together himself. Later in the evening I began to think about it again. I prayed for those 2 girls. I prayed that whatever struggles they are currently in or would experience in the future- that God would use those things to draw them to Him. I truly believe that the majority of the time, those types of comments come from a place of hurt.
    Thank you for sharing your heart. It lets me know that I am not alone.

  • Hayden says:

    Thank you for this post. My Facebook pics consist of my girls because I love them but also because I don’t like how I look in pics. I don’t take selfies without my girls and maybe one of them ends up posted. I struggled with acne and don’t always have my hair and makeup photo ready. I just feel insecure. Thank you for your words. It’s nice to know other women understand.

  • Mama Bear says:

    Thanks for posting this. I can definitely relate to the insecurity of getting your picture taken and posting selfies. I have never considered myself photogenic and don’t like having my picture taken. I am so proud of you for growing enough to get over this fear and hope that someday, I can, too. BTW – you ARE beautiful!

  • Emily says:

    Go Crystal! You are speaking the truth and being a wonderful example to your daughters and to the world! Thank you for being brave and for following Christ! Keep posting your selfies, I love them! It reminds me to be real, authentic, and to celebrate the small things and laugh at the inconvenient!

  • Bonnie says:

    I’ve been following you for years and I love that you’re posting more of the “real” you. Your selfies are authentic and fun. Keep them coming. I’ve recently lost 45 lbs and I know how it feels to want to take selfies and pictures. For the first time in my life, I’m comfortable with how I look and I like sharing my life in pictures now! Thanks for the spot on post!

  • Julia says:

    Our MOPS theme last year was “Be you, Bravely” and you just keep on keeping on being you bravely. 😊

  • Sherri Davis says:

    Good for you! I’m glad you don’t photoshop and are brave enough to show your real life. It’s refreshing and that is one of the reasons I continue to follow your blog. Keep it up!

  • Amy says:

    Yay you! Good post. You’re beautiful especially in the silly everyday pics. I’m so glad you deleted the ugly posts…I love the upbeat vibe you keep.

  • Kendra says:

    I honor this post so much!! We are all in such need of love and being able to be authentic, who God designed us to be! How freeing to be able to keep looking to our Fatherfor validation and unconditional love instead of others. That is my mission too! To push fear aside and step out revealing my true self praying it might benefit and help someone else. Hurt people hurt people. What f we start looking at people through Jesus’ eyes and love them as His gift….precious and valued….one of a kind? I am so proud of you and inspired to stay on this journey! You rock! Let’s stay the course!!💜

  • I think you are beautiful, my friend. Thank you for sharing the progress that these selfless represent. It is truly significant how far you have come, and I celebrate that. I also appreciate the fact that this post reminds us all that the person behind the blog is a real person. I hope that it helps us all think about the comments we write. If we don’t like something we see, is it necessary to demean the writer? Why not just move on? I simply do not understand. I have had to grow some pretty thick skin to keep blogging over the years, but it hurts when people are cruel. I would like to say THANK YOU for putting yourself out there and being vulnerable. I know how much TIME, EFFORT, THOUGHT, and HEART it takes to keep up a blog and share from the soul. I appreciate you so much, as well as the authentic messages you write.

  • Kris says:

    What in the world!?! Why would they say those things? I don’t get it. You stay you, goofy faces and everything else. You are beautiful inside and out, so the comments are just dumb.

  • Noelle says:

    It makes me sad that there are adults who are bullies. I love reading your blog. I love how real it is. It’s always fun and sometimes funny to read. I’m glad you are secure enough in Christ to not let it bother you and to still use your blog to encourage others.

  • Fawn says:

    I absolutely love this article! Such a great reminder that we are all different but God loves us just the way we are! We are all a work in progress. Thank you for sharing!

  • Cindy says:

    I love all your pictures, please ignore the negative comments that come from people who are so insecure of themselves that they have to criticize others to make themselves feel better!

  • Melissa Fornwalt says:

    I cannot believe people are so cruel. Especially to someone as beautiful as you 🙂

    Thank you for this post. It is a blessing to know there are women out there trying to be brave and be the person God has created them to be… themselves!

  • Bertine says:

    Thank you. I do relate!
    And it’s nice to know there are others out there ; )

  • Patty says:

    This is beautiful and so are you! Thank you for sharing so openly and for encouraging us to be ourselves!

  • Merry Jo says:

    You are beautiful, and I appreciate you and your ministry so much! Thanks for this post! <3

  • Janet says:

    Loved this post. Such a shame that some people feel the need to say such hateful things. Thanks for the encouragement for your readers to be brave, celebrate their beauty and uniqueness. Good for you for doing the hard work you have to overcome insecurities and become a stronger confident woman who knows her value in Christ. By the way, I love the fun expressions in your selfies, it’s real life.

  • Anne Vincent says:

    You are such a pretty lady inside and out! I love your blog! Don’t let anyone tell you differently. keep up the good work!

  • Janis says:

    Oh how jealousy can bring out the bitterness in people. They claim to dislike your goofy faces, teeth, whatever, yet they continue to read your blog. I dare these haters to post selfies as I would love to see what they consider perfection looks like. Life is about having fun and being proud of who you are and you do a perfect job of it. Keep up the silly faces because what child doesn’t like having a silly, fun loving parent to goof around with. Beautiful memories are being made with a beautiful, real mom.

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