Picture of Melanie 80 pounds heavier than today.
Melanie – Before

This is me. Both pictures are me. The “before” picture was 80 pounds ago. I guess you can call it my “before” picture. Before I started implementing healthy habits in my life, the side effect of which was weight loss. Anyway, I had that before picture on my mantle in my living room. One of my friends came over and said, “Why do you have that up there?” I said, “Because it’s me. I honor her, I love her, she had the courage to make some big changes. She is brave. Besides, it’s me!”

Melanie 80 pounds lighter and loads happier!
Melanie – Now

Then later that day my son said, “Mom, you should have a current picture up there.” I was upset. Why was it wrong to have a picture of me on my mantel? I didn’t want people’s negative reactions so I moved the picture to my dresser, inside my closet in my bedroom. Then each day I asked that picture, “Why are you hiding?” I wondered about that. How do I love myself, accept myself, honor myself, without hiding? Without being concerned about other people’s reactions? Why do I have to hide? Part of being ok with who we are is loving and accepting ourselves, in our past, our present, and our future. I didn’t put the picture back in the living room because I don’t want to spend any energy on other people’s negative reactions. I did put the picture in a more prominent place in my bedroom, every day I look at her and smile. She is strong. She is courageous! She is ME!

Where do you “hide?” How can you embrace yourself?

Update: I shared this story with my book group. I passed around my “before” picture and received such a positive response I put the picture back on my mantle! To stay! No matter what!