Virtual Reality! What is real? Our physical flaws?

I’ve got one more amazing guest post for you today!  My mom and sister loved your comments so thank you a lot!  I’ll be back for good tomorrow but until then, enjoy Megan’s goodness:

Heeeeeyyyy HRG readers! It’s Megan D again.  Can we all just pause for a moment and imagine we are on the beaches of Hawaii right now, like Janae??  Cause it is cold here in Utah and I am not a cold weathered person so I just want to imagine.  For a sec.  Just hold on.

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(the beach in front of the house we stayed at in Hawaii last year #sigh #takemeback)

Okay.  Thanks.  Back to the blog.  My last two posts I talked about not being able to run and my injuries, and then coming back from my injury.  But today I wanted to talk about virtual reality.  What does virtual reality have to do with running you say?

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(We aren’t talking about THIS type of virtual reality)

Pretty much nothing.  But neither do Janae’s trips to Target and Costco, yet here we all are;)  This is a blog though.  A form of social media— like Instagram or Snapchat.  It’s a way we can take a peek into someone else’s life whom we don’t actually know.  We see other people through social media.  People from all over the world.  We see their family, their routines, their workouts, their food, we learn their likes and dislikes- we get to know them well enough that it feels like we DO know them.  I mean, that is how I felt before I met Janae in person- that she was down to earth, sweet, funny person.  And she was! And then we became besties and lived happily ever after.

But does looking at other people’s lives on social media distort our views of what is real?  Does this online ‘virtual reality’ make us forget what is normal?  I know it does for me.  Hi.  Let me reintroduce myself.  My name is Megan and I tend to get down on myself for not living up to what (I) think (I) should be like.  I am a female #Obviously #WellHopefullyObviously and I think that might be in our nature.  Maybe it isn’t in yours (if so, teach me your ways).  When we see these photos of other people’s lives- people we don’t know and even the friend down the street- we are seeing small pieces of their life that they CHOOSE to put out there.  TO be seen.  The way THEY want them to be seen. Then, almost automatically, our brains put together a sequence of what we assume the other person is like and what we assume their life to be like.  We all do it.  Even me. Please tell me that I am not the only one.

We spend a lot of time seeing what we think other people’s lives are like.  Some of what we think may be accurate, some of it may not be.  That she is a fast runner, has the perfect family, always looks flawless, plans amazing parties… whatever it may be.  Even if you don’t get down on yourself in seeing these things, these crafted images plant a seed in our minds and perception of what ‘normal’ is begins to shift after seeing these images day in and day out.  These seeds that play a small part in how we view the world around us.

Even those dang filters on snapchat can change the way we see ourselves and others.  I mean, I wouldn’t complain if that beauty filter followed me around all day:)

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We put the best version of ourselves out there for people to see (for the most part; there are times we share struggles and the unflattering pictures) but not as often as those that put us in a better light.

For instance:

A few months ago, I hiked Mt. Timpanogos with Megan and Lindsey.  It is about a 15-mile hike with 5,600 ft of climbing in that 7.5 miles up.  It is beautiful and challenging.  What do you do when you finish something like that (or a hard race, etc?) You take a picture #dug #proof #InstagramItOrItDidn’tHappen.

So, I gave my phone to Lindsey and asked her to take a picture.  Remember how I told you I was awkward in pictures, right?  Please keep that in mind and proceed with caution and remember… this was with the help of a PROFESSIONAL PHOTOGRAPHER #FacePalm

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Me:  I feel weird.  What should I be doing with my hands?  I am suddenly super aware of my hands.

Lindsey: Do you have a pocket you could put your hands in?

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Me:  Why yes, I do.  Right here in the back of my pants is a tiny pocket for a key.  This looks natural, no?

Lindsey: Try looking down and off to the side.

Me: This feels weird.  Are people going to wonder why I am not looking at you?  And once again.  My hands.  What should I do with my hands?

Lindsey:  Try grabbing your hat and looking to the other side.

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Me:  Hey yooooooouuuuu guys.  I think I am funny.

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Lindsey gives me back my phone.  I look at the pictures and immediately start to pick myself apart.  I think the shirt doesn’t fit well and isn’t flattering and why would I want to post a picture of myself for my friends and family to see if I think I look…. not so great.

I grab my backpack.  Pull out my jacket to cover up the shirt that is clinging in all the wrong places.  Put my backpack on (yes! this will give my hands something to do!) and ask Lindsey to try again #BlessHerHeartForPuttingUpWithMe

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Phew.  I like that better.

I enjoy the rest of the hike back down and then when I get home… you know what is next.  Filter.  caption. Hashtags.

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Guess I should have mentioned how many tries it took to get that one picture I posted.  People could have seen the effort it took to get a picture was about the same as climbing a mountain.  Ha! But instead, I think I am just trying to get a decent picture of myself.  One where I look alright (I am just shooting for mediocre here even) so that people don’t pick apart my flaws.  The flaws that probably only I see in myself (my friends and family are decent humans after all and I don’t think they would do that).  So why do I do that to myself?  To be beautiful is not to be accepted by others, but to accept yourself.

I keep thinking about these physical flaws and why we are so consumed by them.  Things that are so very common like double chins, zits, the roll of flesh over the pants in my picture.  Those things are not flaws or imperfections!  They make us human!  It is the human condition to wear these things, but it is society that makes us criticize and think less of ourselves for having these human things.  It is ME looking at the pictures that were taken and thinking those negative thoughts about myself and choosing to post a picture that covers them up.  We become so consumed with changing and perfecting our outward appearance that we forget to turn our gaze inward and work on the flaws we carry in our minds and hearts.  Working on loving myself is not easy.  Learning that self-care, respect and love are just as important to my health as exercising and eating right.

I have spent so much time in the last 6 years or so hating my body and it hasn’t gotten me anywhere.  Hating something doesn’t make you love it.  My body is amazing, right now, exactly as it is and so is yours!  Mine hiked that mountain! It hiked a mountain every single week this summer with my kids, or friends or husband- even with my ‘flaws’!  When I think back to those hikes, I don’t remember what my body looked like, but the experiences I had and the relationships I made with those I was with.

“Navigating life and feeling good in your skin is not easy for any of us, but i think it could be more fun.  I think we all could use a lot more compassion and a lot less judgement of ourselves and each other.  And maybe we could all engage a sense of curiosity about what beauty is and what it looks like, instead of assuming pre-existing ideas are true” -Tracee Ellis Ross

Now I am not saying that we should all post pictures of ourselves looking our worst.  I am not saying that if I take a series of pictures, I won’t ever be posting the one where I feel I look my best.  I am saying after the picture has been taken, I will try to look at the picture for what it is- the moment in time that was captured.  Nothing more.  I will look at the set of pictures and pick one I like instead of seeing flaws; changing, and then taking a new picture.  When we are more open, real and vulnerable with each other, that is when we connect with each other and see each other for what we are.  Human.  All of us.  I realize that this world of social media isn’t reality.  This is something I will have to make a conscious effort to remember.  I will spend more time becoming an observer in the world around me.  I am trying to take a step back and widen my view of things. Because what do you actually see around you?  Is it perfect?  Flawless?  Or is it messy and human?  Reality is messy, diverse and imperfect.  Life is lived in that imperfect.

Who else becomes hyper aware of their arms and hands when the camera comes out?

Tell me one thing you like about yourself.  Physical trait or a characteristic trait.  Let’s be nice to ourselves for once;)

Do you love hiking?  Tell me your favorite hike where you live.

I would love to travel to different destinations and just eat and hike my way through that area.  My husband and I did that in Portland and it has probably been my most favorite vacation to date.

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95 comments

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Megan, I LOVE this! Thank you so much for sharing your heart. You’re right that we’re often too hard on ourselves. I try not to care too much about what I look like, but it’s so easy when pictures are all over the place to pinpoint the “flaws” we immediately see in ourselves (that no one else probably even notices). So, to say one thing I like about myself: my hair. I really like my hair.

And I love hiking! There aren’t many places to hike where I live. I need to make a trek out y’all’s way to get some of those hills and mountains!

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Who we are matters so much more than what we look like, right? But I will agree with you on your hair. It’s beautiful! If you ever come out this way, I will meet up with you for a hike! There are lots of options here that I am sure you will enjoy.

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Thanks, Megan! :)

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OMG, when my husband takes my pictures, I’m ALWAYS like, “What do I do with my hands? I don’t know what to do with my hands!” lol I don’t want to look dowdy, but I don’t want to be hands on hips, damn, I’m SASSY and SEXY, LOOK AT ME! too. ha ha

My favorite features are my long legs (even though I’m only barely 5’5″ and my green eyes. Love love love having green eyes :)

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The struggle is real with the hands. I tell ya what. Maybe we should come up with some super ridiculous pose, like just putting our hands on our heads and make that a ‘thing’. lol. I love green eyes. They are so different and exotic!

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Perfect exercise can make excellent body otherwise if that doesn’t, then body doesn’t improve. Only exercise? Nothing there is also necessary to control food item. Even when you will be slim, then also comes excellent picture by camera. Overall, I love your post and this is really informative.

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Thank you for your comment. I hope you have a great day :)

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Megan – you need a blog. Seriously – your insight and stories are awe-inspiring. I was legitimately thinking these thoughts while I was at the gym this morning – (after running 4 miles on the treadmill) I thought that there’s a little too much wiggle in my upper arms and how can I fix it? My body just managed to get me through 4 miles at 5 in the morning….and here I am wishing it could do more. We spend so much of our lives wishing for what COULD be, and miss what IS. We don’t want to wake up when we’re 80 and realized that wishes are what made our lives. GREAT post!

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I couldn’t agree more with your comment. Let’s spend more time focusing on all our body does do for us and how amazing it is and crowd out all the negative thoughts. Great job getting your run in so early this morning! #Dedication

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I can’t see the pictures! Is it just my computer? (I’m not great with technology.) Even without the pictures, this was a great read. Thanks so much for the reminder that no one is perfect, even if they have a perfect filter.

I love hiking! My favorites in the DC-area are Big Schloss, Old Rag, and Duncan’s Knob.

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Ahhh. I am sad you can’t see the pictures. You are only missing out on my awkwardness and some awesome views behind me from the top of a mountain ;) My husband and I visited DC a few years ago. I went running through some neighborhoods (we stayed with friends in Virginia) but I never did get to go on some hikes. Guess I need to go back. I am putting those hikes on my list. Thank you! Also, the food in DC. I could go back just for the food!

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Wahhh – I can’t see any of the pictures either, but sounds like at least I’m not the only one.

I’m funny – and I seriously love that. I crack myself up. I am quick witted too.
Also, my eyes, they’re blue, which I love. And they smile too when I’m really happy. :)

Hiking, I LOVE IT. It’s my favorite. I hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro with my brother in 2015, and what an incredible experience that was. But favorite local hike? So hard to choose. We have a trail called the Laurel Highlands Trail – it has decent elevation changes for around here & some great vistas of the river gorge below!

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Same thing for me! Can’t see the pictures on my phone or the computer! But still a great and entertaining post, visual or not haha

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Nooooo! I can see the pictures so I have no idea what is going on for other people. Lame. I am glad you still enjoyed the post. Thank you for your nice comment. Have a great weekend :)

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Having a sense of humor is a great trait. My husband is super funny and it is one of my favorite things about him. I know I will always laugh when he is around. That is so amazing that you hiked Mt. Kilimanjaro! Talk about a bucket list hike/experience. You are my hero!

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Ha ha – I love hiking and always have the same problem with posing at the top – what do I do with my hands/arms? I hike all the time and have a countless photo streams of trying to get just the right natural but proud pose. #hikingproblems

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Ummmm I just clicked over on to your blog and those first pictures that popped up – amazing! I think you and I should become hiking buddies, yes? Also, I like the both hands up in the air like “wahooooo!” at the top pose. I’m going to try that next time ;)

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Haha. I tend to do the hand-on-hip pic a lot! Something I love about myself.. I have great curves! Definitely hour-glassy no matter what weight i’m at :-)

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That is definitely something to love about yourself. I am a ruler shape and have zero curves. Which comes in handy when I hiking through slot canyons, but less so when I am trying to find clothes to fit me properly. lol. And the hand on the hip is always a safe option ;)

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Great post! I do not like to put pictures on social media. I do not like my picture to be taken. I couldn’t take enough pictures to find one that I like. I don’t think about my hands, I think about my facial expression. I can’t master a good facial expression and where are my eyes supposed to be looking in all of the photos. I don’t want to be criticized in any way and so I don’t put pictures of myself out there.

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My husband takes a bajillion pictures and while I don’t always enjoy my picture to be taken or to see the pictures AFTER, I know I will be glad to have them; or at the very least, my kids will be glad. I love looking back at pictures of my parents when they were younger or pictures of my siblings and I when we were younger. They are hilarious and awkward but hold so many memories. But pictures definitely don’t have to be posted on social media to be enjoyed. No ones opinion matters but your own so do what makes you happy.

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Thank you so much for this post. It’s perfect, as are YOU. You look adorable in all these pictures.

I am the most unphotogenic person in the entire world. After 30 years you’d think I would’ve learned my flattering angles, but that simply has not been the case. So awkward.

I like my legs. They’re nothing special, but they’ve helped me do some pretty amazing things. I love how they’ve changed through my training and how they’ve gotten stronger and bigger with my miles. And aside from the occasional chafing, I don’t mind that they rub together.

If you’re ever in Colorado, you NEED to do the hike to Sky Pond in Rocky Mountain National Park. It is the most beautiful place I’ve ever been and my all time favorite hike.

Thanks for an amazing guest post!

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I always hear the term, “know your angles” and I don’t even know how I would go about finding that information about myself. Haha. Our legs are amazing! They literally help take us everywhere we go, and that is pretty amazing. Can you believe I am right next door to Colorado and yet I have never been! Every time I see pictures though I am amazed at how beautiful it is. I definitely need to visit and go hiking while I am there. I will put Sky Pond on my list. Thanks for the tip and for the nice comment!

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This. All of this. Thank you for addressing such an important topic in such an articulate, yet fun to read way:) I have a knack for becoming super awkward when the camera comes out. I find my favorite photos are where I am caught off guard and laughing, happiness outshines awkwardness every time!

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Thank you so much for the kind comment. It made my morning :) Candid photos are my favorite too. While they are usually much less flattering, I love how they capture the ‘realness’ of the moment so much better.

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Omg. I thought I was the only person in the world who became incredibly awkward and had no idea what to do with their hands in pictures. Lol! It takes me a good 5-10 tries before a good picture happens. Anyhoo – members of the “I don’t know what to do with my hands during pictures” club unite!!

I love hiking and trail running. Endless mountains and trails are only 30 minutes out of where I live (Seattle). I am currently training for my first trail 50k… so to the mountains I go! :)

I loved your post, Megan!

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So are you the president of our new club? Can I be vice president?

Seattle is so gorgeous. I have only spent a day there (on my way to Vancouver, Canada) so I didn’t have time for any hikes, but I would love to go back and do some. All I know is when I came back home, after spending a week there, I realized why our mountains are called the rocky mountains! lol. Hiking there is so much more green!

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Lol! Yes, I will need vice president. Let’s do this.

You should check out Seattle in the summer – it’s the best time to come. And then go check out the mountains and do some hiking. It is very green and amazing!!

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I do truly believe we are so hard on ourselves. This is a wonderful post and thank you for sharing. I’m pretty awkward camera or not. I used to care more but hoestly now I figure my friends know that anyway.

I live in NJ and believe it or not, there are some great hikes in north west New Jersey. I’ve even seen a bear up there (not that that makes it great LOL).

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Exactly. I have great friends who appreciate my awkwardness..or at least seem to? That is what I am telling myself anyway.

I actually think NOT seeing any bears makes for a great hike. Ha! I did come face to face with a moose a couple years ago. Like 3 feet away. And I was all by myself. I about pooped my pants. It was natures HIIT training right there.

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What a beautiful post! So much truth! I tend to post pics when I actually have real (ish) clothes on. I always want to put a disclaimer that typically I am in my pajamas until 10 before I put on workout clothes and maybe some lip gloss. Interesting “reality” we live in right now!

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I’m sorry. You lost me after ‘real’ clothes. I am confused. It’s been a while. What are real clothes again?#workoutclothesorpajamasALWAYS

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I love hiking!!

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It’s the best! I don’t think I realized how much I need my hikes until now. that it is so cold and I spend most of my day inside. I need to take up snowshoeing or something because I miss being outside and connecting with nature/the mountains. A lot.

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Hi Megan! Thank you so much for sharing Those thoughts. I’ve been working on that myself. Just enjoying the life that I have with all that is messy and crazy and flawed but also beautiful and real.
I can’t remember a single day in a long time when i haven’t asked myself: i’m I getting fat? Or do I look fat in these jeans? Or any other negative comment. So I am working on it. It’s nice to read that i am not alone.
You are really beautiful, please know that (I don’t know what is in the water in Utah, you are all gorgeous)
To answer your question I really like my eyes because they remind me of my mom. We look alike a little.
Sorry I wrote so much and also for any mistakes (my first language isn’t english)

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I understood your comment very well. So great job! Being nice to myself isn’t easy for me either. It is something I have to be very conscious about and I have to make the effort, but it is something that is very important and worth the energy. Especially since I have kids and I want them to see themselves how I see them, not how the world sees them. I love the reason you love your eyes. Our traits that have been given to us by our parents are a pretty great reminder of our heritage. Have a great weekend, Patricia!

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I love the honesty in this post! I think we all have that series of pictures of our phones where we’re just trying to get one that we like. And seriously, what are you supposed to do with your hands?! But it’s kind of sad when you think about it; like how much time do we spend trying to get a perfect picture instead of just enjoying the moment? Thanks for sharing!
I love hiking. I’m lucky enough to live in Colorado and have some 14er’s on my bucket list.

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When in doubt, stick your hands in your pockets. Maybe that is why I am currently obsessed with pockets on my dresses? Who knows. Perfection doesn’t exist so we all need to stop chasing it, right? Doesn’t mean we don’t strive to better ourselves, but we can also love ourselves AS IS. I need to get myself out to CO and do some hiking. I feel like Colorado has so much to offer when it comes to outdoor adventuring!

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I become hyper aware of all my flaws once the camera comes out. Don’t have enough limbs to cover them all! I usually prefer to employ a friend to stand in front of me!

Being nice to myself is tougher than it initially seemed — I guess I’ll have to say I like my legs. I’m an apple shape, so I have a gut but really toned and well worked legs. Running and squats keep them in shape.

I’m not an experienced hiker, but there are beautiful hikes in NC! Gorgeous landscapes and greenery!

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I have never been to NC, but I want to. I was only thinking about beaches, but now if there is hiking involved too? Hello best of both worlds! I like to usually hide myself behind my children in pictures, which is why I think I REALLY don’t know what to do with myself when I am the only person in a picture. lol. Our legs are awesome, they take us everywhere we go. They are definitely something to be grateful for.

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I’m from Seattle and the hiking in Washington is amazing!! Two of my favorites are Gothic Basin off the Mountain Loop Highway or Colchuck Lake in the Enchantments.
Over the summer I went to Glacier National Park in Montana and was blown away by the massive peaks and huge valleys. If you are looking for a great summer trip Glacier has amazing hikes, camping, and hotels. The highlight of our trip was an 18 mile loop hike up Dawson Pass to Pitamakan Pass. The East side of the park definitely has the more majestic views.
I am anxiously awaiting spring so I can get out hiking again!

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My husband and I recently put Glacier on our list of travel destinations, along with Lake Tahoe. The pictures look amazing and we all know pictures can’t do justice when it comes to Mother Nature’s beauty. I am looking forward to Spring too. I have noticed how much being outside in the mountains affects my mood now that it hasn’t happened in a while. Let’s make a paper chain countdown. When does it get nice enough to hike in Seattle?

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I have never been to NC, but I want to. I was only thinking about beaches, but now if there is hiking involved too? Hello best of both worlds! I like to usually hide myself behind my children in pictures, which is why I think I REALLY don’t know what to do with myself when I am the only person in a picture. lol. Our legs are awesome, they take us everywhere we go. They are definitely something to be grateful for.

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Megan D!! Fantastic post. And, good or bad, something I think many of us can relate to feeling. I think this post shows some of the awesomeness to social media, though….because it reinforces that YOU (and Janae…and everyone else) is a REAL person. We are all human. And this post reminds us that yes, we blog readers are only seeing snip-its of your life. Thanks for keepin’ it real, Megan!

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And because I responded before reading your questions….

It’s not my arms that I become hyper-aware of….it’s my face, my hair, my legs, my hips….

I like my eyes…. :)

YES!! I do love hiking, but do not take enough time to get out and do it!!! I live in the PNW and there are some absolutely gorgeous hikes very close by! Must starting doing more!! :)

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You’re right. I have met some amazing people and learned some great things because of social media, so is definitely isn’t all bad. Make a goal to go hiking more this Summer. You won’t regret it! ;)

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I loved this Megan thank you! My son is a ski guide/ski instructor through the winter and guides hikes and scrambles all summer. When he gets to the top of mountains he does crazy things like hand stands and cartwheels or holds gigantic rocks above his head. He is hysterical just like you. :)

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What an awesome job! I would not have the guts to do those things on top of a mountain. lol. But I can admire those who can ;)

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This is funny because I feel like I take great pictures of my family members – and help them “look great” by telling them to tilt their head down, or move their arm etc – and then when my husband takes a picture of me he just snaps it… and “ugh, really? that’s my picture??” I critique, and cringe, when I see shots of myself. I do post a lot of pictures of me without makeup on sweaty runs, so I think all of my friends know I’m certainly not always “polished”. I totally agree with you!! Thanks for the fun post (but didn’t get to see all of those pictures. We need a repost tomorrow!!)

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Oh man. That is frustrating that the pictures did not show up for you! I am sorry. I don’t think there is anything wrong with helping someone take a picture (outside perspective always helps) and I appreciate when someone tells me, ‘Hey Megan. Scoot closer and lean in’ so it looks like I am SUPPOSED to be part of the picture and not some weird photo bomber. But we also just need to be kinder to ourselves. We say things to ourselves we would never say to a friend and that isn’t right, right?

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There may be a privacy setting on your photos? I don’t know, I can’t see them either.

I loved your piece and I agree with you. We do tend to pick ourselves apart and think others may have a better life. I tend to post my after workout photos sweaty and red-faced because it’s real and hard workouts don’t leave me looking dewy and fresh. (I sweat like a beast). I don’t put my personal business up and out for others to discuss though, that’s for my close friends and family.

I love my smile.

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I don’t know how to put privacy settings on my photos or how I would take them off if I had. lol. I am so not tech savvy. I hope you smile often. People’s smiles are often my favorite thing about them :) Have a great weekend!

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Super insightful, my dear friend!! I have struggled so much with this over this past year since having Reed… like bad. Like curl up in my bed at night and cry bad. I have been trying lately to appreciate my body for what it accomplished this past year… I freaking carried and then delivered a human being, for heavens sake. Ugh! The struggle is constant and real! Thanks for the reminder and for keeping it real! Love you!

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Oh Tara! This makes me so sad. But I totally get it. I have moments/days/weeks where I hate how my body looks and then I hate that I hate how my body looks. Having babies takes it toll, no doubt and the pressure to ‘bounce back’ after having a baby is real. I just hope you know how absolutely gorgeous you are. You have always been a great friend and someone I have looked up to. You are strong and have done some amazing things with that body of yours!

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Yes, I like hiking. And am still sad we did not get out there together over the summer. We will be getting our hike on together this year!

And BTW, this was perfect. Like you. Flaws and all. Yes. I know that doesn’t actually make sense, but you get it.

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Yes. This Summer better include hikes together! I appreciate you and how you ‘get me’. Thank you for always being there for me :)

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Absolutely spot on! I like to pretend others posts don’t get to me, but I think deep down, just like you said, a seed is planted and your perspective changes! I’m the worst at posting pics of myself because I HATE the way I look. Thanks for the motivation to work on it and to just love myself for me, imperfections and all! Sure love you!!

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I love you too, Brynn and I think you are beautiful. You are so good at seeing the positive in situations and I love your determination to do things. I know if you say you are going to do something, you will. And I don’t think you could find a person who wouldn’t be envious of your long, strong legs ;)

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Megan. . this is perfect. I needed this today, so thank you for putting it into words that makes it so real and relatable. So perfectly written. 💜
*Katie

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Thank you for your nice comment :) Hope you are having a great day!

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Megan this is perfect and I love it so much. And I love you. So proud to be your friend and can’t wait for it to be hiking season again!

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Hiking season can’t come soon enough. I miss being outdoors and I miss our weekly get togethers. Thanks for being such a great friend. You have such a kind heart, an amazingly witty sense of humor and are freaking gorgeous. Still waiting for my make up tutorial.

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Hiking is so wonderful-I love looking at my surroundings and navigating the trails. It opens up all the senses: hearing leaves (or snow!!!) crunch, seeing the colors, smelling the woods, etc. I am so fortunate to have trails just outside my doorstep. I live in Bavaria which is very, very laden with marked trails. It is fun to scope out trails to run, ride, and hike!!! I really want to do a pilgrimage someday and also hike the Plose in Italy. When I was in college I went to New Zealand for their summer and hiked all the various tracks (you tramp a trek on a track!) I can’t tell you how it was the ultimate hiking experience.

Sometimes when the camera comes out I suddenly am not capable of pulling off a serious or normal expression. I try, then it looks like I’m trying. I appreciate it when someone says what to do like “everyone reach up, jump, arms out, arms around each other, etc.”

I think we are programmed to feel weird or guilty liking ourselves and our bodies. It’s in many of us to negate ourselves out of habit or avoiding coming across and indignant. sigh. time to change that.

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Bavaria!! New Zealand! I am so jealous of your hiking adventures.

It’s true. We have been conditioned to give excuses instead of accept compliments or to not like ourselves, when in reality we should! We should change that for sure. Confidence in yourself is invaluable!

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This is killing me – I love your posts, Megan, but I can’t see your the pics either!!! *crying*

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I seriously don’t know why some people can see the posts and some people can’t. Hopefully it will get figured out. Hope you enjoyed the post anyway. Enjoy our weekend, Jane!

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Amen to this, sister!! Loooooove your post. You are so hilarious that my sides hurt from laughing and maybe you solved my problem of the roll hanging over my waistband, thank you.

I have a super awkward smile in pictures. My nose scrunches up and I show more teeth than anyone but my dentist needs to see. BUT it’s actually really cool because you can tell just how darn excited I am in the moment. Thanks for making me focus on the positive – love the shift in perspective!!

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Haha. I love the real smile analogy. My real smile involves seeing a whole lot of my gums. I have more gums than I do teeth. But my husband always tries to capture that smile in pictures too and It isn’t my favorite look either. But, like you said, it is how you know it’s ‘real’ and that is why he loves it. Thanks for the nice comment. Enjoy your weekend Michelle :)

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Megan your post is beautiful!!! I love it! A much needed reminder. Thank you.

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Thank you for your kind comment :) I need to be reminded myself,…a lot. Have a great evening, Janice!

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You’re my favorite, I love everything about this post. I was just talking to my family about this last week. Love love love you!

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You are so sweet. I always love your upbeat attitude Bree and you have the most gorgeous smile. Love you!

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I usually don’t comment – BUT – I absolutely LOVE ” Learning that self-care, respect and love are just as important to my health as exercising and eating right.” Going to put that where I can see it everyday!! :)!

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Well, I am thankful you took the time to leave a comment and that you found something that will help you. That makes me so happy. Enjoy your weekend!

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Great post Megan!!! :)

I’m so glad I’m not the only one that feels that way. And I think we all need reminders about the “virtual reality” that is social media.

PS- you look fantastic in ALL the photos!!

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Thank you for your nice comment. I agree. I pretty much wrote this post as a reminder for myself. lol. Hope you are having a great weekend!

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I love you so much friend! And I had to scroll a long way down to even say that so clearly I’m not the only one :)
This post is awesome. You’re awesome. Hiking is awesome. Take me with you this spring pretty please? I’ll bring my selfie stick ;)

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Yes. We need to plan hikes together this Summer, please. The selfie stick is non negotiable. Is it Summer yet?

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Meg. You’re my gal. I can’t wait to get our Friday hikes back. Because well…they…and you…are my favorite.

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I miss our hikes so badly. Like, I need to find something to get me outside because I can really, honestly feel a difference not being outside so much right now. It helps my mood. Thanks for being one of the few real people on social media. You are real through and through and I appreciate it and look up to you more than you will ever know.

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I can’t see your pictures, but I’m sure you look great in all of them!
No hiking where I live, praires in Canada….FLAT! Luckily, the Alberta Rockies are the next province over. One of my favorite hikes so far is the Crypt Lake hike in Waterton National Park. Waterton is the Canadian side of Glacier National Park. Awesome hikes, views and mountains! Both parks are a definite must see!
As for my favourites feature, I’ll have to think on that one…I’m pretty hard on myself.

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Well, I hope you thought about it and came up with more than one, because I am sure you have many amazing features! I have only ever been to Vancouver, Canada. I need to get up there and see more. It is so huge and diverse though, I am not sure I would even know where to start. Glacier Park is on my list already. It looks amazing!

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Wow! What an amazing post Megan! I will definitely be sharing this one. Thank you thank you thank you!

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Thank you. It makes me so happy to know you enjoyed it :)

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I miss hiking! It’s one of the tradeoffs we made moving from New Hampshire to Florida. So I get those gorgeous walks on the beach year round but no real hiking.

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Sounds like a pretty good trade off. One of Mother Nature’s beauties for another. But I would definitely miss the mountains and hiking. I get lost without the mountains. It is all I have ever known!

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Oh my gosh… I love this post!!! Thank you for reminding us all that no one is perfect! We all have strengths and weaknesses, and they all make up who we are!! Thank you!
And yes! Why is it so hard to figure out what to do with your hands? Too funny!
Thanks for filling in for HRG!! 😊

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I think because we are usually moving our hands when we walk or talk and then we are asked to stand still and it is like, so what do I do with my hands now? lol. Thank you for your nice comment. Hope you are having a good weekend!

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Love, love, love this post. We are all perfectly flawed. Thanks for reminding us. Yes, the hands, what to do with the hands. Beautifully written and so real! Thanks for filling in.

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Thank you for your nice comment :) Made my evening.

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I love ALL of this! Especially, though, how you still posted those photos that you at first deemed as unflattering. That honestly takes a lot of courage. It’s sad that it takes courage, right? But it does, and you did it. (And you looked like an amazing hiker, by the way!) Thank you for sharing all of this.

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It really is kind of scary putting yourself out there, especially when I didn’t want to share those pictures the first time around. But I think it helps me overcome the negative thoughts just putting it out there. Like facing a fear, ya know? Because I know that I am more than my body and that what I look like isn’t what makes me truly happy. Thank you for your comment! Have a great weekend, Monica!

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Loved your guest post! I also struggle with knowing what to do in pictures and usually look like an awkward creeper trying to photobomb.

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Megan D!!! Now that I can see the pictures, you are hoot!! All the photos are awesome. With jacket, without. All gorgeous. You are so cute and I love your pants. It is funny how OUR minds play tricks on us, but from a 3rd party, it is all irrelevant and unseen. Great post!!

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Seriously when are you starting a blog? I’m still wondering what do with my hands in photos! Hope to see more posts from you!

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