In 2011 I photographed my first destination wedding. The bride was an acquaintance I went to college with (who later became one of my closest friends) and the groom was a French man she met while she was studying abroad.
I was a young photographer who was so excited to travel the world and celebrate my new friends.
I became part of the family – stayed with the groom’s family on their dairy farm in Vitré, France, traveled with the guests, stayed with their generous Parisian friends in Paris, and documented a full week of their wedding celebration while also learning so much about the world and myself at the same time.
I made some of the most amazing memories and friends from this trip and still see them 10 years later every time I go back to Paris.
When you travel (and don’t speak a lick of the language) you realize how much you depend on the kindness of strangers, how much everyone’s love for this couple extended to me and the kindness I was shown as well, and how easy it is to get stuck in the patterns that are familiar to us.
In having conversations with my French friends, one of the big realizations I had is how *unpracticed* Americans are at resting and enjoying. Sitting at 3-4 hour meals with my new friends, laughing over wine, and enjoying the evening (with no one having plans of what they had to do next)? Chatting about the month long vacations everyone was going on? Seeing the depth of relationships and respect for themselves and each other? All these things were such a normal part of their life and such a *new* thing for me.
We (many people in the US or countries with similar societal views) have put our value on “what we can do for people” or “what we can achieve” or “how many people like us” and artists and entrepreneurs have doubled down on this thinking.
YOU ARE A SELFLESS, HARDWORKING, AMAZING INDIVIDUAL
you deserve rest, good things, enjoyment, presence, and freaking month long vacations where you don’t check emails too.
Your worthiness is because you’re human, not based on what you provide for others.
But if you’re like me, it’s not as easy as that. So much of my fears, trauma, childhood stuff is tied up in this. My security, safety, self-worth is too. The years of being afraid of where the next paycheck is coming from play in to it too.
So it’s not easy work to rest for many of us. It’s head + heart work too.
Reminders: your business can’t thrive if you aren’t thriving. Place people first (including yourself) and profit will follow.