I invite you to read this blog with the understanding that all points made are from personal experience and my own insight. I find beauty in being vulnerable, being raw, being relatable & having my clients and followers connect with me on a deeper humanistic level. Self-Love & Trauma are things that look different to everyone & my perspective may differ in your own life and journey. That being said, I hope that this post touches someone, inspires them to make small changes, allows someone to recognize that this is a process & ultimately contributes to the betterment of your life and business.


a : an appreciation of one’s own worth or virtue

b : proper regard for and attention to one’s own happiness or well-being


b: a disordered psychic or behavioral state resulting from severe mental or emotional stress or physical injury

c: an emotional upset

Marriam-Webster Dictionary


I am a survivor. To be quite blunt, I am a child abuse survivor. Beyond that I am a survivor of attempted suicide and a survivor of our mental health system. Why is this important? Because to make sense of my journey, you need to understand the context of my journey. TRAUMA ties into my self-love journey & my journey as a business owner. TRAUMA is also the very thing that probably connects you and I. Everyone in some way whether big or small has experienced some form of TRAUMA, but not everyone has mastered the art of allowing it to fuel their dreams and who they were destined to be in this world. That to me, is why this blog is so important for me to be as raw and real with you.

In 2010, my world was in shambles. I just wrapped up my 2nd year going through the court and trial process against my perpetrator. I was already struggling significantly with depression/anxiety and to top it off I had a defence attorney in my face telling me everything bad that had happened in my life was because of me. Not only to me, but everything that happened to my little sister was because of me. How was I to not hate the person I was? How was I to really value and love myself? Or feel as if I had a purpose in this life? It’s something I’m sure we’ve all felt once in our life at some point. Like your failures were entirely your fault & beyond that, your TRAUMA was entirely your fault. The court system isn’t designed to be compassionate. It’s designed to present facts & prove what’s true and what’s not. Since I knew this was the perspective the courts had, I some how internalized everything they said about me as facts, even when I knew it was untrue.

Til this day, I firmly believe that the court process in itself was the most damaging form of TRAUMA that I experienced. I was not Autumn after court concluded. I was forced to relive the worse times in my life all over again. I was the defence attorney’s punching bag, my perpetrator’s scapegoat for why he behaved the way he did, and a burden to my friend’s and family for bringing them through this awful experience. Well this is how I viewed myself. And it all went back to being my fault because I disclosed my secrets. According to statistics it’s not uncommon for child abuse survivors to blame themselves or internalize the wrongdoing, but I not only internalized what happened to me, I internalized not being able to protect my siblings.

After court concluded in 2010, I continued therapy. I had been through it all. CBT, Psychotherapy, Art Therapy, Group Therapy, DBT, and far more than I can even remember. It was when I started seeing a doctor at Humber River Hospital that encouraged me to try different mediums of the arts to try to heal from the side effects of what I had just gone through. This was when I first started to pick up a camera and take photos. Originally it was just to capture beautiful moments in my life. To tell a story of what my world looked liked outside of the world wind of TRAUMA. It was my healing. It wasn’t professional, it wasn’t perfect, it was just something I enjoyed doing on my cheap digital camera. The following year, I purchased a DSLR. I started to take pictures of family and friends, then they referred me. I invested my time and money so I could get better until I eventually became the “Autumn Bri” you guys know and love today.


I became a photographer by accident. Well it wasn’t an accident because my creator brought me here, but I had no conscious desire to be a photographer. As I used this medium to heal, I got better and better at it. I went with that and boom…. now I’m here. There’s parts of my business that I don’t enjoy. Like RUNNING BUSINESS! Being a photographer is one thing, running a photography business is a whole other thing. I’m very grateful for my business, I worked hard for it, but there are things about business that I wasn’t ready for. I wasn’t ready for being unsuccessful on the road to being successful. I wasn’t ready for not being perfect from the start or having to learn from people “better than me”. At the start of my photography journey, I hated everything about who I was. So not being the best was a tough pill to swallow. I was after all just coming out of an excruciating trial that had convinced me that I was undeserving of success and that my failures would be my fault.

This is where it gets interesting. They were right in a sense. My failures would be my fault IF I didn’t allow them to fuel my fire. They would be my fault if I didn’t learn from them and work to get better. In order to do this though, I needed to first make a commitment to myself to LOVE me more. I fall into a really bad pattern of using work and busy-ness to cover up my pain. I found and still sometimes find myself using the method of having no time for ME to cope with things I really don’t want to face head on. Never having time for anything except work and constantly working towards being perfect in business allowed me to justify neglecting myself. BIG PROBLEM. When you do not provide the time in your business to work on you, your business will suffer! When I run into these patterns of “I’m so busy I can’t take care of me”, I become burnt out, agitated, I don’t respond to clients the same way I normally would, I find less creativity or passion in my work, I start being super critical of where I’m at and where I should be, and I’ve almost given up altogether more than a handful of times. It’s no secret that business is difficult, so what’s the point of making things harder on yourself by also not loving YOU first and foremost.

I use to struggle with thinking I was failing even at loving myself, until I changed my perspective and realized that it’s a process and long-term journey with no necessary ending. Also, the same amount of time that I suffered deep rooted trauma, would be required if not longer to heal and begin to appreciate and love myself again. Some of the following things are what I’ve implemented to ensure that I love myself, while I love my business:

  • Daily Affirmations
  • Meditation
  • Reflection/Journaling
  • 1 day a week for ME
  • With every critical comment/thought, I must follow up with something I admire about myself
  • Comparing my work from 2010 to 2019
  • Trying to envision who I am to those that love me
  • List making of everything Ive accomplished
  • Writing new goals
  • learning & understanding my capacity
  • being okay with telling people NO and not feeling obligated to do anything
  • restful sleeps, better eating and working out when I can
  • understanding that not everything needs to be achieved at once
  • not comparing my work to other photographers
  • giving back and helping other business owners when I can
  • being okay with moments of doing nothing
  • going with the flow

Self-love should definitely be a goal to continue working on/maintain while growing your business. It’s not only in the betterment of you, but also your business and clients/customers. Be mindful of when your allowing your past TRAUMA hold you back and be honest about how this is affecting your growth. Reflect on the areas of your life you are not happy with and jot down some solutions to change it. It might start with dealing with the TRAUMA that you’ve brushed under the rug and learned to live without worrying about. The reality is, it’s still there and THAT is probably the very thing that is indeed holding you back. It may feel like you’re over it, but are you really? Will refusing to face it help and heal you, or delay you on your journey towards being the best you & reaching your goals in business? How will this affect your interactions with your clients/business partners/staff? Do yourself the favour and HEAL! Your small habitual attempts at healing first, will in turn reflect in your ability to love yourself more. As someone once told me “go towards pain because that is when we grow the most”. Sometimes our trauma is manifested in fear. We often allow fear in business to become our justification for not making changes, taking a new path or trying something different. Understand that self-love doesn’t have an end to it. It’s a life long process that must go hand in hand with every entity of our everyday lives to be successful & healthy.

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