Henri Nowen on The Greatest Trap in Our Lives

POSTED IN : Casa de Youngren, Sweet and Sour

“Over the years, I have come to realize that the greatest trap in our life is not success, popularity, or power, but self-rejection. Success, popularity, and power can indeed present a great temptation, but their seductive quality often comes from the way they are part of the much larger temptation to self-rejection. When we have come to believe in the voices that call us worthless and unlovable, then success, popularity, and power are easily perceived as attractive solutions. The real trap, however, is self-rejection. As soon as someone accuses me or criticizes me, as soon as I am rejected, left alone, or abandoned, I find myself thinking, ‘Well, that proves once again that I am a nobody.’ … [My dark side says,] I am no good… I deserve to be pushed aside, forgotten, rejected, and abandoned. Self-rejection is the greatest enemy of the spiritual life because it contradicts the sacred voice that calls us the ‘Beloved.’ Being the Beloved constitutes the core truth of our existence.” -Henri Nowen

You have no idea, dear bloggy-blog, how true this statement is for me right now. Our time in San Francisco has been less about dreams and more about my figuring out how to dream. How to give myself permission to dream.

I’m not gonna lie. It’s been an emotional ride for me. And even though our San Fran adventures may come across as amazing and glamorous, for the writer/photographer inside of me it’s been more like sandpaper – the rough edges of this city wearing away my tough layers, exposing the self-rejection that plagues my inner workings. I love this city, and Jeff and I are eating, exploring, and working our way through it’s streets and coffeehouses, but all of this time away from home that we’ve given ourselves to think and reflect has only lead me back into myself.

And that’s a hard thing for me, dear bloggy-blog. Coming face to face with the dark corners of ME has never been a very delightful experience…

I know I just wrote about how he’s the Honey Badger of self-confidence, but I have to seriously give a huge shout out to my hubby and best friend, Jeff Youngren. He’s my rock. And if the last few days have been any indication, he’s a rock to a lot of people. Watching so many folks turn to him in their hour of need (including myself) has made me more proud of him than ever. He’s a steady mind, a comforting soul, and a warm shield against the storms of life.

After a few days of beating myself down, wearing myself out, and just plain driving myself crazy from trying to keep up with my own ridiculous benchmarks of success, popularity, and power, Jeff took me by the hand, lead me to the Cheesecake Factory in Union Square, and bought me anything I wanted on the menu (don’t judge – CF is my guilty pleasure). Over a ginormous piece of Tiramisu cheesecake (and a pile of lactose pills), we talked. And there’s something so magical about Jeff’s confidence. His unwavering belief in us.

Because it’s UNWAVERING. You’d think the guy would feel an inch of doubt every so often. But no. He’s a Honey Badger – he always believes and he always knows. And if someone doesn’t like it, well then he just don’t care. And that pretty much makes me the luckiest doubting, self-rejecting writer/photographer in the city.


Welcome! We’re Jeff & Erin.

It’s our job to help you slow down and experience every moment of your wedding day – because we believe that it should be savored from top to bottom.

We’re Jeff & Erin Youngren, a hubby & wifey wedding photography team that believes timeless trumps trendy, life is best done together, and tears, hugs, & high fives should never be held back.

We consider our couples part of our family – and we cannot wait to meet you!

Start Here


About Us

We're Jeff & Erin

We’re Jeff and Erin Youngren, and we believe running a business should be life-giving (not soul-sucking). So we’re passionate about teaching other photographers to run life-giving businesses and book clients they absolutely love.  

For 15 years, we’ve photographed weddings all over the world as a hubby & wifey team, but we’ve also grown a multi-brand photography studio in San Diego, CA. 

New Here? Start with these posts!