We’ve seen a fair share of selfie puns. The word itself makes me slightly cringe, but it’s a cringe you get used to.
As the rise of social media and its effects on culture have progressed in recent years, thus have the various trends and fads that pop up. One in particular that hasn’t left, and probably won’t any time soon, are selfies. It’s not like they never existed prior to this, but with those front-facing cameras with much higher quality than just a computer webcam, they have become synonymous with virtually every social media platform and website.
I mean, taking pictures of yourself has been around for quite some time. It just now seems to be an issue to some people about the number of these pictures others want to take, or what is “the norm” before you look conceited or full of yourself. Others assume those who take selfies just want attention and only care about their appearance.
I know people on every end of the spectrum. Some people will never post a picture of themselves in that context even if the world was ending. Other people just don’t really care and post selfies frequently. Heck, for some classmates from back home, that’s all they post online. And either way, I’m not about to judge them for their preferences.
Personally, I’m at a middle ground. I definitely have to be in the right mood and frame of mind to feel like taking a picture. Admittedly, I feel a tinge of satisfaction when other people like or comment nice things. I don’t rely on that completely, but it’s a nice little boost.
And this is coming from someone that has always loathed other people taking pictures of me. Why that is, I really don’t know because I’ve been hiding away from cameras my whole life. In recent years, I would say it’s more that seeing myself feels…weird. It’s hard to describe. I think we all wonder how other people see us, when our vision of ourselves can be so inaccurate. When the only time you see yourself is in a mirror or picture, how can it not be?
But this blindness to my own self of course goes back to body dysmorphia. I feel like I’m looking at a slightly familiar stranger. With a selfie, at least I can control how I want to look, even it takes twenty-million tries to find one picture I’m okay with. Key word: control. When somebody else is taking the shot, I have no idea how I might look or what angle it is or whatever else. Something so simple (and in the retrospect of everything, pointless) gives me an excessive amount of anxiety. I have this ideal image in my mind of how I want to look, and if any image goes against that, I really have to watch myself and my thoughts.
Selfies can easily become damaging. In my worst of times, I would rely on pictures of myself to try and judge how my body looked at that moment compared to previous times. Have I lost weight? Gained weight? Do I need to exercise or restrict? Even in middle school, I would take pictures of my face for the sheer opportunity to bash myself. It’s not like I even believed if others said my face wasn’t chubby or ugly. I was doing myself no favors. I was kicking myself when I was already down.
So I now tread a fine line, coming from the mindset I do. Is it still uncomfortable to ever think of accepting a compliment like a normal person? Absolutely. But I at least accept myself and am okay with how I look. I don’t put as much intense thought into it, and that in of itself is very freeing. And if I have the urge to switch to the front-facing camera, it’s because I’m having a good day and want to share it. That’s how it should be.
I think that if you have the self-love and confidence to share how great you look or feel with the world, go for it. That takes some guts. Just make sure your intentions are good. It should be for you, not to seek attention, whether it be positive or negative. Other people just don’t see the point in selfies at all, and that’s dandy, too. But don’t judge others who post them. Just let people live their lives and however they choose and whatever makes them happy.
You’ll never see me buying a selfie stick or even taking a selfie very often, but you will see me comment often on others’ selfies on how wonderful they look. Because everybody deserves that short moment of happiness. Instant gratification, sure, but gratification nonetheless. Might as well promote spread some support and positivity when I can, right?
Side note: please be cautious if you’re one to use editing software to manipulate your pictures. And for everybody else, just don’t take things too seriously. Social media is driven by the need to create the most desirable image possible, which is so surface-level. A picture may be worth a thousand words, but those thousand words don’t say much about what’s going on behind the scenes. Your thoughts create your perception which creates your reality. Choose those thoughts wisely.
Take care, and keep the faith. -Allie