I’m sure you’ve seen the article ‘Scientists Link Selfies to Narcissism’ that was making the rounds on Facebook recently. I’m sure that quite a few of your friends shared it as well, maybe with a comment like; “I know a few people!” or, “Big surprise! Lol!” in the post. Maybe you laughed along with them and shared it yourself, despite the fact that a quick glance through your own Facebook would reveal a fair share of Selfies. Or maybe like me, you raised an eyebrow and leaned back in your chair. Narcissism? Really? That’s where we’re going with this?
Let’s take a second to talk about what narcissism actually is. First and foremost, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is classified as a mental illness. There’s nothing to be flippant about here. Either you have one of the three dark triadic personality traits or you don’t (fun fact: the other two are psychopathy and Machiavellianism, just so you can get a feel for how serious it is). Narcissists display many traits that cause serious problems in their relationships with others and themselves, just a few of them being:
– Difficulty with empathy
– Using people
– Denial of remorse and gratitude
– Inability to view the world from the perspective of others
– A lack of psychological awareness
– Problems with distinguishing the self from others
If you’re reading this and thinking; “Wow, sounds like me.” then I suggest seeing a therapist. If not, congratulations, you’re one of millions of perfectly average human beings who are suffering from what I like to call ‘Living In The 21st Century’ and make up the demographic of that insulting article. If you take a photo of yourself throughout the day (or, hell, a few) you aren’t in need of therapy or medication. You’re someone who has a Facebook account, which as of today, 1.2 billion people also have.
I often hear people say things like; “I can’t stand my News Feed sometimes, it’s just stupid selfies or pictures of food or babies! So annoying.” and I feel like asking these people; “Then why are you friends with this person?”. If seeing photo’s of a friends day to day life, such as a picture of a meal, their child or pet, or them showing off a new outfit or smiling for the camera annoys you that badly, then perhaps you need to re-evaluate if social media is right for you…or if you even like said person. Facebook has a multitude of purposes, such as sharing videos or news articles, keeping in touch, chatting, etc. But anyone who has spent even a short amount of time browsing realizes that it’s main use is to share things about ourselves. The mundane and the trivial, sure, but these little things are what make up our daily lives. Some of us are lucky enough to spend it travelling the world and posting exotic, adventurous photo’s and status updates about swimming with sharks and doing volcano walks, but most of us are just standing in line at Starbucks or changing diapers or going through our 9 to 5. And that’s easily identifiable among the masses.
Another popular meme is ‘Remember when we were kids how we would take photo’s of our meals and then rush the film to the photo lab to get it developed so that we could show the pictures to everyone? Me neither.’ Yes, hilarious! Do you know what else I don’t remember about being a kid? Having a slim, powerful device with a built in camera that could do my taxes, call a taxi and gather any information I needed by simply asking it, in my pocket at all times. This is attributed to what is called ‘advancements in civilization’, people! Technology changes the world in drastic ways. Some of us remember how TV’s changed things – families started to spend more time inside. Then the Internet came along and things have changed more than we could have foreseen. 90% of American’s own a smart phone – that is an enormous number. These phones have fast, powerful, front-facing cameras that are capable of video recording as well, and they are kept on your person at nearly all times. This has lead to an entirely new societal lifestyle in which photographs are the star. Gone are the days of lugging around your clunky, heavy beast of a camera that needed to have it’s film brought in to a lab to be developed. Now we can take an unlimited amount of photo’s at the touch of a button, edit and delete them with a multitude of amazing tools! So is it really so strange that this would lead to people taking photographs of themselves, and sharing them on a platform that is essentially the new ‘playground’ of our generation?
On a regular day, I experience dozens of moments that I don’t want to share with anyone. Moments where I pass a mirror and think; “Oh, ew”. Moments where I feel angry, stupid, embarrassed, or sad. Moments where I think my hair looks terrible, or I feel sick, or I hate the way my clothes look on me. Everyone has these. It’s part of the human condition.
But then I have those moments where I think; “Damn girl!”. I love the way I did my eyeliner. My outfit is really adorable! I am really loving these earrings. These shoes are AWESOME. I’m proud of this drawing! And these moments make me feel happy, and good about myself. I want to share them – and here’s the part that Selfie Haters don’t get – because IT MAKES ME FEEL GOOD. It isn’t driven by some egotistical burning need for acceptance, or to bask in the warm glow of comments and Likes. It isn’t because I’m obsessed with myself, or vain, or desperate for attention.
Kindness is in short supply in this world, and it should be spread everywhere. It can absolutely make someone’s day to tell them that you appreciated their service at a restaurant, or in line at their cashier station. I love my friends, and I want them to do things that make them happy. If you love your dog, your kids, your truck, post photo’s of them! Blog about it! Gush about it in a status! If you’re in a great relationship, be happy about that shit! The last thing you should be thinking about are the miserable, critical frenemies who think it’s annoying. If they make fun of you, or make a comment about how many photo’s of your baby you posted that day, tell them to fuck off. Or if you’re a nicer person than I am, give them a good bit of advice and let them in on a little thing called the Unfollow button. It’s really quite easy.
So the next time you’re worried about looking vain when you want to post a Selfie, stop. Look at how awesome you are! You’re a great person, not without fault, and there’s nothing wrong with feeling good about yourself. Post a Selfie. I promise you that your real friends and fans will be happy you did.