Have you ever scrolled through your newsfeed and been annoyed with the constant selfies of the same people? Or perhaps you are guilty of posting a selfie each day of the year. Either way, selfies are leaving a prominent mark on the world.
On November 19, 2013, the slang word "selfie" was added to the Oxford dictionary that defined the word as: "a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website."
Today, if you search for "selfie" on Instagram, the number of posted photos exceeds 300 million, and that number continues to grow with each second.
There is even a stick dedicated to making snapping endless pictures of our faces easier.
In 2015, more people died from selfie-related accidents than shark attacks.
What will come next?
When did snapping photos of our faces become more important than the world around us? Why do we need validation of our self-esteem through the number of likes we get on each post? When did we begin disregarding the beauty that cannot be captured on film? Although selfies can be shared in a positive light, consider the following.
With each selfie you post, you may feel wonderful about your perfect hair or your flawless make-up, but you may be disregarding something far more important. Posting countless selfies only draws attention to your outer beauty. You may be beautiful, and that is wonderful, but your face is not you. Who you truly are and who you need to accept and love is the being within. Even if you get hundreds of likes on your selfie, you will always want more. Self-confidence comes from being comfortable with your personality and all of the inner qualities that make you who you are. When you are truly confident, why does it matter what anyone else has to say about you?
Most people want to feel good about who they are. Loving yourself is one of the best qualities you can possess. Unfortunately, the line between feeling confident and being self-centered is growing thinner by the day. Excessive selfies can distort you into someone who is vain and unpleasant. Your constant posts can imply to others that you are completely focused on vanity and looks rather than caring about others. Think before you show off your new shade of lipstick. No one wants to be accused of being narcissistic. Humble beauty is far more glamorous than vain beauty.
Believe it or not, scientists have linked excessive selfies with multiple mental health problems, including psychopathy, depression, narcissism, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Selfies have also been a factor in the increasing cases of eating disorders. Not to mention, selfie sticks have been banned from multiple theme parks and tourist locations for safety concerns.
If you are always focused on how the world perceives you, are you making time for your loved ones? Outer beauty is often first considered when beginning a relationship with someone, but physical appearance diminishes over time. If you only obsess about your looks and rely on them for love, your relationship will suffer in the future. A relationship should never be based on outward appearance. True love means caring more about another person than you do about yourself, and by taking picture after picture, your capacity of compassion and love for others may be pushed aside. After all, true beauty is not superficial, and neither is true love.
Not being able to go about each day without taking a selfie hinders our ability to live and enjoy the moment. How often do we see others glancing at beautiful things through a filter on a phone? People go to concerts only to record the act to watch later, when they could put their phones away and enjoy the show at the present time. What kind of logic is that? The same goes for selfies. Looking at yourself through a filtered screen prevents you from living in and enjoying the current moment. Being able to put your phone down and take in the world around you is what true freedom and happiness feels like. The only validation you need in life is your own.
Selfies are not all bad. Nothing is wrong with sharing your confidence or an occasional smile with social media. Selfies are only a problem when posting them becomes obsessive. All in all, be kind, be selfless, and above all, be confident about who you are inside. Do not rely on others' opinions to boost your confidence. Focus on your wonderful qualities and pleasing personality. True beauty lives in your crinkly eyes when you share a genuine smile, not from the amount of make-up on your face or product in your hair, and it cannot be captured in the most exquisite glamour shot. True beauty is being free from the opinion of others and loving yourself.
Chakell Wardleigh has a Bachelor of Arts in English. She spends her days silently (mostly) correcting others' grammar. She adores all things nerd, such as Harry Potter, Star Wars, Lord of the Rings, Shakespeare, and anything else that whisks her away from reality. She currently works as an editor for the FamilyShare team. You can usually find her with her nose in a book, laughing too loudly, or belting out songs from Hamilton.