The hidden danger of selfies
We all are guilty of having taken at least one or two selfies in our lives, and let’s be honest, it is fun.
I am not talking about those self-obsessed people that post at least 10 selfies a day – if not more – on Instagram and social media. I am talking about the ones we all do with our friends, and when we are ready to go out. I am talking about those innocent selfies we take in special occasions. They are not so many, in fact, but enough to make us think of buying one of those selfie-sticks to use with family and friends.
It seems all very innocent and fun, but what happens to our self image?
Selfie Obsessed? Not me!
Of course it is not you, however, probably you enjoy the occasional selfie when your make up is right, and your face looks just great.
Nobody will ever take a selfie first thing in the morning without make up and with messy hair unless it is a competition that goes viral. Like the “no make up challenge” popular about a year ago. In that case we can all be part of a community, and also it is for a good cause.
Normally you would be horrified, but in that circumstance you and your friend can all had a laugh on how you look in those kind of selfies.
There’s nothing inherently wrong with selfies, and it does not necessarily mean that we are self-obsessed, but it can play with our mind in a subtle and negative way.
Are selfie and photo shoots the same?
It may sound strange, but taking selfies is not so much about loving ourselves or being blatantly vain, it is about being in control. When we take a selfie, we are in total control of our image. That means that we take our phone when we are at our best, we feel right and we do it. You get the angle right, choose the moment, the right smile, and retake it until it looks how you like it. It seems like a very innocent act, does not it? Someone could argue that selfies and photo shoots are the same thing. It is about being prepared to look at your best and then your pictures are taken. Actually, selfies and photo shoots are a very different matter. And I would not argue about the quality of the camera, of the images or anything of that sort.
So, what’s is the difference between selfies and photo shoots?
To us, taking a selfie and being photographed by someone else is the same difference there is in having sex or masturbating. When you pay someone else to take pictures of you, you need to trust that other someone with your image. You have to release control and let who photographs you take over. You cannot decide the angle, the moment, or see the type of smile you are making, and the results may be surprising.
By being photographed by someone else you have the unique opportunity to see yourself as others see you. You can discover some amazing sides of you that you did not see before. You can discover the beauty of softness or strength you did not know was there in your eyes. It is an opportunity to make peace with some parts of you, and to fall in love with yourself again.
There is also the risk that you are not going to like all of you, but that’s ok. We all have that. There is no person I know that does not have got their own hangups, including me.
The real issue is that selfies feed your need of control over your image, and that can play negatively with your perception of your body. If you are used to taking selfies, normally you take it from an angle just above your head looking in camera so that there are no heavy chins and no flabby stomachs to worry about. But is that the whole and real you? It is just the part you decide you want to see. What is it going to happen when you will see a picture of you from a different angle? Most probably, you will not recognise yourself.
One of our main beliefs is that confidence is beautiful. For us, there is nothing more attractive than that, in any person. Confidence for us is being aware of who you are, and being ok with that. It is a journey, and so not every day you are going to love all of you, but mainly you are comfortable in your own skin. When you are in front of someone else, they see you, not from an angle, but from all possible angles. You cannot decide for them how they are going to see you, because human interaction does not work that way.
The danger of selfies is that it subtly distorts the image of you in your mind, to end up accepting and loving mainly the one you see in the selfies.
Being confident means being ok with being vulnerable, exactly as you do when you pay someone else to take your pictures, or when you enter any relationships with someone else. The decision is up to you, but remember that to really embrace who you are, you need to love most of you, being vulnerable, and let go of control. Because this is what makes us wonderfully unique human beings.
So, what is your life going to be, a selfie or a photo?