The rise of the selfie and the loss of true identity….

The rise of the selfie. (Or was it always like this and we simply haven’t noticed?) Something has changed and that’s for sure. We are all so used to celebrities tweeting selfies now and it seems to be everywhere! Narcissus is alive and well it seems. Perhaps he would have some good advice to share with people who are so obviously obsessed with the outward appearance of things. (Not that it should have any real consequence). It does though…and the consequences are not good in my view.

It isn’t that people are taking selfies that concerns me really. It is the fact that people seem to be unnaturally preoccupied with how they look and come across to others. We can all have a profile picture on Facebook – it looks fine, you look ok, it shows the world what you look like – fine. Job done! That is nothing unusual. The selfie is something else altogether I think. Beyond a normal picture. Another league of infatuation which is proving very unhealthy.

What does a selfie reveal about you? Your physical appearance. As is the case in any photograph. The selfie is simply a product of living in a very narcissistic society and it is getting to the point where people are losing real perspective in relation to who they really are. Taking a selfie is like staring at your own reflection over and over again in a pool of water. Just like Narcissus, we are wasting away in our own perception of what we think is beautiful and acceptable. Thinking and knowing…two entirely different things.

How we think we come across, how we want to come across and how we come across to others are entirely different things. The perfect image. Again, it is all about you. Yourself. Where you are, what you’re doing and how and you’re doing it. Look at me. It feels to me like it is almost some kind of warped bid for attention. Needy, desperate and a little bit shallow…

Beauty is only skin deep with the selfie. Hardly an accurate representation of who we really are. There is so much beauty in the world but we are missing it because we are so obsessed with ourselves and how we look. We are missing out on the beauty of life due to our obsessive behaviour in relation to our appearance. Appearances mean nothing.We are contributors to our own demise as far as creating a healthy acceptance of ourselves is concerned. Why do we feel we need this approval from others via a digital self-portrait? The birth of the selfie goes much deeper into revealing just how self-centered and focused we are on detail that really is completely irrelevant!

So – our basic identity is now focused around…

a) Where we are in the selfie…
b) Who we’re with…
c) What we’re doing…

Hooked on looks…not a normal photograph.

What about taking photographs of things that are actually interesting? You don’t have to be in it. We know that you are in the area because you are in fact taking a picture of it…that one we can work out. I can understand a group photo. It is nice to look back on good times and you want to remember who you are sharing that experience with. People you enjoy being with and care about perhaps. It is fine to have someone take a picture of you somewhere as well. You want to look back on the time you spent somewhere. Again, that is healthier than taking continual selfies. Publicising yourself all over the web should not be what taking a photo is all about.

What is the aim of it? There seems to be no better advertisement for low self-esteem anywhere in the world…Stop taking selfies and just..be yourself! You have enough validity and self-worth on your own without needing to do selfies all the time…

Success and happiness can walk hand in hand if you let them. You don’t need the approval of other people. Approve of yourself and that is enough. There is no such thing as perfection and the true depth of who you are cannot be reflected in an image alone. You are human. You make mistakes. The selfie will not allow any of that to be seen. Some of the most beautiful pictures taken in life are those that capture the true essence of beauty which encompasses fragility, weakness, ill health, old age, etc. the list goes on and on.

Beauty has no definition and category whatsoever. Where there is true beauty, you may also find truth if you look very closely…

© Christina McDonald 2014

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