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Don’t let ‘selfies’ define your self-worth

Fri, 08/08/2014 - 9:49am
A.J. Watts, Editorial Intern

Oxford dictionary recently added the word selfie, and defines it as, “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”  

Don’t get me wrong: I like taking an occasional selfie every once in a while. Everyone likes to use their front camera when there isn’t a nearby mirror, just to check themselves out a little bit from time to time. There is absolutely nothing wrong with a selfie, but people are getting a little carried away with these DIY pictures.

If you’re on social media, especially Instagram, everyone has that one friend who is obsessed with uploading selfies several times a day. You scroll down your newsfeed or timeline, and all you see is the same person, in the same pose, with the same exact facial expression. I almost feel exhausted for them at times.

Kelley Ott, a counselor at the HOPE Center said “selfies may be an outward expression of a person's existing self-esteem issues or feelings that they are not good enough. Some young people who post selfies are seeking attention, positive feedback, and social validation. Certain insecurities make them vulnerable and lead them to rely too heavily on the response of others.”

Ott said, “It is more dangerous for teenagers who are still developing their identity because often times posting what you believe is the perfect picture of yourself can lead to more negative thoughts if you don't get the positive feedback you are seeking.” Once again, there is absolutely nothing wrong with taking selfies, but there is a fine line between taking them and living for them.

Even when most of us choose a new Facebook or Twitter profile picture, it becomes a serious process. These actions seem harmless, but they build up over time to create forms of unnecessary self-consciousness and a false sense of confidence. Instead of being okay with who we are no matter what, we attempt to find the right picture with all of the perfect details and features. The more likes we get on social media sites, the happier we feel. Is this maintainable? Basing our happiness on our profile picture or selfie picture performance?

The addiction doesn’t only apply to teenage girls. Guys and also adults struggle with trying to capture the perfect selfie.  Huffington Post reports, “Danny Bowman, a 19-year-old Englishman, who had been diagnosed with body dysmorphic disorder and obsessive compulsive disorder, developed a selfie addiction in which he took up to 200 photos of himself a day. He even became suicidal.”

That case is rather extreme, but many people can’t go a day without uploading tons of selfies, and they may actually be crying out for help. Just remember: Social media is an awesome tool, but looks aren’t everything. So don’t base your self-worth on a picture that really means nothing. Your self-worth is measured by your actions and how you live your life.  

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