Like many millennials, I spend more time on social media than anywhere else. As a serial selfie offender, my only excuse is overcoming a particularly awkward ten year puberty phase. However, it can be a fine line between celebrating your self confidence and becoming obsessed with how others see you. There’s nothing wrong documenting your life today, but when you stop depending on others validation of your selfies, the following incredible things will happen.
Sure, seeing a great picture of yourself is a short-term boost for your self image, but ultimately this boost is temporary. No matter what body type you have, a truly positive self image comes from valuing yourself for more than your looks – something that photographs rarely capture.
Too much social media is linked to a desire to dominate others, since one sees themselves above others. One way this inconsideration for others shows itself is through unilateral listening. This means someone only listens to others in order to negate or criticize what they’re saying. Obviously, such a practice is an unhealthy way to relate to others.
Since excessive social media use has also recently been linked as a factor in some mental conditions, it’s important to balance our interest in online media with reality in the offline world. Some studies suggest an obsession with selfies on social media could potentially be a factor in developing problems with depression, narcissistic personality disorder, and body dysmorphia, among others.
Similarly, an obsession with posting selfies can eventually be damaging to some relationships. Excessive social media use is linked to an increase in narcissism, which can make you selfish in your relationships. Remember that our appearances are only skin deep. Good looks are definitely temporary, and a good friend or significant other needs to have the personality to back it up. No relationship can be a healthy one if one person is too self obsessed to care about the other.
Similarly, depending on others positive reactions to your looks in order to feel worthy is a slippery slope. Since your self-worth should be independent of other people’s opinions of you, it really doesn’t matter if others find your pictures attractive or not. To be a complete and happy person, the only person who needs to find you valuable as you. By overly valuing others’ opinions of your selfies, you run the risk of redefining your self worth by how other see you.
Self confidence is another area that should not be affected by how others see you. If your confidence is dependent on positive comments and likes on your selfies, it will only take one negative or snarky remark to make you completely crumble. Each of us is truly unique with plenty to bring to the table, and no one should let others’ sarcasm or negativity affect how you see your personality and potential.
Freeing yourself from worrying about how others see you can be an excellent thing for your attitude. Again, by being too concerned with how others comment or react to our selfies, we give other people the power to control our mood and perceptions. Being more balanced about what we post, or taking a short break from posting selfies, can do wonders for putting you back in control of your attitude, confidence, and mood.
Not only does posting too many selfies overly emphasize others opinions of us, but caring only about your appearance can negatively skew your definition of beauty. It is fantastic to feel confident in photos, but if you start emphasizing your appearance over other qualities, you risk becoming overly superficial. Selfies are a fine addition to your social media presence, so long as you clearly value other things about yourself as well. Try to balance valuing looking good online with involvement in intelligent content, world events, science and technology developments, and concern for others in your social circles.
Additionally, growing more narcissistic can make you more prone to anger. Where negative comments used to have little impact on you, relying on others attention to define ourselves means that criticism hits much harder. Avoiding this tendency to over react to negativity is crucial in maintaining a healthy view of yourself.
The American Psychiatric Association cites taking more than three selfies a day as actual disorder. Whether or not you agree with this classification, one thing is for sure: taking pictures of yourself upwards of three times a day will undoubtedly interfere with your ability to live life in the moment. Remember that putting down your phone and experiencing a moment for what it is can be a freeing and powerful experience.
All in all, there is nothing wrong with sharing your confidence and body positivity with the world, but remember that who you are is much more than what is on the surface. Others opinions of your selfies should not have a significant impact on how you live your life, despite how engaging social media is. Everyone can appreciate someone who is selfless and caring, and these qualities are usually most apparent in people with a solid sense of self-confidence and self worth. Growing as a person and cultivating a healthy self-image is separate from the attention we get from others. Seeking a balance in your social media presence may seem challenging at first, but is a rewarding approach to these new and exciting ways to communicate.
Featured photo credit: Susanne Nilsson via flickr.com
Love this article? Share it with your friends on Facebook