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Why Selfies Do More Harm Than Good

Why Selfies Do More Harm Than Good

Guess one reason why aliens do not want to visit planet Earth. An obvious one is that the whole planet is addicted to posting selfies on the Internet, so aliens would hardly get a look in!

Yesterday morning, a major Italian daily newspaper, which is supposed to be a quality paper, published a selfie of the ex Pope Benedict XVI. It was taken by some visiting priest, no doubt. When I saw this, I knew it was time for me to leave the planet, but before I do, I must write this post on why selfies do more harm than good. At least, I will have achieved something during my earthly life.

Let us get the good out of the way. Good? Well, it shows that you can manage a smartphone or web camera. Then it gets you more likes and comments on your social network account. Finally, it shows everyone what you look like and no, it’s not really narcissism. Just blame it on Narcissus, ok? He started the whole trend a long time ago and he didn’t even have a smartphone.

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    But surely posting selfies is a perfectly innocent and worthwhile activity? Why not post a selfie of yourself, you and your friend, and you and your cat on Instagram? Well, if it is taken to excess, then it really is doing a lot of harm, just like smoking too many cigarettes or becoming an alcoholic or a workaholic. Here are 5 top reasons why it could get out of hand.

    1. Selfies create privacy risks.

    Facebook is using face recognition technology (DeepFace Project) already and some experts argue that this is illegal. It is alarming to think that Facebook processes 350 million photos every day. That is providing invaluable information for commercial and other types of exploitation.

    But law enforcement agencies such as the FBI may have access to all this data for identifying criminals and terrorists. But the new “faceprint” may soon be in use for ATMs and other useful purposes such as unlocking your iPhone and even paying by credit card.

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      The NSA have not been lagging behind either. Astonishingly, they can match satellite photos with any photos taken outside to identify the exact spot where that photo was taken. What about photographs taken indoors? Now, that is scary!

      Basically, the message is that anything you do or download on your computer leaves a digital trail.

      2. Selfies can cause an addiction.

      Trying to get that perfect selfie for your Instagram account? Don’t try too hard because it can get addictive and you may become obsessed. An extreme example is the story of Danny Bowman who ended up trying to commit suicide. The reason for his desperation? He just could not get that perfect selfie after trying for 10 hours a day. The average was about 200 selfies a day. His mother saved his life and he is now doing some rehabilitation. He is gradually learning to live without his iPhone.

      3. Selfies can damage real relationships.

      Did you know that your real friends can end up disliking you when you post too many selfies? It can damage friendships and relationships. This was the startling conclusion reached by researchers at Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh. They found that it negatively impacts levels of intimacy.

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        4. Posting too many selfies is not a disorder yet.

        Have you heard about the prank which some people played on the American Psychiatric Association? The pranksters posted a bulletin claiming than the new disorder was called “selfitis.” There were three stages in the disease which ranged from borderline (about 3 selfies a day) to chronic “selfitis” where you take photos of yourself all day and then post them at least six times a day. This went viral and people were getting worried. Once the dust settled, the joke was revealed.

        Well, it is not a disorder yet, but watch this space! The story of Danny Bowman is a little scary, quite honestly.

        5. Selfies place too much emphasis on physical appearance.

        Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could post photos of a person’s honesty, tolerance and kindness on Facebook? Not a snowball’s chance in hell. Yes, there is now even the bottom-selfie which is called the belfie. At the moment, everything is so physical and human values are getting shoved to the bottom (pardon the pun!) of the agenda.

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          But this craze may hide a tendency towards narcissm. In extreme cases, an emotional trauma usually involving a separation or abandonment occurs. The person constructs a sort of shield and his emotional age is blocked from when the traumatic event happened. He becomes totally absorbed with himself and is usually socially and emotionally isolated.

          Now, just in case you have any doubts, why not take the narcissist quiz here, instead of taking another selfie?

          Featured photo credit: #selfie/Alexandra Shertzer via flickr.com

          More by this author

          Robert Locke

          Author of Ziger the Tiger Stories, a health enthusiast specializing in relationships, life improvement and mental health.

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          Last Updated on February 15, 2019

          Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

          Why Is Goal Setting Important to a Truly Fulfilling Life?

          In Personal Development-speak, we are always talking about goals, outcomes, success, desires and dreams. In other words, all the stuff we want to do, achieve and create in our world.

          And while it’s important for us to know what we want to achieve (our goal), it’s also important for us to understand why we want to achieve it; the reason behind the goal or some would say, our real goal.

          Why is goal setting important?

          1. Your needs and desire will be fulfilled.

          Sometimes when we explore our “why”, (why we want to achieve a certain thing) we realize that our “what” (our goal) might not actually deliver us the thing (feeling, emotion, internal state) we’re really seeking.

          For example, the person who has a goal to lose weight in the belief that weight loss will bring them happiness, security, fulfillment, attention, popularity and the partner of their dreams. In this instance, their “what” is weight-loss and their “why” is happiness (etc.) and a partner.

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          Six months later, they have lost the weight (achieved their goal) but as is often the case, they’re not happier, not more secure, not more confident, not more fulfilled and in keeping with their miserable state, they have failed to attract their dream partner.

          After all, who wants to be with someone who’s miserable? They achieved their practical goal but still failed to have their needs met.

          So they set a goal to lose another ten pounds. And then another. And maybe just ten more. With the destructive and erroneous belief that if they can get thin enough, they’ll find their own personal nirvana. And we all know how that story ends.

          2. You’ll find out what truly motivates you

          The important thing in the process of constructing our best life is not necessarily what goals we set (what we think we want) but what motivates us towards those goals (what we really want).

          The sooner we begin to explore, identify and understand what motivates us towards certain achievements, acquisitions or outcomes (that is, we begin moving towards greater consciousness and self awareness), the sooner we will make better decisions for our life, set more intelligent (and dare I say, enlightened) goals and experience more fulfilment and less frustration.

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          We all know people who have achieved what they set out to, only to end up in the same place or worse (emotionally, psychologically, sociologically) because what they were chasing wasn’t really what they were needing.

          What we think we want will rarely provide us with what we actually need.

          3. Your state of mind will be a lot healthier

          We all set specific goals to achieve/acquire certain things (a job, a car, a partner, a better body, a bank balance, a title, a victory) because at some level, most of us believe (consciously or not) that the achievement of those goals will bring us what we really seek; joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

          Of course, setting practical, material and financial goals is an intelligent thing to do considering the world we live in and how that world works.

          But setting goals with an expectation that the achievement of certain things in our external, physical world will automatically create an internal state of peace, contentment, joy and total happiness is an unhealthy and unrealistic mindset to inhabit.

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          What you truly want and need

          Sometimes we need to look beyond the obvious (superficial) goals to discover and secure what we really want.

          Sadly, we live in a collective mindset which teaches that the prettiest and the wealthiest are the most successful.

          Some self-help frauds even teach this message. If you’re rich or pretty, you’re happy. If you’re both, you’re very happy. Pretty isn’t what we really want; it’s what we believe pretty will bring us. Same goes with money.

          When we cut through the hype, the jargon and the self-help mumbo jumbo, we all have the same basic goals, desires and needs:

          Joy, fulfilment, happiness, safety, peace, recognition, love, acceptance, respect, connection.

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          Nobody needs a mansion or a sport’s car but we all need love.

          Nobody needs massive pecs, six percent body-fat, a face lift or bigger breasts but we all need connection, acceptance and understanding.

          Nobody needs to be famous but we all need peace, calm, balance and happiness.

          The problem is, we live in a culture which teaches that one equals the other. If only we lived in a culture which taught that real success is far more about what’s happening in our internal environment, than our external one.

          It’s a commonly-held belief that we’re all very different and we all have different goals — whether short term or long term goals. But in many ways we’re not, and we don’t; we all want essentially the same things.

          Now all you have to do is see past the fraud and deception and find the right path.

          Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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