selfie

The first time I posted a selfie on Instagram, I didn’t think twice about it. I looked good when I took it (or so I thought), and we all post photos of ourselves when we look good … right? After all, I can’t count the number of times I’ve scrolled through Instagram’s home reel and viewed nothing but photo after photo of friends showing off new haircuts, drinking coffee, or even driving.

Our culture is obsessed with selfies.

Despite their widespread prevalence, however, what real reason do we have for posting them? Are we just seeking validation? Soon after I posted that first selfie, friends began commenting on it, posting their compliments and kind words. As nice as their intentions were, however, it occurred to me that each comment was focused on how I looked in the photo, not on who I am. With this realization, I was filled with self-consciousness. I felt both vain and superficial. Do I even look like that in real life? What if it’s just the tilt of the camera or the filter that make me appear beautiful to others?

Since this experience, I’ve become much more conscious of the image I project on social media. Before posting a picture, for example, I now ask whether I am just seeking approval or whether I have a better reason to share. I want to make sure that what I am presenting is an honest and authentic representation of who I am, not some watered-down, edited, online version. Often, the things we beat ourselves up about — laugh lines, cellulite, etc. — are real, beautiful and lovable. They are marks of our humanity — how we’ve lived, loved and found joy.

Isn’t it time we start embracing our whole selves, flaws and all? What makes us beautiful lies not in our outward appearance, but in our hearts and what comes out of those hearts. Shouldn’t we therefore seek to share more of what fills us up and inspires us?

If I ever post another a selfie, I hope that it will depict a genuine reflection and be colored with love and value. I also hope that being more genuine online will help me become more authentic in person. It doesn’t take much to be kind and encouraging through our posts and comments on social media, but let’s never forget the importance of speaking those same words of love and encouragement in person as well.

As Mother Theresa’s words remind us,

Honesty and transparency make you vulnerable. Be honest and transparent anyway.

How can you be more authentic and transparent in your online self? Is this a struggle for you?

Image via Mackenzie Rouse


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9 comments

  1. My problem with selfies is that I just want to experience and don’t want everyone to see or know. Selfies and online communication can let unwanted people in on my life. I guess I could set it all to private but it just feels like society is salivating over my personal experiences.

  2. I’ve stuck to one selfie rule since I received my first Polaroid camera as a child: Only snap if it I already feel amazing. Selfies are less about convincing myself I look beautiful, but capturing those moments in time when my confidence is already sky high. That means my selfies are rare, because I struggle with self-confidence, but I have found that I also go back to those selfies and remind myself about what was going well in those moments and try to recreate it. I consider them milestones in their own right, but I don’t myself to get too snap-happy. In that way, I keep my selfies-and myself-genuine.

  3. I sometimes worry about this too, but I also wonder the other side of this – what if our culture of selfies is about showing some more vulnerability? Putting a face to our words instead of hiding behind a glowing screen? I definitely agree, there are problems with only ever showing a perfectly filtered face – but what if we strive for a balance of the two? Owning ourselves and our vulnerability with a selfie?

  4. I am so inspired by this piece to truly rethink how I will begin presenting myself to the world. Its kind of easy to forget in a world filled with so many social media platforms, that you have to take a step back and remember that it’s not all about how you look. I feel like presenting yourself as you are make your followers truly feel like the could know you. You become a human being through the computer/phone screen.

    really awesome article. following 😀

  5. This is a really brilliant piece. So thoughtful. As a blogger, I try hard to make the things in my life beautiful for my own enjoyment and not just for the instagram picture or the illusion that I have my shit together way more than I do.

    Despite my best intentions, it’s not always easy to remember that though. I love your point “am I looking for validation or have something genuine to share”.

    Thanks for this! I’ll be paying closer attention for sure!

  6. Lovely article – there are so many things wrong with the superficial perceptions society has begun to accept, and this brings it all back down to earth. Especially your thought on some “flaws” we have – they are, as you say, a beautiful part of humanity. A filter and make-up only takes you so far.Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  7. Thank you for a beautiful article, Amy. I often try to portray my best self online, but authenticity online can mean a lot since it is so rare. It is definitely something I would like to work towards. Kindness can go a long way on the Internet.

  8. This is quite a thought provoking article. I definitely try to only portray my best side online, being more authentic is a valuable goal to set for this year…

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