Although selfies have become more and more popular over the past few years, often they still have a somewhat negative connotation. If you take a selfie or even worse, publish it on social media afterwards, surely you must be an attention seeking, desperate person. I must admit, I thought this to be true as well for a long time. Until I started taking selfies myself. It’s even one of my goals to take a selfie each month. And my reason for making it my goal was anything but self-absorption. Sure, sometimes the prejudice is true and a particular selfie does fall in the category ‘Desperate need for attention’, but lots of them actually portray a much more positive message. Let’s look at three of these great reasons for taking selfies.
I’m having the time of my life and I want to remember this moment forever
Sometimes it’s just this simple. Let’s face it, this is why most people take pictures in the first place, right? Maybe you’re on vacation or on a day trip. The environment is beautiful, the sun is shining and you feel happy. Or you are having an awesome dinner with your partner. Or maybe your cat snuggled up on your chest and is giving you the sweetest cuddle ever. All precious moments that deserve to be cherished forever. The perfect moment to take a picture. The only thing is, there’s no-one there to actually take that picture. Or maybe you are just not that comfortable handing over your expensive camera to a complete stranger. Or perhaps you just wanna make sure the Eiffel Tower is actually visible next to you, instead of sprouting from your head (you never know which photographic skills your random stranger
So you shoot the picture yourself. Your phone will always be there in these precious moments and you are probably the most trustworthy person you know. If you were too proud to take that selfie, your memory would have been saved in your head only and sometimes even would have been forgotten altogether. But by taking a selfie, you gave yourself a memory that lasts forever.
I am looking awesome today and I want to remember that
Sadly this world is filled with self-negativity and low self-esteem. It’s being encouraged even! If you are pleased with the way you look, or are proud of something you’ve accomplished, it’s considered bragging. In the meantime, people (especially girls) are trying to compete with the perfect photo-shopped or botoxed celebrities they see in magazines each day. The perfect recipe for feelings of insecurity and inferiority.
Until one day you look in the mirror and think: ‘Hey, I don’t look half bad today. Actually, I look pretty darn good. My hair is doing exactly what I want and finally I managed to create those smokey eyes without smearing the pencil up to my eyebrows.’ In this world of feeling imperfect all the time, I think it’s perfectly acceptable to capture those few moments were you do feel beautiful and on top of the world. And why not share it with the world? Why should we be punished for feeling good about ourselves? I believe it should be encouraged!
I feel insecure about myself and I want to learn to feel beautiful
But what if you don’t have those days of feeling beautiful at all? What if you constantly think you’re too ugly for this world? That’s a sad thought! Nobody should feel this way, right? Yet this is exactly how many people (again, girls?) are feeling. In fact, this is how I have been feeling for a very long time. I wasn’t happy with my body. When I looked into the mirror, I could only see a fat cow staring back at me. And by calling my image names like that, I would drag myself down even further. I did not see the sparkles in my eyes others would see, as I would never have these sparkles while looking in the mirror. I would never see the beautiful smile other people loved so much, because why would I smile at a reflection I hated so much?
This was my reason to start taking selfies, and in my opinion it’s the most beautiful reasons of all. I wanted to stop feeling all negative about myself. I wanted to have at least one moment each month where I would be able to say: ‘Wow Tanya, you actually look pretty good now.’ So the monthly selfies became a thing. In the first selfie I took I hid behind a mask. I did this on purpose, as a symbol of the journey I would take. But by doing this, I noticed how true this image was for me. I had been hiding behind a mask for a very long time. This mask was not visible for others, only for me. It was a mask of insecurity and sadness. An ugly mask. I’d had it on for so long, I didn’t even know how I looked without it anymore.
But then I started smiling. I put on my prettiest clothes and put a effort into doing my hair and make-up. Kind of like you would if you were preparing for your first date. And then I just took my camera and smiled. Not only with my mouth, but with my eyes as well. I smiled at the camera the way I would smile at my friends. And you know what? I started liking myself a lot better! I can now look into the mirror and say: ‘Tanya, you look pretty today!’ My selfies were intended to give me self-esteem. Not by seeking attention and approval of others, but by being able to see the beauty in myself. No therapist would ever have been able to give me this positive feeling about myself by just putting me on a sofa and talking.
Reacting on selfies
So next time you see a selfie on social media, please remind yourself this person probably felt good about themselves that day, or that they made a memory that they wanted to last forever. Don’t take that away please with nasty comments about that selfie. There are enough insecurities in the world already. We don’t need to create more of that. Let’s celebrate the positivity instead.
This month’s selfie
My selfie of this month is actually a combination of all three reasons above. I started this whole challenge because I wanted to feel better about myself (#3). I am happy to say I do feel so much less insecure about myself these days. On this particular day I had a video shoot with my theater group. We had to look as if we were going to a party (#2, although the scarf hides my dress and the wind messed with my hair, but who cares). We did our shooting at the beach (nothing fancy, just a small patch of sand near the river, but still a very nice spot). It was a fun day, with great company and lots of laughter. A day to be remembered (#1).
Can you relate to one of these reasons for taking selfies? Or are your reasons for taking them completely different? Maybe you’re not a selfie person at all. Let me know in the comments!