I’m not quite sure what’s been going on lately, but I’ve seen MULTIPLE posts and comments over the last few weeks where people are dissing the art of the selfie.
Things like, “Ugh. So and so is posting ANOTHER selfie. She must be REALLY into herself.”
I even saw a post from someone I follow who went on about how she’s “never been that girl.” Never been the one to be “strikingly beautiful” or feel the need to post a selfie on social media.
When did it become a negative thing to post a picture of yourself?
Why is there this narcissistic connotation associated with feeling confident and beautiful in your own skin? I don’t care if you’re someone who likes to post pictures of your workout, your food, your clothes, your dog, your baby, YOURSELF.. if it makes you happy, why not share that with the world? Why do we tend to gravitate toward criticizing someone rather than uplifting them?
I spent the majority of my adolescence and early days into womanhood being TERRIFIED of myself and other people’s opinions of me. I desperately wish I could go back in time and change my perception, but at least I’m thankful to know now what I didn’t realize then.
Granted, I’m at the age where social media wasn’t a thing in High School. We were just on the cusp of all of that, and our biggest platform was AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). But even still, I never would have been caught dead taking a selfie. (Even though looking back I would have rocked it. Bangs and blue eyeliner and all). Not because I was “too good” for one, but because I didn’t feel good enough. Never would I have felt comfortable having a photo of me posted for the world to see, because with attention came ridicule.
Now, I see the world so differently. Which is odd, because if anything, I think as a whole society has gotten a little crueler. It’s just that these days, my skin is a little thicker. I understand now what’s important vs what’s minuscule in the grand scheme of things. I realize that it’s not anybody else’s place to tell me what makes me happy or how I should spend my time. That is solely up to me, and me alone.
It’s not up to anyone else to consider me beautiful, as long as I’m happy with who I am. And I also realize now that the age old saying that beauty radiates from the inside out, really is true. What makes someone beautiful is not just a physical appearance, but in how they treat others. People are like Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. The good stuff can be found on the inside.
I wasn’t planning on taking this post where it’s about to go next, but I feel like it met some cosmic fate. I was Googling ‘Selfies,’ like any good writer would.. gathering my research data before I posted, when I came across this article and project that was completed a few years back. A handful of middle school girls started what was called The Selfie Project; aimed at empowering girls and women to boost self esteem and teach contentment with who you are while celebrating everyone’s unique individuality.
They asked girls from various Girl Scout Troops to send them selfies, which they printed out on 11×14 sheets of paper and hung up for people to see. They then invited family, friends, and members of the community to come and participate in a night of selfie-viewing. They gave each person a pad of sticky notes, and everyone went around writing down comments about what they liked about the photos, and sticking underneath and around each corresponding picture.
Isn’t that concept so beautiful? Complete strangers spent their evening writing down compliments about someone else and posting it for all to see. No judgements. No condemnations. No hurtful comments. Just positive compliments.
If these young girls could see the value in lifting up someone else, why can’t we?
Selfies shouldn’t make you feel bad about yourself, or make you angry or annoyed when you see someone else’s. They should make you smile and offer a kind word. It doesn’t have to be a sole focus on the physical, but as a way of saying Hey World. This is me. Flaws and all. This is who I am, and I own it.
Selfies aren’t meant to change the world, but you know what will change the world? Kindness.
So my challenge to you today.. is to do TWO things:
- POST a selfie of your own! You can say anything you want about it, or nothing at all. But post the dang thing.
- Comment something POSITIVE on someone else’s selfie.
And last, but not least.. have a little fun already!
Natasha Funderburk is a wife, #boymom, NASM-Certified Personal Trainer, Certified Nutrition Consultant, and ACE-Behavior Change Specialist. When not watching her son play baseball, she can be found on various writing platforms, coaching her clients to live their best lives, drinking all the coffee, and conducting living-room dance parties.