The Selfie …. you see it everywhere, people taking pictures of themselves on their smart phones. I’m not talking about group shots or with a friend, I’m talking about a solo picture of yourself. Why do people like to take selfies today? Is it harmless fun or a sign of a deeper issue?
Back in the day, if you wanted a picture of yourself, you had to ask someone to take it with a camera. Rarely did this happen because it was simply too embarrassing or just felt weird. I suppose if you were alone on vacation, you might conjure up the courage and ask someone, but beyond that self-photos never happened.
Today, you don’t need to ask anyone for help. You can shoot away without any inhibitions or embarrassment and take as many selfies as the memory on your phone will allow. Why the change? Why now the obsession with self-photos? What does this reveal about us individually or as a culture?
A Selfie Reveals You’re Into You
Stop and think about it for a moment. If you are taking multiple pictures of yourself, this highlights where you are placing your value. If you take multiple pictures of your child, car or pet, this highlights your value system. So when you take pictures of yourself, you are highlighting it’s all about you. This also means that the more selfies you take, the more it’s about you, which of course is where narcissism kicks in.
In an article published by Psychology Today, Dr. Peggy Drexler says, “There’s a sense that selfie subjects feel as though they’re starring in their own reality shows, with an inflated sense of self that allows them to believe their friends or followers are interested… It’s like looking in the mirror all day long and letting others see you do it.”
Now I realize this may seem a bit extreme, but it’s what psychologists are concluding after multiple studies and surveys. Or to put it another way, all of us would agree that having self-portraits on the walls of your home is a bit narcissistic. But yet we put them up on our virtual social media walls all day long. What is the difference? And if the selfie is symptomatic of a growing narcissistic trend in our culture, where will we be in the next 20 years (see my blog post, Are You Raising a Narcissistic Brat)?
Try to Include Others in the Picture
Scripture says, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests, but also to the interests of others.” Philippians 2:3-4
From a Christian perspective, the selfie also raises some spiritual concerns. Christians are called to walk in humility and value others more than themselves. This means we must resist the sinful temptations of being self-serving and instead serve others. From a selfie standpoint, this means we need to include others in the picture. It isn’t so much about a selfie as it is what it reveals about your focus and attention. When you include others in the picture, you are saying it’s not all about you. In effect, you’re keeping narcissism and self-obsession in check.
So the next time you stretch out your arm to snap that perfect self-photo for others to “enjoy”, stop and think about what you are really doing.
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