I‘ve heard people say that they think selfies are narcissistic, that people who do it are vain. I’d like to propose the idea in a different light. Selfies can be an expression of self-acceptance and self-love.
It takes a certain amount of courage to look at one’s self and to share it with others.
I think most people feel less inhibited when it’s just them and the camera. One can honestly be themselves and decide to share or delete the photo. It is the most honest way of expression because you are not being portrayed by someone else behind the camera.
I think people who don’t like to be photographed (my younger self included) are afraid of being seen, they mistrust how others might perceive them and fear criticism. They might also be afraid to look at themselves, in case they don’t like what they see. We live in an age of media, and images are retouched to appear more perfect than reality. One’s self-image can be tarnished by the feeling of not measuring up. We also live in a world of hyper-reality. Reality television and lifestyle blogs don’t always offer a realistic depiction.
Louise Hay is a spiritual teacher who suggests that you look at yourself in the mirror and tell yourself that you love yourself. I think selfies can be an extension of this exercise.
My work in making videos has shown me that actually getting used to looking at yourself is part of the self-acceptance process. I used to cringe at the idea of having to edit my own videos, to hear my voice and watch myself. But now I am totally ok with it. I also don’t care how “crazy” it might look to be filming myself.
I also think that people who might judge others who take selfies should also examine their own beliefs about this. Perhaps they are critical because they envy the courage that others have in being able to share openly about themselves.