why you’re worth more than the perfect selfie

I’ll admit it. I’ve done the selfie thing.

Sit in the car or at the table, get the kids behind, look up and smile. Try again. One of them was looking away. Try again. The shadow on my face was wrong. Again. And again. And again.

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There’s this article about restaurant turnover time in the last ten years and that it’s an hour longer due to our phone use. Part of the time? It’s the group pic. Taken again and again.

But the selfie?

It’s got me thinking.

Why do I post selfies? Why does anyone post selfies? Or a stream of selfies?

It’s so different than pics of my kids. Or the sunrise. Or birthdays together. Holidays. You with your diploma. You with your family. You at Disneyworld.  Or something interesting. This isn’t about those pics that celebrate life and moments and friends together. This is different.

Sometimes I think selfies seem to be the need to be needed.

Put a selfie up and get likes, comments, love, and attention from others online. Get others to look at you. Get others to tell you that you look great. Or insert whatever comment the selfie is trying to create.

I realized that in some ways it was like a need to try to validate self.

I went and browsed Facebook and saw pic after pic after pic. They seemed to scream –  Look at me. Look how wonderful I am. Or how sexy. Or how beautiful. Happy. Laughing. And insert whatever reason anyone has for posting a flood of selfies.

Now, I’m not saying they’re intrinsically bad. That’s not my thing.

What is the intent behind a stream of self picture after self picture after self picture? Is it about sharing you with the world? Or is it a need for attention?

It’s an interesting dichotomy, honestly. We live in a world where we celebrate the power of self. We look at those who overcome and push through and carry on. And yet, yet there is this trend of needing to spend time taking pictures of ourselves and then putting them up. Instead of just being together we now have the need to selfie our time together to share with everyone. Get in the car with friends and snap a picture and post it. Lay suntanning and look at the sky and take a picture. Make duck faces together and post. Give the sexy look and post.

[Tweet “The selfie question really becomes – for who?”]

Humbly, at least that is what I realized about me. I realized that sometimes I was putting selfies up so that I would temporarily feel good about me. Do others really care that I’m in the car or all of that? Do they need to see pics of me with the kids smiling again and again? Do I want worth based on likes on a picture that has a filter over it? What do I want my daughters to know about selfies? What do I want my sons to know about selfies?

I want them to realize that most times selfies aren’t a reflection of self. I want them to realize that sometimes it’s a zillion shots to get the perfect selfie.

I don’t want my girls to think that they need to take pic after pic after pic of themselves and base their worth on trying to look sexy, beautiful, provocative, crazy, and all of that. Their worth, your worth, isn’t based on a 2 second shot that is instagrammed and put online.

Your worth is about the things you do, how hard you try, and just being you. Not how you look.

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We all grow old. We’re going to remember moments, places, and things we do. Probably not the perfect selfie shot.

So for the selfie loving me and world and culture – I don’t know the answer. I know that I’ve read articles about the more selfies one puts up the more unrelatable and unlikeable that person is perceived. Isn’t that crazy? Instead of creating connections with others the constant stream of selfies is actually distancing the selfie taker from others.

Does it mean to stop taking selfies? I don’t think so. In fact – no. That’s not the answer. I think it’s fun with friends to take that pic together. You run a race and hit the finish line and celebrate. Your with your love. You conquered a dream. Your sharing your work. It’s Father’s Day and your with your dad. Your kindergartener just won an award.  One of my favorite selfies is of me in Haiti surrounded by Haitian children. Or of me with my daughter after she shot a wedding.  Sometimes this is how I get in the pic with my kids. But pic after pic after pic after pic?? Maybe that’s where you step back, reflect, and ask yourself why you need that picture shared.

For me it was trying to fill a hole of worth.

And I’ve realized I don’t want people to love me for how I look or what I’m doing at the moment.

I want them to love me for me.

This isn’t a judgment against those who are selfie crazy. This is, perhaps, a moment to step back and to look at the reason why the selfies are flooding your stream. Is it really about you sharing to the world your hair or your coffee moment or all of that? Or is it about you looking for the validation from others?

I figured it out for me.

I think that selfies can be an empowering thing. They can celebrate victory, they can show strength, they can share love, and all of that. That is awesome. Don’t stop taking them. Just think about them. The why behind them. Is it about sharing awesome with the world? Or is it about you needing to fill a hole in your life? Or to get validation?

You’re worth way more than the perfect selfie.

That’s all.

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5 Responses to “why you’re worth more than the perfect selfie”

  1. July 19, 2014

    Adrienne Reply

    Thank you for writing this. It’s something I think needed to be put into words, and I know that I personally don’t have the tact to do so.

  2. July 20, 2014

    Darcel Reply

    Hm, interesting post. I do like seeing what the people behind the screen look like. I get annoyed by people on Instagram who post nothing but selfies. I will actually unfollow them, if that’s all they post.
    I posted a selfie on IG and FB the other day. I’m saying “hey world, I’m more than just a mom. I’m sexy, I like myself.” I see nothing wrong with that, but I also post pics of my knitting, my kids, our adventures.

    • July 21, 2014

      Rachel Marie Martin Reply

      EXACTLY! I love your perspective as well Darcel. I think selfies can be these awesome and empowering pics. But if it’s a stream of just that and not life? Well, then I think it begs the question for whom is it for?

      With joy.

      RACHEL

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