We live in an age where the “selfie” is an art, where we judge ourselves more harshly than we would ever judge another human being, and we base our self worth on how many likes or comments we get on social media. So how do we get back to the time when it was OK to not look “perfect” all the time or at least make people feel that we are looking “perfect”?
The Huffington Post wrote the following in an article and it’s probably one of the most scary things I have ever read: “Social Media’s Impact on Self–Esteem. Social media has been linked to higher levels of loneliness, envy, anxiety, depression, narcissism and decreased social skills. … However, what is shared across our social networks only broadcasts the positive aspects of our lives-the highlight reels.”
Even though we know what we are posting isn’t actually the reality of OUR lives for some reason it is not what we think when we see what other people post images and talk about their lives.
The reality is, no matter what, we are NEVER going to be perfect human beings. In fact, when we strive for perfection all we bring into our lives is disappointment, insecurity and sadness.
I decided to write a post about the “imperfect selfie”, because we are not used to seeing them on social media. Taking the selfie with the fish pout, with the fake smile, to capture a moment that would in fact have been more of a moment to remember if the camera hadn’t been out, are more and more what we see and consider to be the “norm” on social media.
Trust me, for each selfie or picture that’s taken of me that I consider worthy to post, there are 100’s of others where I have my eyes closed (see for yourself – in fact, for the eyes closed, I would say there are probably at least 40% of the pictures where my eyes are closed). Then there are some where I have to edit the lighting, create a patch over something in the background that I want to cover up, and so on and so on.
I recently took a social media class and in that class one of the lessons was to know which angle to use to show the most flattering angle of your face, and which programs to use for editing and how to optimize your features. I do realize that social media, especially Instagram is a very visual platform and that if you want to use it for a business, you are going to have to post things that are visually appealing, but that doesn’t mean that at some times it’s OK to not look “perfect” in a picture.
I took this selfie of myself today sitting in my office, the camera wasn’t at the angle that would take the most flattering picture, but I posted it anyway to prove a point. As I sit and look at this picture I could tear myself down with thoughts like “my nose looks crooked”, “I can see the fine lines and wrinkles on my face” or even “my lips are too narrow”, but instead I decided to look for what I love about what I see. Instead of the crooked nose, I feel thankful that I am able to be able to smell pumpkin spices, and much more at this time of year. Instead of the fact that I have fine lines and wrinkles, I love that I have lived a life that has allowed me to develop laughter lines and experience life. Instead of the fact that my lips are too thin, I love the fact that I am able to kiss my husband and my kids.
To summarize my self esteem is not rocked because I am not “perfect” and I am OK with people seeing a side of me that is not my best side because I want people to see the real, authentic and loving ME! I am not afraid to say when I am sad, I very often react with anger when I become frustrated and anyone that knows me knows that I am can be a force for good or bad (just depends on how I am treated), and guess what, I am not ashamed of that either. I am fiercely loyal and love the fact that my friends KNOW they can always count on me.
So, what does a “perfect selfie” mean anyway? Is there really such a thing? The thing about authenticity is that only people that don’t know you are going to be able to be taken in by fake pictures, and over-editing. Those that know you, already know your flaws, and love you in spite of them. Only those that don’t know you might judge you if you don’t look perfect in a picture, but those that already know you that there’s no such thing as a perfect picture and they love you anyway.
I don’t know about you, but I want my life to be filled with real relationships and that is why I put myself out there. Why I tell stories about myself making stupid mistakes, in the hope that people can get to know me and relate on a deeper level than the superficiality of a picture. Don’t misunderstand me, Instagram and social media are still a place to show some pretty fabulous pictures and that is what captures someone’s attention initially, but if you really want people to stick around…well, that is done with relationships and letting people get to know you.
I hope as you consider taking your next selfie, before you throw out a picture that you don’t think shows your best side, all is ask is that you ask yourself “what do other see when they see me?” My guess is that then the picture will become so much more than just a pretty face smiling back, because seeing ourself through another’e eyes is the way we need to see ourselves – PERIOD.
Stay fabulous my friends 🙂