The Selfie Made Me Hate Myself

Looking at myself objectively, I wondered, “Why do I care so much about how I and everyone else looks online?”
Publish date:
September 18, 2013
Instagram, selfies

I don't know about you, but I am horrible at taking a selfie. Really. For me, they never come out flattering. I always appear desperate. I second-guess whenever I post it. And, I look ten times worse then I do in real life (at least I hope I don't look like that in real life).

It all started when I joined Instagram. The second I hopped on the hottest social media ticket in town, I noticed that “selfies” were everywhere. Literally, everywhere. Vomiting all over my news feed with no sign of stopping any time soon. Friends of mine, who looked average in real life, suddenly had nothing on Kim K or Angelina in their selfies. They looked gorgeous. Like models or movie stars that had yet to be discovered. So I thought to myself, "What the hell? Might as well get on the selfie bandwagon, right?" Wrong.

It was downhill from first snap. My nose looked huge. My face looked worn. Every impending line that was trying to form on my skin seemed to be bigger and brighter than ever. I mean, dear God, I'm only thirty, "I shouldn't look this bad already, right?" All my flaws were front and center and taunting me like the young child that I wished I still I was.

And then, something even more disturbing was invented - the healthie. You know, the healthie. When stick thin models and celebrities post pictures of themselves, flashing an amazing bod while working out. Kill me now.

All this focus on outer appearance was reminiscent of my high school days. I felt like I was desperately trying to get in the “selfie” cool group. Longing to be a part of the “in” crowd. It was as if people were placing themselves in a certain clique via selfie without even knowing it.

There were the people who would get the most likes - the popular kids. There were those who posted themselves with books in their hands or glasses on their face - the intellectuals or geeks. And of course, there were the one’s who took pictures making funny faces as if to say to the world, “This is not a selfie.” Those are the rebels - the anti-selfies.

I wasn’t sure where I fit in this newfound world of Instagram. And then I discovered a gift for those of us who are not photogenic - photo apps. I found an app that removed wrinkles. I found an app that removed zits. I found an app for everything. But these apps, see, they were just a band-aid. The real problem, well, that could not be fixed by something I could download in the Apple store.

The problem was me. See, I believe the selfie fosters narcissism in some, but in others it fosters insecurity and can also fill a void. Selfies can help people to feel good about themselves. They need the reassurance. Every time someone comments under the photo saying, “gorg,” it’s another quarter in their self-esteem piggy bank. It satisfies a need. An urge that we all have to be accepted by others.

On the other end of the spectrum - the spectrum that I was on - these pictures could make people feel bad about themselves. Seeing all these selfies from celebrities and friends made me feel like I didn’t measure up - especially since I could never take a good one. I felt ridiculous after posting a selfie. Like I wasn’t worthy. In my mind, they should be saved for real celebrities - not normal folk like me.

After a few weeks of selfie drama and unnecessary obsession, I finally got to the point where I realized I needed to analyze myself. So I put on my thinking cap and put my Bachelors of Arts in Psychology to good use. Looking at myself objectively, I was faced with the question, “Why do I care so much about how I and everyone else looks online?”

My conclusion? I was caring too much about what other people thought of me. I hated that I didn’t look good in the pictures. I hated that I didn’t get a bazillion comments. And I hated that I let something so stupid, petty, and immature as a selfie bother me.

These days I have found peace with the dreaded selfie. Will I put them up sometimes? Sure. Will I get a little boost of self-esteem if someone tells me I look good? Of course. Will I run them through photo apps to remove wrinkles, blemishes, and downsize my nose? Absolutely not. Because I have come to the conclusion that if I don’t look as good as the person in the photo next to me then who cares? Life is about so much more. And I will not be defined by my selfie.