It happens multiple times a day in multiple places. It doesn’t have to be a “Kodak” moment. In fact, it’s usually not a moment at all. Selfies have permeated the social channel space and are a preferred way of providing authenticity to online dating activities. So, while you’re practicing your best duckface, choosing beauty mode and adding a slimming filter – just to be safe – take a minute or two to ponder just how self-effacing selfies are to self. Remember FOMO (fear-of-missing-out)? Selfies put FOMO on steroids, mess with self-esteem and shift the emphasis from what social media was meant to be. There’s nothing uglier than self-absorption. But selfies have turned that cheek and tend to show a proverbial slip-of-the-tongue. Have we forgotten the original purpose of sharing social? Let’s examine and understand why selfie defines selfish.

Why Who Cares Matters

Remember when you were a kid and first started learning how to dive or jump into the swimming pool? Or when you aced a test at school? You couldn’t wait to show your parents what you accomplished. Those are what I refer to as “look at me” moments. And sure, Facebook and Instagram are great outlets to share those look-at-me moments. But here’s where it’s gone into the sea of overkill.

It Isn’t All About You

Nobody likes a narcissist. If you have a friend (or maybe this is you) who posts selfies constantly, focusing on the look-at-me superficial aspects of self, you might be a narcissist. Selfies are okay. But just like social media – it’s all about the content. And if what you’re posing for has no value to anyone else but you, then you could be a poser impersonating a person of substance.

For example, posting a photo of you smiling, holding a trophy for finishing a 10K run in support of The Wounded Warrior Project is one thing. Posting the same photo of you with the focus on your $200 new running shoes is another (don’t flaunt the price tag in the post either).

When it comes to deciding on to-selfie-or-not-to-selfie, ask yourself beforehand, “Who cares?” If the answer sounds like crickets, the selfie you’re thinking of doing might be a tad too selfish.

Insulting Intelligence and Disrespecting Time

Some reports note that, on average, millennials will take more than 27,500 selfies in their lifetime. And a study focused on selfies indicates that a person spends at least one hour per week on posting selfies. That timeline doesn’t include modifications to the posts (i.e. color correction, cropping, filters, etc.) That’s a lot of self-absorption!

With all those selfies crowding the social channel real estate, it’s a lot of fluff to sift through. And if you’re a person who actually has a real life (outside of the internet), selfies can waste a lot of your time scrolling, stopping and getting irritated at the selfish content that’s taking your valuable time and delaying the substantive posts you could be viewing (if it wasn’t so crowded with selfies instead).

Although the World Health Organization “WHO” has officially entitled gaming addiction as a mental health disorder (applies to too much screen time), totally getting off cellphones, tablets and anything with a scrolling mechanism is probably out of the question. However, there are other ways to use selfies that help you shift from selfish to selfless.

Selfless Isn’t in Thought but The Act of Doing

Imagine waking up each day looking forward to how you can provide benefit to someone else. Where what you do isn’t as much happenstance but on purpose, even purposeful. That’s what it is to live selflessly. And science backs the benefits of selfless. The principles are based on living in gratitude.

If you need some foundational tools on how to get started, watch this quick video with SRC Wellness Director, Nkisi PiRo.

Truly living in the moment requires letting go of negative thought and expectations. If it means taking time away from social media or smart device use, so be it, at least for a few minutes each day. From there, choose a task that you want to do for someone else that will either brighten their day or somehow lighten their load (physically or emotionally).

If you see someone trying to open a door to a store or apartment building, with both arms full carrying bags of groceries, stop and open the door for them. You’ll make a stranger feel good and chances are, it’ll make you feel good too.

Selflessness Supports Sobriety

Some of the same characteristics of obsessive-selfieness mirror addictive behaviors. Too much focus on an impulsive need, regardless of who or what gets put on the backburner. When you live selflessly your world isn’t myopic, it’s vast, invigorating and full of opportunity.

The Benefits of Living in Gratitude

  • Diminishes anger and anxiety
  • Enhances sleep
  • Boosts mental wellbeing
  • Improves physical health
  • Increases self-esteem
  • Strengthens overall resiliency
  • Supports emotional intelligence

Gain Positive Self-Perception

Once gratitude and selflessness become part of daily life, your entire world will begin to shift. Impulsive tendencies will give way to thoughtful action, changing the way you see yourself and others. In addition, the improvements will give you extra strength that comes in handy in times of stress or when a relapse trigger presents itself. You might even be daring enough to take that selfie on the fly. Selfies without false pretenses. Now that’s beautiful.

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