Note to self(ie)
Once it’s summertime, there are lots of nice things to celebrate. Warm weather. Nice tans. The whole shebang. But there’s one thing you may not have known it was time to celebrate, something that’s as popular as it is controversial: the selfie.
Sure, it’s not Mother’s Day or Father’s Day. It’s no Independence Day either. But, we’d like to think that June 21st, International Selfie Day, is something we can get behind too.
Every photo you take is personal, but there is no more personal a photo than a selfie. It’s intimate, and it can capture how you feel in a specific moment. Many of us hate selfies, too embarrassed to “shamelessly” snap solo pics. But others of us embrace the selfie. We believe that these photos can empower us and boost our confidence, whether or not we’re sharing them on social media.
Alright, time for a moment of honesty. How many photos of you are there on your phone right now? We’d wager a guess that there are a lot. It may seem like a staggering statistic, but humans across the globe take nearly 1 trillion photos a year, which is actually more every minute or two than were taken throughout the entirety of the 19th century.
And out of these 1 trillion photos, many, many are selfies (or self-portraits if we’re feeling artistic). 395 million have been hashtagged ‘selfie’ on Instagram alone. Though this may seem like a pursuit and preoccupation that’s uniquely plaguing millennials, it’s actually been a common theme throughout history. Even as early as the 15th century, those who had access to self-representations loved them, as they were able to control the image that was projected to the world. In fact, the earliest selfie was taken by Robert Cornelius in 1839.
The face is always the first place our eyes are drawn to, so it’s only natural that selfies have become so very popular. And because we are able to control how the image looks and, thus, how others will perceive us, it’s no wonder we’re all throwing up those flattering selfies where we look like the best versions of ourselves on Instagram on the regular. And while some still will not approve of them, science has proven that posting selfies can actually bolster self-esteem.
That being said, selfies can also have detrimental effects on mental health, particularly when we post too often. Posting too frequently can affect our outside relationships, as well as the way we view ourselves. When we are so used to constantly seeking external validation, living our everyday lives can sometimes feel like it’s just not enough.
Basically, selfies (and social media in general) are both a blessing and a curse. They are useful in helping us document important moments in our lives and declare our confidence and how much we love ourselves to the world. They can be a form of self-care. But on the flip side, seeing others’ selfies can cause jealousy and encourage a comparison mentality, and not getting the positive attention we want for a selfie can leave us feeling down.
If you are a selfie lover and want to take care of your mental health at the same time, we’ve got some tips to help you mitigate social media anxiety.
- Turn off those notifications! Of course, we all love to get likes, but you should be posting for yourself! You don’t need to see each and every like as it comes rolling in.
- Set a timer. With the dopamine rush that comes with social media, it’s natural that we all become a little bit obsessive. Give yourself a limited period of time to check all your social channels. Once it’s up, you can do something else fun for a few hours before you can check it again.
- Filter your timeline regularly. Feeling more anxious than feeling fulfilled after seeing someone’s post? You know where to find the unfollow button!
- Detox! Time away is the best thing for you.
And, remember: if it feels good, great! Keep on doing it. If not, however, you can quit at any time. You are the boss!
Tag us in your sweaty selfie this week!