Hashtag: Selfie, Self-image, and Self-worth

I do not have anything against “selfie” posts but I am not a fan either. It is viral and it got into my curious mind, how it all began and what is the psychology behind it. I am neither a psychologist nor an expert on the field but I thought about it and I just can’t keep my thoughts to myself.

Okay, I am typing selfie in red underlined word. Word keeps on reminding me that the word “selfie” is either grammatically incorrect or misspelled. (Right-click, add to dictionary, solved.) My friends told me the term started in Instagram but I was surprised to know that the term was actually popularized in 2005 by a photographer Jim Krause. That long! I didn’t know that. It must have gained more popularity when social networking reached its peak.

Here’s a confession:

Looking into the matter closely, how I see myself in the images I took of myself affects how I feel about myself. And it is not just the photo but also how others react to the photo. Ring a bell? Yes, the “Looking Glass Self” theory in psychology.

“First, we imagine how we appear to another person. Second, we imagine what judgments are made based on that appearance. Lastly, we imagine how the person feels about us, based on the judgments made.”

How people see me in the photo that I took of myself will affect how I feel and look at myself. That is why I am not a fan. This concept will make an “approval seeker” out of me. I don’t want to base my identity solely on how others think I am, based on a photo. A photo doesn’t always say a thousand words. Reality is not still, it moves.

Self-image is important. But it should start with how you think you should be based on how you were created in the image and likeness of your Creator (Genesis 1:27). If you base your self-image on how people will feel about you then you will end up like your selfie photo – alone. There is a standard far better and higher than the worldly standard. Imagine yourself a better person than you are now. Be confident in your own skin. Your self-image should start with the thought that you are fearfully and wonderfully made (Psalm 139:14) and that the Creator knew you before you were born and you were set apart for His purposes (Jeremiah 1:5).

Being comfortable with who you are doesn’t mean you should stop there, it means you should start there. Being grounded on reality will give you a stronger foundation of how you will feel about yourself. You will not cower in self-pity when faced with negative criticism; you will not lose your identity in the social network masquerade. Having the correct perspective of self-worth will make you more than who you are now and be more for others and not just for the self.

Interesting reads about Selfie and CyberPsychology here:

The Social Psychology of the Selfie
Study: Facebook Photo Sharing Reflects Focus on Female Appearance
Looking Glass Self

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Author: Ivy Rufin

Ivy Rufin is a wordsmith-in-progress. She believes that she is a continuing work of art and so are her works. An average Jane with an enormous appetite for life. Here, she hopes to share her thoughts in an attempt to practice the craft, express herself and communicate with other souls out there who pursue the same goals. For now, she struggles to write daily and more often than not, it’s not her it’s the coffee talking.

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