(This post is part of Healthy Narcissism Month.)
In one quick snap you just captured the sexiest, most artistic selfie ever.
You’re quite pleased with the shot considering that it doesn’t require editing and it reflects your intention to be creative.
A healthy selfie is born.
You quickly check how the selfie appears on your Instagram feed and imagine the best case scenario for what your followers will think.
Yup…it looks good enough to post.
Through Your Selfie’s Eyes
Hope grows for a “World Selfie-bration,” as you realize that this shot deserves more than a few sympathy likes.
But have you ever stopped to ask your selfie what he or she thinks? How could you be so self-centered not to ask?
Here’s what your selfie would tell you:
Your selfie knows that his or her life is precious because a selfie only exists as a temporary reflection of its owner.
Life is risky for the selfie. It knows that as a young selfie, life on your feed can get lonely, especially when it’s pushed to the bottom and ignored. A young selfie, however, is hungry to test out what the world has to say.
The selfie relies on a standard diet of likes to stay alive and to feel valued. Comments are a larger feast for the selfie, a gorging on temporary gratification.
Despite its limited time to shine, the selfie serves you tirelessly, always trying its best to reflect your best angle, unless you tell it that you took a healthy selfie and then it will forgive you and be happy for you.
Otherwise, it thrives on feedback, but the selfie is realistic about how much it can do for you given how quickly newer selfies move in.
Once the world’s first reactions end, the selfie knows that it will soon become lost in a sea of posts as it fades into an under-appreciated archival nursing home of older selfies and food pictures and inspirational quotes and random opinions vying for leftover likes during visitation hours from family and friends.
While the selfie knows that its shelf life for freshness is short, you, the owner, are usually not as clear about this. Actually, your unrealistic expectations for how your selfie is supposed to gratify you saddens your selfie because it’s so painful to see you repeatedly disappointed when you seemed happy taking the selfie.
Other than a healthy selfie, most selfies won’t meet your expectations.
All the selfie can really hope for is a short but memorable off-broadway run filled with ovations of virtual recognition.
The World of Likes…Loves!
Wow. Holy shit! Here they come!
Likes start to gather around the selfie like curious spectators stopping to watch a random street fight. Well, maybe more like a talented street performer or an unexpected rainbow.
The number of “likes” begins to jump, and jump, and jump.
The selfie welcomes with open arms (or at least eyes) the temporary confirmation of its owner’s awesomeness, attractiveness, artistic skills, or whatever ticket the selfie is hoping to get validated.
One thing we know is that a selfie isn’t shy. The selfie gladly lets the shirt buttons covering its ego pop open as it revels in an inflated sense of selfie-worth with every uptick in likes.
The selfie reaches its orgasmic peak as random people begin to comment with phrases like “beautiful shot” or simply “WOW.”
“OMG if THAT random guy who’s a photographer came out of the woodwork to comment, I must REALLY be something special,” the selfie thinks to itself.
When the Likes Leave You for Another Selfie
As the day winds down and the likes trickle in like droplets from a broken faucet, selfie-doubt steps in front of the selfie-bration like a bully who doesn’t want to wait his turn.
Don’t people check their phones after work? Where is everyone? What the hell is this shit? Maybe I’m not the greatest selfie.
Yes, inevitably, the likes and comments will stop flowing. Inevitably, the selfie will want more, even a tiny bit more. It might even look to see who of its owner’s most reliable likers haven’t liked it yet to feel more hopeful.
(This is one of my favorite mental games…) To battle the disappointment, the selfie starts to come up with reasons why people would admire him or her without clicking “like.” You can’t underestimate the power of the selfie’s selfie-talk to retain its sense of value when the world doesn’t respond as expected.
Nope. It’s not easy being a selfie.
You will feel the pull to see the world from the eyes of your selfie, but you must resist, especially when you think you’ve created a healthy selfie.
At minimum, ask yourself, “What are my expectations for my selfie and how depressed will I feel if the world doesn’t reflect back to me what I hope my selfie shows?”