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Down with the selfies

October 21st, 2014

Close your eyes. Take a deep breath, let your daily worries and stress leave your mind, and come with me to a magical place.

 

This magical place exists separately from the real world, but it is one of my deepest desires for the future.

 

It is a world without selfishness. A world without narcissism. A world without…selfies.

 

Yes, I said it. I wish the world was without selfies. As a matter of fact, I wouldn’t even be upset if Instagram disappeared off the face of the Earth.

 

Actually, I’m not a hardcore Instagram hater. I think it’s a cool app and was created with good intentions: to share artistic creations and photographs with friends and family. At least, that’s how I imagine it.

 

I can’t imagine Mark Systrom and Mike Krieger, the creators of Instagram, had selfies on the mind while they spent countless hours and dollars on bringing their ideas to life. Call me naïve, but I like to believe that they intended for Instagram to be a medium of inspiration.

 

Unfortunately, “inspired” is the last word that comes to mind when I scroll through my newsfeed on this app, and the same often applies to Facebook as well. The number of selfies I often come across within 10 minutes is incredibly disheartening, and leaves me with one pressing question – why?

 

What is it exactly that influences people to take roughly 50 selfies per day?  Is that really all anyone cares about nowadays?

 

I hate to single out my generation, but the truth is, it’s definitely a Millennial trend. I’m not a Millennial hater, but I do believe that narcissism is one of our generation’s biggest problems.

 

Physical beauty comes in many different forms, which therefore means that there are millions of beautiful people in the world. We all know this. We see attractive people everyday, don’t we?

 

Don’t get me wrong – I think it’s a good thing to take some pride in your physical appearance. Whether you like it or not, your appearance makes up a significant part of your identity. So, of course, you should be proud of who you are and how you look.

 

But, why is there a need to constantly put your image in others’ faces? Now, I understand and empathize with the desire for approval from peers. I am no exception to the narcissistic tendencies of today’s society.

 

However, throughout the years, I’ve grown to crave more inspiration than approval. I seek original content that is unique, reflective and emotionally moving.

 

From classic literature to contemporary artwork to nature photography, I strive to feed off of others’ creativity in order to develop my own.

 

That being said, I don’t derive much inspiration from selfies on Instagram and Facebook, nor do I feel enlightened after looking at pictures of food all day. I can’t imagine many people do.

 

I truly believe our generation has a plethora of wonderful gifts and talents to contribute to society. But, if we remain so caught up in our narcissistic tendencies, will we ever get the chance to share these gifts with the world?

 

The answer should be obvious, friends. As always, I don’t mean to target specific people with this column.

 

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – I’m not perfect, and I have had my own fair share of narcissistic moments, too. My only desire is to encourage others to think about how they use their time, energy and resources.

 

More importantly, I want my generation to seriously reflect on the impact we could have on our society, and how the future could be different if we refocus ourselves onto worthwhile projects.

Shall we continue to seek shallow praise, or shall we strive to inspire?