Perhaps I’m old fashioned or out of touch, maybe this all hasn’t been thoroughly explained to me and therefore I’m in some way uneducated on this topic, but every day I look around me and I see more and more declarations of self-love in the form of heavily edited selfies and again, heavily edited half-naked pictures.
Is anyone else getting a whiff of irony?
We are living in the decade of vanity. Not so long ago, the English way was the bashful shrug when faced with incoming compliments, the awkward laugh, the silent prayer that this uncomfortable exchange would swiftly draw to a close. The odd photo might exist taken by the individual, certainly not hundreds lined up against one another on social media with various captions in some way relating to self love and fulfilment, or perhaps even more infuriating, something completely unrelated to the selfie like “such a good day seeing the fam” neatly penned next to a scowling pout.
It isn’t the self-love I have a problem with; I think we could all use a self-pick-me-up now and again, and I think we’d all be much happier if we all did genuinely love and care for ourselves. My problem is how we express this. “Self love” is, to me, an acceptance of the people we are, including our flaws and our best attributes. Self-love means knowing our worth, understanding our beauty both internally and out. It is getting to know us privately through experiences, both good and bad. It is forming a fond relationship with ourselves, and of course being comfortable in our own skin. Self-love is deeper than simply taking pictures and blasting them across social media.
Maybe I’m being unfair, and taking selfies is merely one form of self-expression. But why then is it always the same? Why have we limited ourselves so greatly in the way we love ourselves to only loving the way we look? And really, do we love the way we look? Let’s be totally honest, nobody, nobody, looks the same in person as they do in selfies. We all know our best angle and our signature pose. We have our right and our wrong sides, and of course we exploit that in order to obtain the most unfair and inaccurate portrait of ourselves possible. We have endless filters and endless editing software that we can use to make ourselves look as close to perfection as possible. It is all total and utter bullshit.
If we love ourselves so much, why do we need constant validation?
In the Instagram age, it feels as though we value our looks above everything else. Of course it isn’t fair to limit this to Instagram; Snapchat is a huge perpetrator of our endless self-obsession. We no longer head out in the evening and just enjoy ourselves; instead we feel the need to capture ourselves dancing, ourselves posing in the toilet, the outfit we’re wearing, our make-up, our friends, our drinks, even the lights inside the club so everybody knows we’re having a really good time.
There is nothing wrong with the odd selfie or the odd fun Snapchat. Quite honestly, if someone wants to take hundreds of selfies, that’s fine, it’s their prerogative. But call it what it is. If you post a picture of yourself online, it’s probably because you think you look hot. And really, there isn’t anything wrong with that, and I suppose it is arguably a form of self-love. But lets cut the crap. Lets stop competing, stop trying to persuade everyone that we’re having buckets of fun, and stop claiming we’ve found enlightenment when all we’ve found is good lighting.