Well, well, well! The antiselfie could never have made this one up or predicted this one possible negative effect of selfies.
Head lice from selfies? Ew.
A woman who works at a San Francisco Bay Area head lice treatment company noticed a dramatic increase in the number of clients, many of them teen-agers.
Lice infestation is more common among younger children. “Typically it’s younger children I treat, because they’re at higher risk for head-to-head contact,” Marcy McQuillan told the news blog SFist.com.
McQuillan, who works at a place called Nitless Nogins, told the San Francisco news blog that she thinks the popularity of selfies is causing lice infestation in teen-agers.
Here’s McQuillan’s theory: two or more teen-agers put their heads together in that now-ubiquitous “let’s get all our faces to fit in the frame” shot, and Bam! That, McQuillan believes, is when the lice make their transit from head to head.
She advises people to keep their heads separated, and girls to tie their hair up, when taking selfies.
But some doctors aren’t buying McQuillan’s theory.
One of them, Dr. Nick Celano, a resident at the Los Angeles USC Medical Center, told the London Daily Mail that he wasn’t convinced of the selfie-lice link.
“The way we’re taught is that it takes contact for an extended period of time, and 10 seconds is not what I’d consider an extended period of time,” he told the paper. “We’re in rooms with patients that have lice, and we don’t really worry about getting it transmitted from one person to the other while in the room.”
Whatever. The antiselfie says just get some distance during selfie-taking time. Better safe than sorry. Better yet, how about decreasing the number of selfies you take? I mean, do you really need to take another one?
You know them. They’re the ones who love taking pictures of themselves, and posting them online–relentlessly. And we know they’re counting those likes and really lapping up those comments.
It’s those likes, hearts and comments that most selfie addicts live for. Who in this world doesn’t need external validation? However, the question really is: how much reliance on external validation is too much?
Incessant selfie posting is just as delusional as, say, too much drinking. It’s getting drunk on attention and praise.
What’s wrong with that?
In the same way that intoxication is often a way to escape confronting issues, posting those selfies way too often could be a means of avoiding something.
But you’ll never get to know what exactly those issues are if you keep running to and hiding in the world of alcohol, drugs, hookups, and yes, excessive selfies, to make you feel good.
Is there something in your real life that’s not quite impressive or accomplished as you wish it could be? Are you not getting sufficient praise and admiration in areas that are not related to your looks? Or are you actually getting praised only for your looks? What’s really causing you pain?
Selfie addiction is not a way of knowing yourself. Ironically, it’s a way of hiding from yourself.
Whatever the reason, before you snap that next selfie, and spend a great amount of time perfecting it, try to stop and think–what am I really getting out of this? Why do I need all that validation so often? What need am I really trying to fill here?
This honest self-examination is the beginning of real self-love. Real self-love is when you truly start to get to honestly know yourself , and treat yourself with kindness, respect and compassion.
Zen master Dogen once said: “To know yourself is to forget yourself.”
Once you stop running away from your pain, only then can you begin to know yourself.
Once you begin knowing yourself and the things that hurt you, then you can start the process of healing.
Once you start healing, then you can start learning how to truly love yourself.
Once you’ve learned to love and care for yourself, only then can you really forget yourself–and start sharing that love you’re learning and practicing, with others.
This process takes incredible self-awareness and sensitivity; many are able to access this through meditation.
What behavior do you overindulge in incessantly, to the point of mindless compulsion? Eating, drinking, smoking, selfie-taking, sex? Next time, stop and examine the feelings that arise right before you engage in addictive behavior. Try and identify it. Then try and see if you can live with that feeling (pain, sadness, boredom). Instead of blunting it–try and address it and find the root cause. This process will help bring about increased self-knowledge, the start of genuine self-love.
A friend recently revealed something to me what must have been very difficult and painful to admit, because it raised questions about his sexual identity.
He exposed the confusion, loneliness and pain he must be feeling about his current place in the world, emotions he sought to numb with alcohol, pot and risky behavior.
I understood all too well this cycle of pain and attempts to anesthesize pain, only to have the pain come back after the anesthetic wears off.
As he spoke, he seesawed between seeming nonchalance, and guilt, shame and regret; that mix of painful emotions that marks internal conflicts.
Silently, I prayed for him, and for myself–to be able to handle the information I was receiving. Because within me, an internal conflict was also arising. I was torn between compassion and judgment.
As I prayed silently, I was astonished to hear him suddenly pray out loud as well, a call and response familiar to Catholics:
“Hail Mary full of grace…” He asked for help to finish the prayer, since he did not know it by heart. He fumbled through the words, but the purity of his prayer shone through: a desire for acceptance, perhaps a wish for a return to innocence, a plea for understanding and release from pain.
We continued praying together, aloud, for as long as he needed it. In both our eyes, tears. Despite the challenges, we had found prayer to restore some peace, even if just for that moment.
After that moment of prayer, I felt a surge of love and compassion break through the barriers of resentment and confusion that had been building up between us.
I remembered, and experienced for myself, the power of Pope Francis’ now-famous statement in June 2013 that continues to echo around the world.
“If they accept the Lord and have goodwill, who am I to judge them? They shouldn’t be marginalized. The tendency (to homosexuality) is not the problem … they’re our brothers.”
My friend might, or might not be gay. Only he will know what his truth is. It may take some work to untangle the confusion, anxiety and emotional chaos in his life, hopefully with the help of compassionate therapy. Whatever his truth is, I could only assure him of acceptance.
Sometimes, after listening wholeheartedly, all we can do for someone else is pray.
Prayer is also a simple stated desire and a sincere wish for the wellbeing of someone else. It can be a powerful way to bring out compassion. It can melt anger. It can create peace.
Whether or not you follow a religious tradition, sincerely ask that peace, and wellbeing arise in yourself, for yourself. Then ask for peace and wellbeing for others who are suffering. It does not have to be aloud, but if appropriate, say it aloud, sincerely, to someone who is suffering. Check how you feel, towards yourself and towards others. Does asking for peace and wellbeing to arise help ease your, and others’ suffering?
Oh happiness. We spend so much time wishing for it, planning for it, looking for it at work, in money, on the internet, in the latest phone, purse, car; in other people. The pursuit of it is endless.
But trying to capture happiness is like trying to capture sunlight and putting it in your pocket for you to keep forever and ever. It ain’t gonna happen.
Happiness is something that arises, when you’re not focusing so hard on trying to be happy. In his book “Spontaneous Happiness,” natural health and wellness expert Dr. Andrew Weil says we can create the right conditions in our lives to allow happiness to arise naturally.
A few steps that allow happiness to arise:
1. Lower your expectations
2. Limit commitments to those you know you will enjoy
3. Stick to a reasonable budget
4. Avoid excessive eating and drinking
5. Get at least seven hours of sleep every night to overcome fatigue and restore energy
6. Keep up daily aerobic exercise, take long walks outdoors when the weather permits
7. Arrange your workspace so you’re exposed to a wndow and get daylight during work hours
8. Consider supplementing your diet with 1,000-2,000 IU of Vitamin D3.
9. Practice forgiveness to calm your spirit
10. Cultivate an attitude of gratitude
12. Limit the time you spend on the Internet.
Everything on this list seems sensible, except for the part about limiting internet time, right?
Have you ever experienced being online for hours, on Facebook or whatever social media, and just surfing? Have you ever experienced ignoring actual people in your real life in front of you because you’re online, maybe busy having a virtual conversation?
These are examples of how the internet can suck the joy out of your life—by distracting you so much that you actually start failing to have a life.
Are you living a life that encourages happiness to arise? Have you noticed how good health is related to happiness? Have you noticed the difference in how you feel, when you get regular exposure to daylight and fresh air? Check how you feel when you think about things you’re grateful for. Try and notice how you feel after extended internet use. Have you considered cutting down your time online?
More on Dr. Andrew Weil and spontaneous happiness:
This is a selfie, seen on Twitter, that comes with a good purpose. Inspiring others through words and/or pictures online is a good thing.
First Lady Michelle Obama has, no doubt, great selfie-taking experience, as a mom to two young ladies, who, more likely than not, she is preparing for college.
The antiselfie is noting a trend among millennial postings online today: there seems to be a big hopeless feeling about getting a college education.
More and more, we see millennial-targeted articles like “Why college is a waste of time,” “Why what you learn at college won’t be needed in the real world,” which appear to be written by a bunch of unhappy college graduates (or dropouts) unable to find the best-ever job in the entire universe.
For some reason, a lot of twentysomethings believe that they’re automatically entitled to the very, very best, right away, all the time.
That’s probably a false belief. But so is talking about education as an unnecessary thing.
Mrs. Obama’s message is a great reminder on the value of higher education. It’s also a great way to use social media.
Have you posted a selfie/status update/meme lately that encourages self-improvement?
We here at the antiselfie advocate kindness towards others to replace the narcissism behind the selfie culture on social media.
But we’d like to pause and remind you:
Kindness to others must begin with kindness to self.
The antiselfie has learned, and continues to learn, this lesson in the hardest ways possible.
We all want to be kind to others. But what do we do when others do not reciprocate, or worse, abuse our kindness?
Then we retreat, and start showing ourselves kindness through practicing self-respect.
Self-respect means honoring pain, boundaries and limits, and listening to the internal or external “ouch” and not dismissing it. To do so is to show kindness to yourself. Your self is sending you a message to care for yourself. Listen to it.
One good question to ask yourself to determine if someone is abusing you, or showing you unacceptable behavior : “Would I allow anyone to treat my child (or any child) that way?”
If the answer is no, then the offending behavior should not be allowed to continue. This may mean leaving a situation or person, reporting the situation or person to authorities, seeking help from trusted people to deal with the abusive person or situation.
Then do something to actively soothe yourself. Take a walk in nature. Soak in the tub. Cook your favorite healthy meal. Do yoga. Talk to a trusted, kind person.
Anything that sends yourself the message that “You are loved. You deserve kindness , care and gentleness. Your well-being is important.”
Like all practices, kindness starts with yourself.
Not knowing to care for yourself, you will be unable to care for others.
Not knowing how to honor your own boundaries, others will end up abusing you.
Not knowing to show compassion for yourself when you’re in pain, you will be unable to show genuine compassion for others, and unable to recognize their pain.
When you show yourself kindness and are able to care for and respect yourself, the ability to be kind, caring and respectful to others arises naturally.
Kindness does not mean being a doormat.
In what ways do you care for yourself? In what ways do you encourage your well-being? Do you hear, and listen, when that small voice inside you sends you a message of pain?
Here are other good resources on self-compassion: