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.