Selfies Makes Me Feel GOOD, But That Doesn't Make Me A Narcissist

selfies not narcissism

I used to have no self-esteem.

I was the kind of person who could never answer questions like what I thought my best feature was, and when I was asked, I couldn't really even describe myself. And while I loved taking pictures to record the memories, I found it hard to love any of the pictures I was in.

It's not that I thought I was untalented or ugly. It wasn't even that I thought I wasn't pretty or special.

I just didn't think anything about myself. I couldn't identify my strengths or even fully accept compliments. It wasn't that I felt they were wrong; it was more of I felt I hadn't done anything to earn it.

Maybe that's not too uncommon. After all, I was in high school and while I had a good group of friends whom I loved fiercely, I was dealing with the stressful life of high school. I didn't really think much about my low self-esteem of my insecurities. They seemed sort of normal.

Then I went to study abroad for a year.

The school I attended assigned a few of the teachers to act as mentors for the 50 or so students that were there, to help us and to talk to us, making sure we were okay since we were really far from home. The first time I met with my mentor, she asked me to write a little bit about myself on a piece of paper so she'd be able to figure out who I was as we'd only just met.

I wrote about my family, my likes, my dislikes. But when it got to the part about my personality I couldn't do it. I managed to come up with a few things I'd heard people call me over the years. But even as I wrote them, I felt like I was lying, pretending that I was that person.

I remember my teacher reading my short list of personality traits in our next meeting. It was only as she tried to encourage me to try to come up with more that I realized just how bad my self-esteem was. We spent 10 months working on building my self-esteem, starting with choosing my favorite thing about myself (my eyes). By the end of the year,  I was actually able to identify a few things that made me... well, me.

It took a little more work once I came home, but slowly my self-esteem grew. I accepted the person I am. I started to like the person I am both emotionally and physically. I didn't hate every picture I was in with my friends. I started wanting to take more of them for all the fun times we had.

And slowly, I started taking selfies for all the fun times I had on my own.

To most people that seems crazy. They see people who take a lot of selfies and many people think you either have no self-esteem or are completely narcissistic.

But those people would be wrong. I won't say they're wrong about everybody because I'm sure it does mean that some people are narcissistc.

Because for me, every selfie marks a day I feel good about myself. It's a day where I go "I feel pretty or accomplished or awesome or independent or happy" and so I document it with a picture. The more pictures of me you see, the more days I feel good about myself.

Yes, the likes I get for my pictures help boost my confidence even more (because let's be honest, who doesn't feel sexier whenever you get a like on a photo of you?). But I don't need any likes to make me think I look good in that picture I posted.

My self-worth is not based on the number of likes or hearts the pic gets. I don't take 500 pictures everyday and sit and edit them until I find 1 picture I don't really love but tolerate and post anyway. I don't Snapchat my entire day away, forgetting to enjoy the moment without my face in it.

When I go do something, yes, I'll take a bunch of pictures and yes, I'll be in a lot of them. And yes, every once in a while I will have a selfie photo-shoot and share it on Facebook.

But each picture shows one more thing I pushed myself to do and one more day I felt amazing and confident about myself.

So it doesn't matter if you think I take too many selfies. You can never take away from that wonderful feeling I get from being confident enough in myself to share those pictures, which is worth dealing with all the selfie-haters in the world.