Sunday, June 18, 2017

What Story Does Your Selfie Tell You?

Every Picture (Selfie) Tells a Story
What Story Does Your Selfie Tell?
I hate selfies. Strong word—hate—but I do. Every time I take one, all I can see are the wrinkles. All I see are the lines, the less-than-perfect teeth. All I see is the crepey skin on my neck and arms. I fail at selfies.
I don’t usually feel the same way about photos people take of me. In fact, I say to myself, “That’s a nice photo. I look pretty good.” I feel happier and a bit more comfortable in my own skin (wrinkled and crepey though it may be).
Not so with a selfie. I’m not sure if I sabotage it, but each time I flip that camera setting so it looks at me, I feel stymied, I feel bare, I feel old and decrepit. My smile is forced, fake. It happened again today while I was gardening, which might not have been the best time, what with all the dirt and sweat. I wanted to show a friend that it was so hot that I needed not only the very cool headband she made me, but also a cloth to sop up the sweat. I thought I might look cute in the headband, almost ninja-like with my bangs spiking above the edge. I again reminded myself of how awful I look in selfies, but I tried one anyway. Sure enough, I looked awful.
It was provident that at the time, I also was listening to a podcast interview of Leo Babauta of Zen Habits, so my psyche was primed to be a bit more aware than usual. In that awareness, I realized that my deep-seated dislike of how I look might reflect how I feel about myself, which hasn’t been great lately. In the last week, I have strayed from my course of self-care—and for me, that’s not a good thing. Of course, my selfie mirrored those feelings.
I then started thinking about other photos—favorite photos of myself. In those favorites, I like the way I look. I feel valued. I feel treasured.
I know why. Someone who loves me took each of those favorite photos. Someone who values and treasures me took those photos. That love, that value, that treasure shines through. They feel it, their photos show it, and that is what I see.
I wish I could transfer that love, value, and treasure to how I feel about myself right before I take a selfie (and to other areas of of my life). I wish I could say I’ve turned over a new selfie and that from now on, I’ll only take photos of myself when I at least feel a gentle spirit of kinship and genuine care toward myself. I am not there, yet, but after I cleaned up a bit after gardening, I took a few photos that I don’t hate. That’s a beginning. Perhaps I’ll get to the point that I love, value, and treasure myself enough to see that within me—with my own eyes. Perhaps I will even feel it within me, which is most important.
I don’t believe I’m alone in this quest, in this desire to view myself in a more loving, treasured, valued way.
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What do you see when you look in the mirror? What do you see when you look at a selfie? Can you try to love that person before you take the photo, before you look in the mirror? Can you try to reflect that love toward yourself even when no cameras or mirrors are nearby? Can you love, value, and treasure yourself?

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