The Narcissus in me: Selfies

By Dra. Margarita Mendoza Burgos

A smart phone. A location. A pose. One click, a flurry of photos. A couple of filters, an approval, and to the networks ...

That, basically, is the complete process of a selfie. A word that strongly broke into our vocabulary and that graphs the action of taking a self-portrait. Hardly anyone can resist the temptation of selfies.

In Spain it is called postureo, it is a way of promoting and re-confirming to ourselves that we are attractive people, specials, that we attract attention and that we like. further, thanks to social networks, there is a way to measure and compare this acceptance and it is in the form of likes. A good amount of them can change our mood. A bad amount can plunge us into depression…

When we are traveling we look for the most daring selfie, sometimes even risking my life, as multiple cases of people -278 until the year 2018- who have died falling off cliffs, balconies or being run over in your quest for the perfect photo. All because we know that a good photo will also generate comments such as "great", "What luck" or "what beauty" that cause us a pleasant sensation.

The rest of the time we can be mere mortals, but we have scored a goal. It may be necessary to clarify that this is not new, it's as old as human nature. In fact, vanity is one of the seven deadly sins. But nevertheless, thanks to technology it is now very easy to get a considerably larger amount to look at us than before.

Everything is done to make us look better. The new phones, with its wonderful lenses and filters, They also allow us to control our image better than before and we publish what we want, what pleases us and makes us feel glorious.

Selfies are the perfect complement to the mirror. From that burst of photos we choose the best, we add filters and, if necessary, we remove wrinkles or unwanted expressions until we achieve "perfection". This is the height of vanity.

In artists or media people could be justified, but they get to abuse, creating false expectations and further demoralizing ordinary mortals, who can also use these mechanisms to improve ourselves. They are symptoms of superficiality in which we live. External improvements are valued and we worry less and less about improving internally: in knowledge, in values ​​or quality of human beings.

We have become more frivolous. There is a piece of graphic humor - some call it a meme- that perfectly portrays the compulsion for selfies. They show a picture of astronaut Neil Armstrong and it says "He went to the moon and took five pictures". It is followed by another of a young woman with the legend: "He went to the bathroom and took 36 Photos". Although it seems incredible, they call this pathology "selfitis", although the American Psychological Association (WHAT) does not recognize it as a disease.

But nevertheless, a study published in the International Journal of Mental Health and Addiction in which researchers Janarthanan Balakrishnan (Thiagarajan School of Management, India) y Mark Griffiths (Nottingham Trent University) conclude that "the obsessive compulsive desire to take photos and post them on social networks is a way to compensate for the lack of self-esteem and fill a void in privacy".

The obsession with selfies and the cult of the image makes us vulnerable, but it also makes true human relationships more difficult, being and accepting ourselves as we are. Show that if we want to improve, we must strive from within, with tenacity and not only pretending many times what we are not. Something important: we want to look good not only for complacency, since this one falls short if we don't share it.

What good is having nice shoes, luxury cars, makeups, exotic travel if we can't make the world know?