This morning, I posted a selfie. With the occasional glance at my like count, I continued to untangle my headphones and settle down for some good ol’ procrastinating. Knee deep in Buzzfeed, I heard the familiar ping of my Facebook notification and looked forward to the usual good morning from the SO. I was met with this:
‘I don’t understand people like you’
Firstly, I’d like to point out that my boyfriend has the purest and most unique way of viewing life that I’ve ever come across. Therefore, the majority of the population, like myself, will think he is talking absolute crap. But his point this morning got me thinking – maybe you’ll join me on this one.
I own an Instagram page. And I love it, I use it to post pictures of the things I get up to with my friends, my modeling pictures, pretty sunsets, my dog, the occasional selfie. I’ve never seen anything wrong with any of this, I keep my account on private and I never post anything that could be seen as explicit. However today was the day that I realized the true meaning behind my Instagram photos – and it’s not pretty.
I realized that I had never thought about why I post pictures of myself online. If I was asked this, I’d probably mumble something like, ‘oh everyone does it, it’s just our culture’. Of course, this is true – but being an extremely reflective man, he wanted me to dig deeper than this.
‘I think you like the attention’. For me, this came as a huge insult. I got angry, and started furiously typing telling him that’s not true and how dare he call me an attention-seeker. I couldn’t believe the kindest man I know was insulting me at 9 am in the morning on a Sunday after posting a selfie, when in fact, if anything I was expecting praise. After assuring me that this was not an insult, but simply his silly philosophical reflections, although hurt, I turned off my phone and attempted to get back to Buzzfeed.
That was when the self-analysis started. Why do I post selfies? Why does everyone post selfies? Why does everyone look amazing in their selfies? And why does everyone want to look amazing in their selfies?
Why do we bother when we go through 4 changes in lighting, 2 outfit changes and a reapplication of make up to achieve the perfect selfie? It seemed to me, there was a clear answer. I want people to think I am pretty. I like the attention I get when I post a nice picture of myself, it makes me feel attractive. Don’t we all?
There is a distinct difference between liking attention, and needing it.
Today, I feel it is very easy to slip down into the ‘need’ hole, whereby you rely only on the love and attention from others, and lack any self-love. Being the people pleaser that I am, I hated the thought of anyone not liking me. It kept me up at night if I caused anyone to dislike anything I said, or if I said something that they might have misinterpreted to be mean. As a result, people would always say how nice I am, and how lovely I am. I also do some modelling, and with that, comes people saying that I am beautiful and pretty. I get a few hundred likes on my Instagram selfies, that must mean people like me. After adding these factors and many others, I came to the conclusion that I relied too much on people’s love for me to love myself.
This morning I posted a selfie. And I posted it for attention. Not so people can see what I am up to, not so that people know where I am. I posted it entirely to gain the attention for others. And hey, that isn’t a bad thing.
We all like attention. I’m not saying that I’m going to go on an anti-selfie rage and refuse to ever post a picture of myself again. Heck no. I have simply recognised the danger and distinction of liking attention vs needing it. I don’t want to rely on others to feel pretty – nobody should.
My boyfriend hates my instagram. He loves me, and would never want me to feel that I need the exterior attention to feel beautiful. All this mini-musing is trying to say is,
When you next post a selfie, why are you posting it? Is it for attention? If yes, is it because you like it, or you need it?
In some ways, aren’t we all attention seekers? Who knows.