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Revealed: The Real Reason We Take Selfies

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You’d be lying if you said that you weren’t guilty of taking a selfie. We’re not talking about thrice-a-day pics of yourself all over Instagram, with only a vague inspirational quote to thinly disguise the fact that you’ve simply posted a snap of you that you feel you look good in. Just a regular photo you’ve taken of yourself.

We’ve had all of arguments about how society is growing worryingly narcissistic and that we’ve all ben sucked into a black hole of self-absorption and incessant vanity. Other people argue that with selfies, they are documenting their lives and making memories.

But of course, there is always the whole psychological route to explore. Why do we take them? What really possesses us to turn the camera on ourselves and then share it with the world (wide web)?

A study from the SUNY University at Buffalo has explored this. It looked at the relationship between social media and self-worth. Its findings were that those who actually base their self-worth on the opinions of others are the ones more likely to upload the selfie. According to the study, “it may be the case that people who base their [self-esteem] on appearance do not necessarily believe that they are capable of competing socially in this domain.”

Dr Pamela Rutledge spoke to Bustle and explained that once there is a reason behind taking a selfie and posting it, then that’s a-okay. Rutledge explains, “if you are saying, ‘I’m taking this selfie to show that I’m at the gym again today,’ ‘I’m taking this selfie because I love this cup of coffee,’ or ‘I’m taking this selfie because I want to tell my sister how much I love the present she sent me’ then that makes sense.  In other words, uses that [reflect] fundamentally positive emotions so that when you revisit them, you feel good.”

So while selfie-taking is no crime, if you’re one of the zillion-a-day for no particular reason, maybe stop and just ask yourself why you’re doing this. Sharing on social media is fantastic but it is so easy to fall into a dangerous cycle of posting selfies simply for likes. While a little confidence boost is harmless, just remember: a little red heart on Instagram isn’t gonna solve your confidence woes forever.

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