I do this regular gig in concert with Dawn Taylor. This week again we were hard at the conversation and she mentioned that it is common for high schoolers in her world to take hundreds of selfies every day. Every day. If you are one of those who is prone to the lens, with pouting lips and that one leg in front of the other to prop up your boobs and make you look thinner, you may have issues. That’s right, I’m talking about you Steve. We all know you are beautiful and you don’t need to point it out. You have it going on, baby, you’re perfect just the way you are. Shine girl.
I have a couple of friends who post selfies about stages of their life, or every once in while when they feel like it. I’m not talking to you. Hundreds. Fake accounts to try out 350 selfies, a panacea of self-indulgent spam all designed to see which pouty face plays best with a test audience.
Psychology geeks tend to look at life through a particular lens, and if you ask for my professional opinion the selfie thing is far more telling than the average low-grade narcissist may realize. There definitely, absolutely positively is an insane relationship between people who constantly take selfies and words like narcissism and insecurity and trauma. Your incessant need to show other people how you look and love and live (gag) throws up huge red flags to the people around you who are, and I say this lovingly, sick of you posting selfies all the time in your unreal world of stunted happiness.
I’m coming on a little strong because we promised we would, and so the question for all of us is, in light of our addictions to our phones and our media, how self-absorbed do we want to become? Once the sex robots are sold on Amazon it’s going to be difficult to get anyone to listen for a decade, so we need to figure this out now. Our virtual existence allows us increasingly to confirm those neurotransmitters that are in the process of hardwiring humanities next phase of existence. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist (who incidentally wouldn’t know a thing about this topic so why do you care about their opinion) to know that we are blindly marching into the i-Store, blissfully yet unaware of the effects of such catastrophic technological and cultural changes on our perceptions of reality, and that’s not even mentioning the effect of lassoing our wills to our technology (and that phone I panic over when I forget it at a restaurant).
If you are having a crippling struggle with insecurity please talk to someone. If you are feeling a little bit narcissisty it is important for you and the people you love to have an accurate barometer for your behaviour. Recognize you have a problem and deal with it. The real reason that many people do not move beyond their defining dysfunction is because it’s damn hard and takes years. Most people don’t change because it’s too much work with little interim reward. We’re all insecure but if it is affecting your life to such a degree that you need validation from anonymous stranger-friends in the virtual world than recognize you have an issue and do something about it. You’re better than that, at least for now, and you don’t need 120 pictures of your blowfish lips to prove it. Let’s just say it – you’re definitely getting uglier the older you get, so lets all just deal with it and agree to keep lying to each other until it doesn’t matter anymore.
Which brings us to the point of this rant – it is my absolute belief that the secret of life (for me) is caring less what people who don’t matter think about me. I’ve had people who alleged they were my friends say atrocious things to my face and behind my back, and Counsellor Scott has worked this through and screw you. I’m good. I remember the first time someone slammed me hard on the internet, before I understood about trolls. It hurt my feelings. I’m a Canadian so I was looking for something much more passive-aggressive. My goal is to care less, not more, about the opinions of people who did not have my best interests at heart.
I’m fairly certain that someday that negative stuff sets in for good. Old people that complain all the time and middle-aged folks who are angry at the government and can find fault in any kind of happiness. Older adults that are still cripplingly anxious, talking about drivel that is mind-numbingly boring. Just kill me. Then again, some of us have grown up as entitled little prima donnas and honestly believe we are inherently better than other people. That stuff infects your soul. The beautiful people have other problems that I mostly don’t care about. You’re privileged, deal with it. Next.
Trauma is also on that list, to the surprise of some. People who are vapidly self-absorbed, who contort their body for 100 pictures at a time, have occasionally been through situations and realities that have scarred them and left them feeling hungry for approval and ultimately love. Terrible experiences can scar you in the most unusual ways. Maybe you were beaten or raped or violated in one of a hundred sick scenarios, anytime from a couple of months before you were born until you graduated from pre-school. Maybe your time came later. Broken hearts and bruised cheeks and someone telling you that you will always be a loser. The older I get the more ways I learn how we can hurt. Sleep issues, mood swings, panic attacks, problems with sustaining relationships of any kind, hyper-vigilence, difficulty with change or addiction to it, even attraction to the bad boy/girl can be an aftershock of getting the shit kicked out of you by your ex or hanging out with that creepy uncle. Some survivors have difficulty sticking with romantic relationships and are control freaks and obsess about how clean the kitchen counter is.
Reason #293 why psychology is cool.
Ask yourself, how often do I look at my body or obsess about a flaw or a judgment from someone whose opinion shouldn’t matter? How important are your looks, really really? I’m sorry I had to be the one to break it to you but no one cares this much about what your truck looks like when it’s dirty, it’s a truck. I’ve never dreamed about your truck. Stop posting pictures of the truck. Now you’ve done it, you have me in a loop. Truck.
No one cares if you are shopping. No one wants to see 24 pictures of you getting your stupid hair done. Give us one good picture of you and your bestie in front of the Great Wall of China and don’t stand in the way of the wall. You can post pictures from The Louvre or your skydiving adventure all day, but I can only absorb a limited number of pictures of you on a beach in the Caribbean before I begin to wish you ill will. One is nice, 50 pictures of you having fun makes me think you are rubbing my nose in it. And last, but certainly most gross, a few of you need to know that you’re making some of your friends horny and none of us wants to have to bring up that topic without tequila. Stop making us horny.
This is what I’m trying to learn – who cares what people think about me. If you are one of my chosen people than every concern you have is a valid one, but if I’m rarely or ever going to see that person again who the hell cares if they approve of me or not. You can’t be trolled on social media if you refuse to care about what anonymous idiots think of you or your work. Internet comments cannot hurt you unless you let them. I need to grow wise and kind and all that crap, I get it, but who really cares what a stranger thinks about me? Why oh why would I give a flying flip what some anonymous detractor or false friend thinks about my life or my behaviour? I have high quality friends who take delight in taking me down a peg, so why would I care what that person said about me on Facebook or to a friend of a friend of a friend of mine?
So think about this need to self-obsess. Some of us are spending way too much time getting our self esteem from our meat sack. Many of us are completely obsessed with our feelings and our hurts and our massive insecurities. I say this with no judgment, go get some help before its too late and you become that ugly version of yourself and die bitter.