Selfie Generation

a woman making a face with her tongue out taking a selfie What the heck? About 10 years ago, I had a rare visit from a long, lost cousin… actually, my cousin’s son, a generation behind me. He pulled out his phone and shared with me, photos from his travels. Every picture was of him in front of cool places. Selfies were not yet a complete phenomenon and certainly foreign to me. All I could think, at the time was; what a sad and lonely boy, (even though he was 30). He mustn’t have any friends. Poor guy has to take his own picture! That was my introduction to the selfie.

I don’t get it. I don’t want to criticize anybody. I just don’t get it. How important must people feel to constantly be taking pictures of themselves and posting them for all the world to see? Or how insignificant might they feel? Here I am having breakfast! Look at me with my dog! You’re gonna love this one; it’s me making a fish face! And this one’s gonna kill ya! (wait for it) It’s ME doing absolutely nothing!!

Posting a picture that somebody else has taken, I get that. Because it involves another person and their creative expression. I even get selfie as a joke, like, kissing a statue’s butt. But what I am seeing is this bizarre need to be seen. Hey, I even get that!  The selfie, to me, is a reflection of a self-absorbed culture or, at the very least, a culture of lonely people.

What if, the next time you got the urge to capture your adorable self in compact and dense pixelation, you turned the lens to focus on somebody else, or something beautiful you want others to see through your eyes? That says so much more about a person than another selfie could ever say.

Why am I on about this? Well, like I said, I don’t get it. My freedom and happiness is a direct result of turning my attention outward, to let my energy flow into the world. My days of self- involvement left me fraught with anxiety and the greatest lesson I learned in my quest for inner-peace was to give of myself to others. (Well, that and being thankful for all things.)

A wise man once told me this; when you’re feeling blue, anxious and needy, follow this formula DSFSQ (Do Something For Somebody Quick!). It works every time.

Another great man, Mohammed Ali, said (and I paraphrase); Care for others is the rent we pay for the privilege of living on this beautiful planet.

Long ago and far away, I had a three year old niece, who would march her chubby, naked self into a room full of grownups and commence to sing a song. Standing in the centre of the room, she grabbed every ounce of energy out there. But she was THREE! I think of that child still, each time I see another selfie, shot by thirty and forty somethings.

This animated short, I feel, is very poignant.

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