Are Selfies Promoting Narcissism on Instagram?

We are living in a world that is full of self-promotion, and social media feeds full of people taking selfies with iPhones and saying “Hey see, my life is better than yours!”. Taking selfies in their luxurious homes and cars has become a common trend among millennials. Many of them show traits of narcissism and call themselves social media influencers. People look selfie as a popular self-promotion tool, and it helps to manage impressions of others towards them.

When looking for the meaning of selfie here is what I found – “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and shared via social media.” So selfies are generally meant to share what is going on in your life from your phones. It is not to show your iPhones and show how your life is considerably better than others. And for that matter, some people even buy Instagram likes.

That does not mean all selfies taken are bad, a fair share of selfies on social media are taken for all the excellent reasons like to convey happiness, share what’s happening in their life. Apart from this, selfies have been seen as a way to boost self-esteem and get instant impressions from other people.

These impressions in the form of likes may help us when we start but the real struggle starts when our expectations increase. We aren’t happy with the same numbers of likes we got a week or a month ago, we want more people to follow us to get more likes on our posts. We may make assumptions like, “that person got 500 likes on his post. Why can’t I be that popular as him?” The social media which seemed to be the therapy for depression comes out as the main reason for depression.

How selfies relate to narcissism

When we value and appreciate ourselves, it is known as self-esteem. Self-esteem plays a very important role in motivation and success. But when we start to think ourselves perfect and think that we are better than anyone else then that self-ego is known as narcissism. American Psychiatrist M. Scott Peck said it best –

“Since narcissists deep down feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world’s fault.”

Narcissist people are in constant need of admiration from the outside world and social media plays a big role in that. According to a study published in The Open Psychology Journal, it was concluded that people who used social media excessively, through visual postings, displayed an average 25% increase in narcissist traits over 4 months of the study.

Many of the narcissist behavior is based on causes like expectations and self-centeredness. One of the common traits of narcissism is an excessive need for admiration which can be seen in many of the millenials on social media. We want to be popular and well known and most importantly respected by other peoples. More often than not this is what the definition of success for Millenials is.

In the contemporary world, success is defined by how popular you are and how many likes you get on your selfie with your expensive watches and bikes. I call it too difficult to succeed that way, you can be successful without being popular or without having to post about how successful you are on social media. Success is a feeling and comes from inside and getting affirmation from other people won’t do much to make you feel more successful.

Does that mean you should stop posting selfies?

Absolutely not. Selfies are a great way to share what is going on in your life with other people. Like selfie when you are traveling somewhere and want to share your experience, or just want to share something interesting happening in your life. It is a great tool to share feelings with others and people who care about you.

But the problem comes only when we obsess too much on our lives and when we want to show off how your life is better than others. Seriously no one likes to see that and don’t let those likes or dislikes control your mood. They will admire you when you are being your original self and not some person who likes to show off their wealth, beauty, or how lavish their life is through selfies.

If you want to enjoy social media, be gentle towards others, post what you really like, and create original content. Even though social media is a world full of expectations let them not disappoint you if it is not fulfilled. Make yourself strong enough to handle criticism, don’t expect too much from others.

A follower is just your fan and it’s not very difficult to unfollow if they find you a narcissist. If people find that you are only here to show off your expensive items, you would lose your followers sooner than you think. Instead provide them something they love and connect to, share the amazing experience you had on hiking through a selfie. Share how you enjoyed your day cooking your favorite dish. That’s the type of post people like to see and they are not interested in your iPhones mirror selfies.

Final Words

It is not very difficult to find people who keep promoting their life and think that their life is greater than the other. People like to flaunt their wealth, beauty, and their lavish lifestyle. It has become a trend for millennials to show their wealth. I have mentioned various downsides of narcissist behavior and it’s up to you to follow the trend or not.

Social media plays a very important role in our lives and helps to connect with other people and share our happiness. If you use social media correctly then people will acknowledge your work, thus increasing your following. If you want others to think good about you then think good about others and have empathy for other peoples and make sure your post contains only those things which reflect your life.

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