Let’s leave selfies and selfishness behind us in 2017

I’m resolving to forgo selfies and take more pictures of other people in the new year. Will you join me?

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We’re only a couple of days away from a brand new year, and as the end of this year draws closer, the “best of 2016” lists are all rolling out: best movies, best charities, best sports plays, and so on. Like so many others, I love reading about and re-watching the top moments that 2016 brought us; it’s a nice way to reflect on the passage of time in our own lives.

But there’s one trending ‘Best of 2016’ list that I can’t appreciate: The #BestSelfies2016.

When this particular list popped up on my Twitter feed, I felt a large eye-roll coming on. Because if there is something I think we should see less of in 2017, it’s selfies. From SnapChat to Instagram, our social media encourages us to take the perfect selfie. That means we turn away from an important event or gathering we’re at to whip out our phone cameras and take a picture of ourselves.

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We think it will only take a second. But, if you’re like me, it’s never just a quick picture. After the picture is taken, then comes the editing and touching up to make sure the photo is just right. To make sure our faces look pretty, and the background looks impressive. And it’s all just so … contrived.

After a 2016 full of selfies, this year, let’s reject the trend of self-indulgence and artifice, and instead pick up habits of selflessness and authenticity.

Often I find myself filtering my off-screen life as well: I tell people that I’m “doing fine” and bury my stress deeper in an attempt to make it look like I’ve got it all together.”

Don’t get me wrong, I’ve been guilty of quite a bit of selfie taking and photo editing myself. On Christmas Eve this year, I put on a fancy dress and spent quite a bit of time on my makeup. After snapping a selfie, I flipped over to the editing tool on my phone’s photo app. I went to town and filtered the heck out of one photo. After a couple of swipes, I realized that what I was left with was a girl who was me, but not quite. Her skin was smoother. Her face was a little thinner. It was like Chloe, the improved version. And I realized I didn’t like it.

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I’m a perfectionist, which is what probably draws me to the filtered life. With these quick selfie-adjustments no one could see my flaws, my not-so-hot makeup application skills and that spot of acne that I’ve been dealing with this month. But the older I get, the more I feel that I’m falling out of love with this perfected, digital version of myself. The more I become comfortable with who I truly am (imperfect flaws and all), the less I want to see of this “perfect Chloe.”

In some ways, I realize that I’ve been letting this other version of myself—”perfect Chloe”—take over more than just my camera phone. Not only have I been filtering my photos, but what I say in my social media posts … and even in my off-screen life as well. I tell people that I’m “doing fine” and bury my stress deeper in an attempt to make it look like I’ve got it all together. I avoid heart-to-heart conversations because something may come up that makes me uncomfortable. But I want that to stop. And, if you feel the same way I do, I want you to stop, too.

This year, resolve to take pictures of other people more than you take pictures of yourself.”

My challenge today is not necessarily to just post on unedited photo of yourself. Because I think posting that one little photo probably won’t change yourselfie-mentality off-screen. Instead, let’s work on taking the filter off your interactions with others. Be vulnerable. Admit fault. Ask for help. Because people want to get to know you—the real you. I want people to get to know the Chloe Mooradian who is afraid of fish, who is drinking her fourth cup of coffee today, and who is turning off her photo filters. Because that Chloe is a much more interesting person than the one who posts perfect selfies to social media.

So I ask you: What would happen if 2017 was the year we removed filters and selfies from our lives? This year, let’s live life fully without a gauge of “likes” and comments on our photos. Resolve to take pictures of other people more than you take pictures of yourself. Or leave the phone in our pocket, and truly be present to celebrate other people’s joyful moments and accomplishments throughout this upcoming year. Let’s make this year a time of selflessness, not selfies.

Chloe Mooradian
Chloe Mooradian
Chloe Mooradian is a recent graduate of Washburn University, where she studied history. She loves Pope John Paul II, listening to Ben Rector, and hiking mountain trails. When she's not buried in a stack of books, you'll find her writing on her blog, hanging out with her seven awesome siblings or spending time with her husband, Joseph. Her life goal is to become the patron saint of coffee addicts.

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