8 Ways Selfies Are Bad for Your Self-Esteem

These days everyone is taking selfies. They can be a light-hearted way to snap some pictures of yourself doing your best pose in your favorite location. However, some studies have shown that they can impact your self-esteem and affect mental health.

For so many people on social media platforms and those struggling with anxiety and depression and feelings of not being good enough, selfies can be harmful. Explore how taking selfies and posting them for everyone to see could impact your self-esteem and how to improve your relationship with selfie-taking.

1. Selfies May Set Unrealistic Standards of Beauty

Some people post countless photos of themselves, including selfies you should never share on social media. Some post selfies to show themselves in their best light, while others do it to get a response.

In a study done by Child Mind Institute on how selfies affect girls’ self-esteem, researchers found that women take an average of seven shots to get one image. This may be because they are put under a lot of pressure to be “perfect.”

Some argue that influencers like Kim Kardashian set unrealistic beauty standards by using various filters and image editing techniques to craft the perfect images. With so many celebrities and influencers out there taking seemingly perfect selfies, it’s easy to feel your self-esteem negatively influenced by what you see on social media.

2. Seeing Countless Selfies Can Make You Preoccupied With Your Looks

With so many Instagram filters to utilize, it’s no wonder teens are spending hours on choosing one that makes them look amazing. There are also apps for lighting and apps that make your face look like you’ve just applied make-up. While it can be fun at first, it comes with a dark side which could lead to an obsession with wanting to look perfect.

With so much focus on having a great body, glowing skin, and shiny hair, selfies are a vessel that many are using to exhibit their ideal image. Of course, it’s not one picture they’re preoccupied with, but dozens of the same photos, re-done, put through filters, and touched up to create that “perfect” look.

3. Taking Selfies Could Put Pressure on You to “Look Like That”

It’s not just people you know that are posting selfies, it’s also influencers and celebrities. The pressure to look a certain way based on what you see on social media is becoming more and more real. But focusing on comparisons to the best versions these other people put forward can take away from what makes you unique. Instead, try to focus on enjoying who you are and recognizing that people’s online personas are very often different from who they are in real life.

4. Selfies Could Provoke Feelings of Anxiety

Hooded person taking a selfie on an Iphone

If you are not happy with your body type or self-image, or if you’re generally prone to feelings of not being good enough, selfies could exacerbate those feelings. For example, if you take a selfie and people in the comments respond negatively to how you look, your mood could take a real dive.

It’s all too easy to let nasty comments affect how you feel. But don’t let that stop you from posting selfies. Consider changing your privacy settings so that only friends can comment, or turn off comments altogether, if possible. You can also simply take selfies for yourself without posting them at all!

5. Viewing Selfies Might Provoke Obsessive Behaviors

Smiling woman taking a selfie

Exercising is healthy but if you become obsessed with it because of what you want to see in the selfie camera, the negative emotional effects might outweigh some of the physical benefits. Seeing perfect abs every time you open social media could lead to excessive calorie counting, over-exercising, and following potentially dangerous health trends and diets that aren’t backed up by science.

6. Posting Selfies for Social Media Likes Could Lead to Disappointment

After posting a selfie, many people await a response from their network. If there is a lack of responses or if the responses are negative, selfies can play a role in making you feel unsure and unworthy. People who have a tendency to feel insecure about their looks could take it very personally if they don’t get enough likes or comments.

Alternatively, if they receive nasty feedback or criticism, this could potentially have psychological consequences that are difficult to overcome. Remember that most people don’t have millions of followers or receive thousands of likes on every post.

7. Selfies Could Inspire Feelings of Jealousy or Envy

It’s not just someone’s looks that can make people jealous; it’s also their lifestyle, including their clothing, house, and job. When someone posts a selfie in front of their new home or inside their new car, this could trigger feelings of jealousy and envy for people who don’t have the same luxuries.

8. Taking Selfies Can Become a Negative Habit

Woman with a hat on taking a selfie

If you’ve formed a habit of taking a selfie wherever you go, chances are that snapping a photo of yourself is always on your mind. Posting selfies to get likes and satisfaction could quickly become an unhealthy habit.

Likewise, if you have a lot of followers who are expecting you to post regularly, you may feel like you need to post a selfie no matter how you feel or where you are. There are so many other ways to grow your confidence and boost your self-esteem online, you don’t have to constantly worry about taking selfies.

Take Selfies for Yourself, Not Just for Others

Taking selfies is not inherently bad. Whether you want to show yourself in attractive poses or show the world what you look like when you first get out of bed, there’s nothing wrong with turning the camera around and snapping a few selfies.

However, for many people out there, taking selfies could lead to negative experiences and low self-esteem. When a person’s main motivation is getting people to like them, investing so much time and energy into taking perfect selfies could take its toll. If you’re taking a selfie, do it for yourself, not just for others.

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