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The ‘selfie’ has become part of everyday life; so much so, that the Oxford English Dictionary declared it the word of 2013.
Taking a ‘selfie’ could be seen as selfish or self-centred, which is only one click away from being egotistical.
This fails to take into account the many socially therapeutic reasons why your self-esteem (and sense of humour) may benefit from taking a ‘selfie’ or three.
Taking selfies... good for the soul?
For example, you can take a selfie to:
1. Exercise your face muscles – The smile, frown, double chin and duck face are all valid ‘selfie’ manoeuvres which, if exercised often, may help you maintain facial elasticity and health.
2. Express your creativity – The self-portrait has a long and rich history in Art (think Rembrandt, Van Gogh and Picasso). Artistic decisions about framing a full face, half face, tilt or asymmetrical ‘selfie’ add richly to this tradition.
3. Let others know you are okay – If you have sustained an injury of any sort, this selfie is valuable not only for showing the damage, but also for reassuring people you are okay.
According to Dr Karl Kruszelnicki, this is the origin of the modern selfie with the first official use of the word ‘selfie’ in 2002 when Nathan Hope (aka ‘Hopey’) posted a photo he’d taken of himself with a facial injury sustained at a friend’s 21st, to the Dr Karl Self-Serve Science Forum on the ABC.
4. Get close to others – Aside from being fun, the very nature of the group selfie requires you to abandon personal space and get close to people (think Ellen at the Oscars… wow, did that group get close!).
5. Increase your social prestige – Another benefit of the group selfie is its ability to enhance your popularity and to give the appearance that you are the life of the party (again, think Ellen).
6. Prove you’ve ‘been there, done that’ – The ‘selfie’ provides valuable evidence that you are indeed crossing things off your bucket list (think terrified skydiving ‘selfie’ or romantic Taj Mahal ‘selfie’).
7. Make wardrobe choices – When considering what to wear, the mirror ‘selfie’ can be useful to ask others, or to save yourself the embarrassment of asking others, ‘Does my bum look big in this?’ (think Kim Kardashian… hmmm, may be not… this about self-esteem and wardrobe choices).
8. Claim your ‘15 minutes of fame’ – Choose the right moment for a ‘selfie’ and you could enjoy your Andy Warhol ‘15 minutes of fame’ when it goes viral (think Glasgow Commonwealth Games ‘selfie’ by Australian Hockey players, Jayde Taylor and Brooke Peris, photobombed by the Queen).
9. Overcome separation anxiety – The ‘selfie’ is a great way to let absent friends know you miss them and wish they were ‘here’ (wherever ‘here’ maybe).
10. Improve your fine motor skills and problem solving – Apart from the hand eye co-ordination required to take a selfie, creative problem solving does not go astray either (think selfie extension pole that attaches to your phone/camera to give you extra arm length - a money maker for someone since selfies hit the big time).
So, if ever you’re feeling a tad vain or self-conscious when taking a ‘selfie’, reassure yourself with any or all of the above, or learn to express yourself in other ways!