Selfies and selfie sticks have rapidly infected our society with the contagious disease of being self-centered. The "look at me" syndrome is nothing new, but when dramatically heightened through technology, it begs the question:
If we primarily focus on ourselves, what will we accomplish?
When I was going through challenging times in my life, I fully admit, I posted selfies. I realize this was because I was at a low point. I was insecure. I was lonely. I wanted recognition from likes and comments that all was going to be okay.
Interestingly enough, loneliness and selfishness go hand in hand as John T. Cacioppo, Hsi Yuan Chen, and Stephanie Cacioppo discovered in their research. Their article journals.sagepub.com/doi/abs/10.1177/0146167217705120 in the Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin reveals a reciprocal relationship between loneliness and being self-centered. If you're self-centered, you are more likely to be lonely, and if you're lonely, you're likely to become self-centered.
On the other hand, I realize social media sites are a way to connect and see how your friends and family are living their lives. But it's a fake connection. Let's be honest, social media sites also allow one to accumulate acquaintances and even strangers and 'watch' their lives through the photographs and comments they choose to post. It's a form of unhealthy voyeurism. I would much prefer to spend quality time with friends and family in real life. I want to celebrate their ups and support them in their lows.
So, I urge you to refocus your energies on others and the world. Here are 5 tips to help you:
1. Don't spend mindless time on social media sites. Disconnect from sites that encourage and promote self-centered behavior. This is one of the reasons Linked In is now the only network site I use as it feels like a true place to connect professionally with individuals. It's not a place to collect followers (although that is an option), it's rather a place to connect with leaders and innovators in your field and learn from them, as well as read interesting articles about a myriad of topics. Also, note the key term 'mindless'. Browsing to browse is unhealthy behavior.
2. Don't take pictures of yourself. Instead, photograph those you love, photograph nature, and even take an 'eye' photograph, this means no camera or technology needed. Just be fully present and enjoy the moment!
3. Don't just talk about yourself. When in conversation with another person, focus your energy to learn about the other person. Genuinely ask them how they are and listen. Be present. Don't bulldoze the conversation with your own thoughts. If you're speaking more than you're listening, it's a problem. Fix it.
4. Don't focus on selling yourself. Instead genuinely see how you can help someone else. If you have a service you want to offer, don't shove it down someone else's throat. Instead, seek to learn and find ways to be of service. If you can be helpful to others, the connection will naturally happen.
5. Don't plan your day/week/month/year without considering the needs of others. Take time each morning to think about ways you can be more present and helpful to others. If you have focused your entire day to only serve yourself and your needs, you will be stuck in a self-centered spiral and will gradually shut people out of your life.