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Science just confirmed that selfies are bad for us

(OPINION EDITORIAL) In this day and age, selfie is a common word, but are selfies bad for you? One research study suggest that selfies could come with unforeseen consequences.


Measuring up

Nearly everyone living in this day and age has taken at least one selfie. Have you ever wondered why we’re so fascinated with selfies? There’s something about scrolling through our social media feeds and seeing a tiny glimpse into someone else’s life that seems intriguing. However, a new study from Penn State University’s School of Communications suggests that frequently viewing other people’s selfies can decrease our own self-esteem and life satisfaction.

While connecting and re-connecting with friends is certainly good for your self-esteem, those selfies trigger an “upward social comparison, a very classic psychological phenomena,” according to one researcher.

In essence, selfies can make you feel like you’re not measuring up to your peers.

Selfies are bad you say?

The same is true for entrepreneurs, in my opinion. Often entrepreneurs will scroll through endless posts on Instagram looking for inspiration, validation, or sympathy from others’ posts.

Even if the message is inspirational, there’s a chance we might feel we can’t measure up unless we “hustle” harder, longer, or more frequently than our peers.

Reading a post about someone’s daily “hustle” can make us feel inadequate if we aren’t “hustling” quite as hard. No two people deal with the same issue the same way every time. Everyone finds their own way in life, and seeing everyone else’s success when you’re currently experiencing a struggle can feel completely defeating.

Instead of scrolling and comparing, we should be looking for things that give us joy, rather than things that cause us stress. Now, there’s nothing wrong with enjoying other people’s images, lives, and families, but be mindful of how you’re feeling and take a break from technology when needed.

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How to remedy the selfie blues

The remedy for this constant “must-measure-up-to-everyone” syndrome is to understand that what you see online, by and large, is what people want you to see.

Typically, what people post online is the very best versions of themselves; selfies have often been airbrushed, filtered, and enhanced.

Inspirational posts are typically posted when the very poster is in need of help.

Even on our best days, we all have moments that are less than glamorous. We need to remember that what people post online is not the complete context of their personal or professional lives, but rather a tiny glimpse of an isolated moment. So rock on with what makes you happy and don’t worry if you don’t have ten perfect vacation shots, a newly closed deal, or the perfect gym sweat picture to post online.

We’re all amazing in our own ways and we don’t need to measure our awesomeness against some else’s.


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Jennifer Walpole is a Senior Staff Writer at The American Genius and holds a Master's degree in English from the University of Oklahoma. She is a science fiction fanatic and enjoys writing way more than she should. She dreams of being a screenwriter and seeing her work on the big screen in Hollywood one day.

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