Selfies to Self-Destruction
From when we are young, our brains are trained to build confidence as we embrace the beauty in our flaws, our individuality and we encourage our self-worth. However, in recent years, Whitney Houston’s signature message, “The Greatest Love of All”, seems to have gotten lost in translation. Current news has highlighted many media driven stories and topics, often linking selfies with mental disorders and the effects that cause their behavior.
Expert psychologists are sharing their studies with the public and the results are concerning. Narcissism, OCD, superficial obsessions, unrealistic expectations, entitlement, insecurity, all inner traits that can be magnified through selfies and lead to destructive behaviors.
“Today too many people are interested in making a statement about themselves on the Internet and creating an influential existence. Selfies, when used to excess, show a lack of depth and a shallow personality. If someone is obsessed with taking selfies it is most likely because the individual is self-absorbed and narcissistic,” says clinical psychologist, Bart Rossi.
As people share their photos on every social media platform available, they are disclosing more about themselves than they realize. When a female expresses herself in a half-naked selfie with an obscure musical lyric underneath, what is she really saying about herself? It is a clear attempt and reach for reassurance of her appearance and attention, a complete lack of substance. To some individuals this is simply an obvious confirmation of deeper rooted issues than she ever meant to expose. Men pose in front of bathroom mirrors claiming to show off their transformational fitness and health results, but in actuality they are trying to feed their own egos as they boast about an accomplishment that is appealing to the masses.
Individuals gratify this type of behavior and obtain happiness based on the amount of ‘likes’ they receive. Before picking apart every detail of the image to ensure they reached maximum potential competing with professional “Photoshop” techniques, they base their entire motivation on outsourced approval and praise.
The evidence is clear as we are a nation obsessed with ourselves in every essence of the word. The trend has become so prominent in our society, the term has been added to Meriam-Webster dictionary. It also provided inspiration for a hit song, parodying our own self-obsession. However, we did not let that stop our need to over flood the internet with images of ourselves.
The physical ideals are only branding themselves in a stronger, more unrealistic capacity, as selfies are causing increasing cases of body dysmorphic disorder among young women and men. Filters, lighting, and angles provide the outcome of flawless features that simply aren’t an accurate portrayal of reality, nor can they be recreated.
Although there is plenty of negative feedback, Dr. Rossi, attempts to justify a different aspect of selfies. He says, “Selfies can be used to have some fun and actually show some good traits of individuals exploring life, happiness, and adventure.”
Two different perceptions that can lead to a false sense of over-confidence (cockiness) and entitlement, or a false sense of self-consciousness accompanied by bigger issues that will affect multiple areas of one’s life. Either direction, selfies are classified as being responsible for more negative than positive, referencing back to sociology’s behavior context of “I vs. Me vs. Self,” and what is real.
Links between selfies and mental disorders have been rampant on the media in recent months. However, people don’t seem to be phased by the negative attachment and continue to post their over indulgent selfies as often as the enablers who fill the void, double-tap the photos.
The selfie addiction is alarming to psychological healthcare professionals who fear we are raising a generation that relies on attention-seeking social dependence, with no communication skills, compassion, understanding, or identity of any kind.
Dr. Bart Rossi questions, “Where is the sensitivity, creativity, thoughtfulness, and real assistance for others?”
About Dr. Bart Rossi Pd. D.
Dr. Rossi is NJ Licensed Psychologist and author of The New-New American Life Style: Post September 11, 2001, A Psychologist’s Perspective – who began his career providing psychological care to a wide-range of clientele — through private practice, medical centers and other organizations, state-wide. Also, a Diplomate in Clinical Psychology, an extremely exclusive certification among his peers and colleagues, solidifying his credibility in mental and clinical health.
Served as co-Director of the Independent Child Study Teams, Inc. in Jersey City, and also as Director of the Adolescent Counseling Center of Somerset County. Founder of the Rossi Psychological Group, P.A, where — as CEO — he oversaw a group comprised of over 50 licensed psychologists and medical professionals possessing expertise in specialized clinical areas. The Rossi Psychological Group then became an affiliate of Vericare, the largest behavioral health company in the U.S.
Throughout the years he has worked with the New Jersey Parole Board Psychological Evaluations of Inmates, the New Jersey Department of Corrections [for the specialized training of 6,000+ Corrections Officers], the Hudson County Employee Assistance Program, and has been a Keynote speaker for the American Psychological Association Annual Practice Directorate Meeting [with representatives from all 50 states.]
Article By: Jessica Schirripa