Published On : Sat, Jun 4th, 2016

Selfie exhibitionism a narcissistic obsession! Are you obsessed with taking selfies?

Selfie Dr. Rajan Pandey
Today if you go anywhere right from a wedding or to a birthday party what do you see that keeps everyone more busy than the ceremonial rituals? ‘Selfie’! It has become a gruesome addictive obsession! Pouts and duck face everywhere I go. Your girlfriend/wife, your cousin, your niece everyone is gone bewitched over selfies.

Everyone takes selfies today don’t they!
People like to upload these selfies on various social networking platforms: for instance Instagram’s mainstay is on photos clubbed with an array of hashtags complementing them, or whereas Facebook anchors on posts, tagging friends and on checking number of likes received, microblogging site Twitter has its users flooding with photos and vines! And it’s not the end of the list, people upload their profile pictures on Whatsapp to which it’s dedicated users check the pics and statuses of the contact lists. And the net savvy lads do everything everyday as a part of a ritual! They live and eat on social networking. The problem statement is so big that if you measure the magnitude, the internet being a world and selfie was water there would be nothing else but water!!

Believe it or not, as harmless as these acts seem, they have made us victims of our own crime, it has exposed us to a great number of risks. The obsession is silently becoming a killer! This new serial killer is trending, as a matter of fact Indians have topped the list of number if selfie deaths and there is nothing to be boastful about it. People are indulging in this risky business for that perfect click! Not just this, selfies build up over time to create and create great forms of self consciousness and false sense of confidence. Instead of being okay with who we are no matter what, we strive to find the right picture with all the perfect details. The more ‘likes’ we get on social media sites the happier we are. The big question here is that is this sustainable?

The word “selfie” was elected “Word of the Year 2013” by the Oxford English Dictionary. It is defined as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website”.

Is it something we really should be worried about, or is it just an innocent case of people being empowered on a microblogging platform like Twitter or Instagram or Facebook?

We run into at least 10 people daily who stop on fast-moving, heavily-populated sidewalks, malls escalators just to take a #selfie. There is no historical building behind them, no beautiful landscape, no real reason to take a picture of themselves other than the fact that they can reverse the camera on the phone, gaze at their own visage, and then share it on social media so the rest of the world can gaze upon it as well.

No one is immune not you, not me, not anyone whosoever has a smartphone in his/her hands is a casualty to this ‘Epidemic’. Even celebrities who you’d think are already getting enough of media attention are still drawn to the cheap narcissistic release provided by selfies.

Last year selfie caused death of 27 people in India where the worldwide figures mark less than half of this number! Providing enough evidence that Indians are most reluctant on thinking of safety and also most audacious for social media attention. The growing trend of taking smartphone selfies is linked to mental health conditions that focus on a person’s obsession with looks.According to a study Two out of three patients of Body Dysmorphic Disorder since the rise of camera phones have a compulsion to repeatedly take and post selfies on social media sites.

The problem statement doesn’t end here, Currently there is no treatment for this obsessive illness but Cognitive behavioral therapy is used to help a patient recognize the reasons for his or her compulsive behavior and then to learn how to moderate it.

The biggest problem with the rise of digital narcissism is that it puts enormous pressure on people to achieve unfeasible goals. To look like a poster model is hard enough already, but when you are not prepared to work hard to achieve it, you should be better off just lowering your aspirations rather than lowering the self-esteem. Yet when these efforts are reinforced and rewarded by others, they perpetuate the distortion of reality and consolidate narcissistic delusions.

It is believed that behaviors could generate brain problems in the future, especially those related to lack of confidence. So get over of the selfitis and start living in the real world beyond your digital realm!

Dr. Rajan Pandey
M.B.B.S., M.D. Radio-Diagnosis (schol.),
Author, Blogger& Columnist.
Twitter: @rajanpandey001