{not defined by her selfie}

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jennifer wagner

You know the drill. Scroll through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, etc. and look at all the gorgeous pictures. By now we’ve learned the perfect angle for the camera, how to tilt our head just barely to the side, chin to the shoulder, jaw slightly dropped and lips ever-so-slightly puckered….But only on a day we have bangin’ makeup, flawless hair, and a fierce look in our eyes. For these are the pictures we will cherish forever. Some of us have even gone so far as to completely plan our day around what these pictures will look like. After all, going shopping on a Saturday is fun. But going to the mall in a super cute pair of boyfriend jeans, a navy-and-white-striped long-sleeve tee with perfectly chosen earrings and flats looks so much better in the snaps we’ll take throughout the day. We’ll get completely ready, and by the time we get to the car, the lighting will be perfect, the sun will be beautifully bursting from the background, and the makeup and hair will have set just so. We’ll snap a few (or twenty, or thirty, or, oh heck just do a burst of photos for goodness sake) shots just to make sure we get the image of perfection. To top it all off, we’ll add a great caption, an inspirational quote, or the perfect hashtag(s)—#werk #nofilter #slayingtheday #winning.

But beyond a picture, what is the craze behind all our selfies? Obviously there’s something that makes us love them so. I mean, take a scroll back through your last 100-or-so photos—you know you’re guilty too! Sure, our reasons may vary—and some may not have any specific reason at all. But there has to be something, right?
In my extremely positive-spinning mind, I’d like to think we’re all obsessed with selfies for the simple reason that we love to capture the memories we make every day. We have a healthy love and appreciation for ourselves and we at least like ourselves enough to want to look back and cherish the fun adventures we had with ourselves every day.

But as positive as I am and as pure as my intentions are, I’ve got to admit—it’s more than that, too. I’m guilty! I really am. I’m far from perfect but I spend more time than I care to admit (or even think about) thinking about that perfect selfie. What’s with that? After all, we are all far from perfect.

And that’s a good thing.

Perfection is impossible to attain. We can strive for it and reach for excellence in any given area of our lives, but we will never actually achieve perfection. Sometimes our selfies can become so glamorized and even exaggerated to the point that they drastically build up the image we are trying to portray and simultaneously make those we care about feel like that level is impossible to reach. Our “perfection”—faux as it may be—can turn from an innocent way to capture memories and quickly turn into an identity project.

I’m just worried that that identity may not be our own.

As we constantly fill our minds with amazing images of our friends and loved ones—celebrating their great days, snazzy bags, and yummy dinners—it can be easy to quickly forget that they are normal people, too. We somehow spin those perfect selfies into much much more than a simple snap (or three, or thirty-five or so), into an unattainable level of flawlessness. As if we don’t all wake up with puffy eyes, rooster-like hair, and even less-than-flattering breath. Oh, just me? 😉

…just checked with the hubs. He confirms. It’s bad.

The hours upon hours we spend mindlessly scrolling through our smartphones can create an indirect message that we ourselves have something to prove to the world. That we can keep up with that persona. That we can be beautiful too. That we measure up. That we should.

We parallel ourselves with these gorgeous images, not even realizing we are doing so, because this is what we are constantly seeing. We forget there are filters (except for #nofilter selfies of course), editing apps, and lighting tricks that can drastically enhance our already beautiful selves. We forget that that one photo was the best out of 58 and lots of adjustments, re-puckering, and finely tuned sucking it in happened in between. But still, we compare.

We compare, compare, compare. We compare ourselves to the point that we are crazily trying to uphold our own image of stardom. On the flipside, we put others on a pedestal that is forever elevating beyond our reach.

But no more.

NO MORE, LADIES.

Ok pause. Wait a minute. Slow down there, cowgirl. I know I tend to be a bit passionate, like basically all the time. But I’m totally not trying to end the selfie movement. What I’m trying to do is to shake you (figuratively, of course) into realizing that selfies are a beautiful thing, but they don’t define who we are. Nor do they need to define how we should feel about ourselves, or how we should feel about someone else whose selfies float through our social media. We just need to slow down for a moment and realize that a selfie is just a little snapshot of a moment when someone felt beautiful. We can celebrate that in one another, and we can certainly snap our own selfies when feeling beautiful.

But please. Don’t let your whole identity or even the mood of your day rise and fall on your selfie or that of someone else. Know that you are a rockstar and you are slaying the day beautifully, as YOU choose to do so. Not so that you can look a certain way in the eyes of others, but so that you can yourself know your worth and build your worth within the amazing truth of the real you.

You are not defined by your selfie.

Seemed fitting to finish this blog post up with an obligatory selfie. I swear I only took one.
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  • Kimberly Whipple
    April 9, 2016 at 6:57 AM

    I love this post!! I know I struggle with comparison of physical comparison and it is so easy to get caught up in the idea of perfection. I love campaigns like Dove that remind women that regardless of what we do in life we are all women and like your post said, we all wake up looking a mess 🙂

    • Jennifer Wagner
      April 9, 2016 at 10:17 AM

      Thanks for writing, Kimberly!! You are so right. I love those campaigns too because they tear down the mask of perfection! There is so much more to our awesomeness than meets the eye!

  • Dena Vanlengen
    April 9, 2016 at 7:06 AM

    I love this post. What an awesome message for women in this day of age. I feel like we really do wake up some days and plan our day around what awesome snaps we can get – instead of enjoying the day and making memories!
    “Know that you are a rockstar and you are slaying the day beautifully, as YOU choose to do so. Not so that you can look a certain way in the eyes of others, but so that you can yourself know your worth and build your worth within the amazing truth of the real you.” Love this!

    • Jennifer Wagner
      April 9, 2016 at 10:19 AM

      Thank you for writing, Dena!! I agree. I am
      all for savoring the moments and making memories!

  • Aileen Cazanas
    April 9, 2016 at 7:47 AM

    Bless your heart! I struggle still, today with self comparison and won’t dare take a picture and post it anymore without make up on. I’m learning to embrace myself with out any IG filters, & natural beauty. After all, make up only enhances our natural beauty. Thank you for this.

    • Jennifer Wagner
      April 9, 2016 at 10:21 AM

      Thanks for writing, Aileen!! Yeah once we strip away all the filers and such we find we’re all imperfectly perfect! <3

  • Renea Taylor
    April 9, 2016 at 8:57 AM

    What a wise wise woman and wise words. This is so important to let women know their worth is so far beyond the best or worst picture of the day!!! Great blog!!!

    • Jennifer Wagner
      April 9, 2016 at 10:23 AM

      Why thank you. Some awesome lady who raised me instilled some beautiful foundational characteristics in me and it shaped me into who I am. Love you, mom. 🙂

    • Ashley Solberg
      April 9, 2016 at 10:49 AM

      Thank you for raising such a wonderful young lady! She is truly a gift!!!

  • Melissa
    April 9, 2016 at 12:18 PM

    Beyond perfect, first blog post! Definitely sharing this with my two daughters and my son for that matter. Thank you, super stoked about this blog & look forward to seeing it grow!!

    • Jennifer Wagner
      April 10, 2016 at 2:50 PM

      So glad you like this Melissa!! Thank you so much for reading!!

  • Julie
    April 11, 2016 at 10:53 AM

    SO. WELL. WRITTEN. I have to say, you are too cute. I felt like I could hear you saying all of these things, felt like we were having a conversation. So real. So needed.
    I also struggle with the comparison game as well as the social media black hole. I feel we so often compare our “backstage/dirty stuff/real life” to everyone else’s “highlight reel/postworthy pics/picture perfectness”. So thankful that God cares about it all – the dirty, messiness that we are and loves us just the same. 🙂 Grace. Amazing grace.

    • Ashley Solberg
      April 11, 2016 at 10:58 AM

      Thank you for stopping by Julie! Isn’t Jennifer amazing? That was an awesome post. I hope you will continue to follow us as there is so many wonderful, uplifting things headed your way! Hope you have a wonderful day!