#Selfies for Self-Compassion. Image, Identity + Instagram

selfies and self compassion bali health retreats

Close to three-quarters of us have smartphones, and at least a third of the pictures taken are selfies.

There are many who are quick to claim that selfies are self-indulgent, destructive or fake. With filters, highlighting and best angles its easy to see how a selfie can be a constructed image, more fantastical than realistic.

And yet, your smartphone and your selfies can be used as tools for good, particularly in the practice of mindfulness and self-compassion.

The very question at the core of buddhist teachings on meditation and mindfulness is “how can we go from distraction, to being in the present moment?”

David Ulrich the photographer, whose book – The Zen Camera states that “The camera is a discipline that can foster mindful awareness, with part of our attention going out to the world and part of our attention remaining inward to observe how our senses, feelings, and mind respond to the world.”

With incredibly powerful cameras that fit into most pockets, (except womens jeans) our ability to simply see, and find your authentic way of seeing has never been more available. Ulrich enthuses “The camera can be an enjoyable way of learning about your own nature.”

So, is there a more authentic way to learn about yourself than a shameless selfie? Self reflection through your self image?

Social media allows the easy communication of one’s own image to others. This is where mindfulness comes in, in the presentation, the self presentation.

Self-presentation has four dimensions:

Breadth – the amount of information revealed.
Depth – intimacy of the information.
Positivity – how positive or negative the image is.
Authenticity – level of genuine representation.

All these dimensions play a big role in identity development. The two aspects of identity development are self-esteem and identity clarity.

So how do you work all this into your selfie? By practicing self-compassion through emotional healing – being able to turn toward and acknowledge our difficult thoughts and feelings (such as inadequacy, sadness, anger, confusion) with a spirit of openness and curiosity. Self-compassion involves responding to these difficult thoughts and feelings with kindness, sympathy and understanding so that we soothe and comfort ourselves when we’re hurting. Want to know more about self-acceptance? Click here for our blog post.

Your selfie can be a way to counter stress through greater self awareness. Taking a snapshot and forgiving yourself, allowing any flaws you may perceive to have, to just be. I’m not saying don’t put a filter on, or touch up the image -that’s up to you. But in the process, acknowledge the way you feel, allow it to be, and then release any negative emotions towards it. The very essence of touching up a selfie is, a like a meditation. You’re brought into the moment to focus on pure self reflection. It’s being mindful in these moments to be forgiving that is important and may take practice. Want to know other ways to cultivate self-love? Click here for our self-love and yoga blog post.

Self-compassion is the picture we should be taking of ourselves and sending out to the world. It’s us seeing our pain as part of the larger, universal picture of being human, and seeing ourselves as worthy of kindness and care. And it’s not weak or passive, or narcissistic and self-indulgent. It takes guts to practice, and science shows that it can do much to lower anxiety, stress reactions, depression, and perfectionism. It can open you up to your life, whereas your old patterns or reactions and self-judgment close you down.

So take your selfies, practice love, mindfulness, acceptance, self awareness and self healing. At Goddess Retreats we are for selfies, we are for self love, and it’s time to reclaim the selfie as a tool for good. #selfiesforselflove

Want to learn more about self-compassion? Click here for our blog post on compassion practice.

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