Unselfie; The Joy of Stepping Back

Unselfie?! Does this mean being selfless during the holiday season or are we talking about literally quitting with the mobile driven selfie shots (aka turning your camera view inwards for a self-portrait)? Answer: both.

The holiday season is a time to enjoy being present so that others can receive one of the most precious gifts we are capable of giving: undivided attention.  Taking a break from being “selfie-centered” is rewarding on many levels and there’s scientific data to back that up…


It’s incredible how many guests at special events spend the entirety of their time with their faces buried in mobile devices. Most of us can admit to both casting disapproving glances at people who whip out their handhelds at delicate times and at one time or another, being guilty of doing the same. I can remember one wedding in particular when I looked at the bride and groom’s table, beautifully decorated with flowers and special place settings, and over half of their attendants (at the same table) were tapping away at their phones, heads down and detached.

The selfie picture taking phenomenon is popular at weddings, family gatherings, date nights, parties, and more. It seems just about every moment of our lives can be broadcast in the form of selfies via social media. If you’re not in a generation that takes endless mobile photos then no doubt you are at least related to another woman who does this. She will probably try to take a selfie with you over the holidays! Selfies have even become a means of checking out how we look, almost akin to looking at one’s reflection in the mirror.

There are a few problems that come with the selfie culture though…

1) Selfies are a highlight reel. Endless filters and photo editing techniques distort the images from reality and allow us to only display the “most beautiful” versions of ourselves. Ever looked at social media sites and the endless attractive pictures of friends and strangers and felt like you just don’t measure up?

2) According to MailOnline Pat Hagan’s article, Looking in the mirror DOES make you more anxious about your looks, ten minutes of looking at your own reflection every day can increase anxiety.

3) Ellen Vora, MD with One Medical writes in her article 5 Health Hazards of an “Always On” Lifestyle :

“As much as we love the convenience of video chatting and Skype to interact with friends and family members, it’s still just video on a screen. A Gallup study found that human beings need up to six hours of social interaction a day to achieve a sense of thriving emotional well-being—and quality matters. Unfortunately, substituting technological communication won’t cut it, and then we frequently disengage once we’re in social situations by fiddling with our phones.”

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4) Jim Harter, Gallup’s chief scientist of workplace management and wellbeing, says “Not all social time counts the same. In-person time counts more.

So there we have it! These are only a few of many reasons why opting for the “Unselfie” is going to be worth it! It might only be for a few hours, a single event, a day, several days – whatever you choose is great. It’s all about being present for those around us and yes, present for ourselves.

Caring about looks and trying to capture them in time is important to women and it starts at a young age. The recent Disney movie hit Frozen has made over $1 billion in the global box office. That’s not including the incredible amount of money made on Frozen paraphernalia. For example, the number of Elsa and Anna princess costumes that were sold in 2014. Can you guess how many? Wait for it…here it is…3 million! Wow-ee-wow! 

What strikes me the most about these princess costumes is that the majority of them are Elsa. She is the queen with magical ice-shooting powers who feels like an outcast. Her younger sister Anna is warm, self-confident, and always eager to boost her sister’s self-esteem. Anna’s outfit in the movie is rather plain when compared to Elsa’s long crystal-blue gown. Thus, it’s no surprise that millions of little girls wanted to dress up as the “prettier” princess for Halloween 2014. Check out this adorable picture of an elementary classroom full of Elsas on costume day: http://i.imgur.com/yTnbbAi.png  Makes me giggle every time. 

Now, let’s not find fault in these sweet little girls for running around saying “trick-or-treat” between lines of the famous Frozen song “Let it go.” Let’s also not find too much fault in ourselves for being concerned over our looks. The point is simply to say that caring beyond a certain point, fixating on our looks, can become unhealthy for us. It can also cause us to emphasize “you look pretty” lines to a tender, impressionable little girl versus empowering her to invest self-confidence in qualities she has more control over such as her intelligence, humor, or compassion.

This holiday season follow Elsa’s famous words and “let it go.” At least for a little while, let go of constant worry about your looks and let go of the fear that if you don’t post a selfie on social media that you aren’t validated.  You are validated.  You are you. 


Holiday medicine


Yours in health and wellness,


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