Finding Gratitude in the Selfie Era
Without a doubt, we are in the “selfie” era. In a given 24 hour period (or even a 1 hour period), it’s nearly impossible to scroll through any brand of social media without seeing a selfie. I suspect that you can walk just about anywhere and see people stopping to take selfies in front of landmarks, at restaurants, at work, in the car, and dare I forget the dreaded “bathroom selfie”. And we are all guilty of it. The Huffington Post has recently reported on the “Selfie Addiction”, linking it to self-esteem issues, narcissism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and body dysmorphic disorder. These extreme cases are related to perfectionistic behaviors, personal judgment, and an overall preoccupation of thoughts about self. If this is the case and there is an overwhelming focus on self, are we also in an era that falls short on having an attitude of gratitude?
Gratitude is a noun, defined as the state or feeling of being thankful; an expression of appreciation synonymous with recognition, acknowledgement, and credit. In this selfie era, we are prone to “tag” someone in a post or tweet, but are we losing sight of the more personal expressions of gratitude, both toward ourselves and toward others? I propose that the menial ‘thank you’s’ and social media tags are standard in our daily interactions, whereas having an attitude and expression of gratitude comes from within and is a part of your personal character. I believe it is something that can be groomed in you as a child, but it can also be stumbled upon based on circumstances and experience.
By experience, I’m suggesting that those who seem to have a reason to be angry and mad at the world because they have been through some major trials and tribulations, have somehow found a way to turn their lemons into lemonade. After a most difficult test of personal fortitude, a switch goes off to fuel their attitude in a new direction of gratitude and an overall perspective of appreciation for life in the moment. In my observation, gratitude seems to go hand and hand with humility, thought clarity, and a genuine sincerity for the people and things around them. It begins to ooze from their being like perfume or cologne, and ultimately permeates to affect others in a way that makes them grateful as well.
My challenge to you is to take time to not only reflect on the things you are most grateful for, but to be intentional about expressing your gratitude in a way that is meaningful and sincere. Suggestions:
- Instead of the customary “thank you”, add a few extra words of what you’re thankful about. For example, I could say to my daughter, “Thank you for emptying the trash. That means one less thing I have to do today and I appreciate it.”
- In the simplicity and convenience of texting, don’t forget there’s nothing like an actual phone call or a visit to let someone know you crossed their mind.
- Simple gestures outside of the norm are gratuitous. Sending flowers or an edible arrangement or a card in the mail “just because” are a lost art these days.
- Instill thoughtfulness in the younger generation. When you catch a child doing something especially kind, give them a few dollars or words of praise, and tell them why.
- There is a bright side to everything. If you’re running late for your meeting because you’re stuck in traffic, use the extra time to enjoy your favorite song or music on the way. You’ll walk into the meeting less hurried, with a better attitude.
These are just a few suggestions of how to remember what and who are important in your life. We all have goals in life and deadlines we are trying to meet, but don’t lose sight on the attitude you want to exude and the impact you want to have on others.
Closing thought: The external self is one image, while the internal self is another. If you’re going to take the time to snap a selfie with your camera phone, I challenge you to take at least an equal amount of time each day to snapshot your internal self –your character. MET