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Important Lessons to Learn From Selfies

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Important Lessons to Learn From Selfies

I’m amused by how prolific selfies have become, and although I’ve never embraced the practice on social media, there is a type of selfie I’ve taken over the years that I’ve found to be invaluable.

The whole point of a selfie is to capture the moment. They prove where you were, what you looked like and (although somewhat more theatrical) how you felt. They give us the opportunity to look back on those images, as we do with any other photo and be reminded of the experience.

Many years ago, when I determined to learn from my mistakes, I started a habit of taking selfies. Not of my face, but of my emotions; a snap shot of where I was at that very moment. In most cases, it was my lowest times that I captured in that way so that one day I could dust them off in my mind and revisit how I had felt. Not to indulge in a ‘poor me’ session but as a reminder of my resilience and the fact that I have the skills to get through something I’ve experienced before. These selfies create a vivid reference point to compare with the feelings that emerge after the darkness has passed. It helps me to acknowledge and quietly celebrate.

And so, I take selfies and encourage others to do the same.

Being self-employed can be a lonely existence at times, no matter how many staff you have, how well connected you are on social media or how many events you attend. At the end of the day, you have responsibilities that are entirely yours. Often there will be situations that seem too difficult to bear; the inability to pay staff on time (or at all), a public complaint set to ruin your reputation, feelings of utter inadequacy, or just the intolerable pursuit of a dream that keeps slipping out of reach. It’s these times we need to capture as the evidence to prove we can make it through. These will be the milestones you’ll look back on from the safety of a new vantage point. And as you take that picture it acts as a reminder that you won’t feel this way forever.

So many journeys are cut short because the valleys often present themselves as the end of the road. These types of selfies help remind us that despite the varied terrain life offers, even the deepest ravines are flanked by higher safer ground. I’m not suggesting that we’ll look back through our album one day and laugh, but it’s incredibly empowering to survive something we thought impassable. If we can harness that, we should.

The key to any good selfie, however, is to snap readily rather than wait for the perfect shot, and my selfies are no different. They’re only useful if I already have them stored in my mind. When I go through a tough time, it’s not the current image that fortifies me, but the ones I’ve taken in the past.

So, start snapping today. Build your portfolio with whatever the day brings. Disappointment? Excellent. Capture it now and revisit it in a few days or weeks when the sting is gone. Take another selfie and compare the two. Reflect on the circumstances and then tuck them into your album.

In my experience, the average week provides an abundance of photographic opportunities, and before long you’ll likely have a tidy bundle of selfies for future use.

This is, of course, a lighthearted approach to a serious topic, but whatever method you use to manage the very raw challenges of life, remember that this too will pass.

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