Ah, the ever-popular selfie. In other words:
I've always loved taking pictures. I remember snapping away for my first Myspace profile years and years ago, before the word "selfie" actually existed.
In any relationship I've had, I captured many moments of each of us in beautiful, sepia-toned smiles. It's a blessing and a curse.
Even now, as a 29-year-old woman, I can confidently say I like taking pictures of myself. I love selfies. Period. The end.
I once heard someone quote an incredibly idiotic saying: “If a girl's Instagram has more selfies than anything else, pick another girl.”
If we're being honest, we've all probably selfie-shamed someone we know at one point.
But if we're being even more honest with ourselves, when we selfie-shame, it's generally out of bitterness and jealousy toward the person.
It doesn't have to be that way. Selfies don't have to be a bad thing.
I think selfies have become a negative term, when really, it's a powerful tool. The popularity of taking selfies seems to coincide with a huge shift toward feminism in our country. Girl power is real, and it's continuing to rise.
In fact, according to the Ideal to Real TODAY/AOL Body Image survey, "teenage girls revealed something unexpected: 65 percent said seeing their selfies on social media actually boosts their confidence. And 40 percent of all teens say social media helps 'me present my best face to the world.'"
Personally, I believe this reigns true, even with adult women.
Here are five ways taking selfies always makes me feel better:
Taking a selfie where you can recognize all your beautiful physical characteristics can have a pretty positive effect on your mood.
When you put on those jeans that fit you just right or wake up with an amazing kind of bed hair that looks like it took hours, there's certain air of confidence that stays with you all damn day.
You feel great, you look great and lord almighty, you are great.
Taking a selfie allows you to be both the photographer and the subject. What's more empowering than calling the shots?
Being in control of your body and your body image is a beautiful thing, and more women should embrace themselves in positive ways.
Being in charge of your life gives you that "boss ass bitch" attitude, where the world is yours for the taking.
The ability to laugh out loud
You know how Snapchat has those silly filters? I really love those filters.
Plus, who can argue that turning yourself into a human avocado doesn't make you laugh at loud? Sometimes, taking a moment to take a goofy picture can be a nice form of stress relief.
Life is too short to take seriously all the time, and we owe it to ourselves to be silly sometimes.
It's easy to get wrapped up in mainstream standards of beauty, and we have a tendency to be extremely hard on ourselves, comparing our looks, successes and lives to others.
Selfies allow for self-expression. Maybe you're walking around on Bowery and see a cool, graffiti-covered wall that matches your outfit perfectly or makes you feel a certain way. So you back yourself against that wall, snap a picture of yourself, caption it with a quote that means something to you and share it with the world.
No one has the same reaction to that wall as you do. It's unique to only you, and you shouldn't be afraid to share that.
Humans crave validation. Having one's thoughts and feelings not only heard but received with a positive reaction assists in personal growth.
Validation is key in maintaining relationships, not only with others but with ourselves as well.
Now obviously, we shouldn't rely on selfies as our only form of validation.
But even though it sounds silly, when you post a selfie and see your loved ones and friends commenting and liking the post, it provides an added sense of validation that can help nurture the way we view ourselves.
So take that selfie, girl (or guy). You're gorgeous!
A version of this article was originally published on the author's personal blog.