Five Reasons I Don’t Take Selfies

Photo Courtesy: Paško Tomić

Photo Courtesy: Paško Tomić


I despise selfies. I’m pretty sure I disdain the word itself even more. Now that I’ve gotten that off my chest, the word “selfie” has recently infiltrated our dictionaries.

The Oxford Dictionary defines “selfie” this way: “A photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.”

The practice has spread like wildfire on Facebook and Twitter, but I don’t think we’ve taken enough time to reflect on the impact of culture’s rapid adoption of the practice.

Here are five reasons I don’t take selfies:

1. I don’t want to look 10 years older than I am. If there is ever a pressing need for you to see every wrinkle, scar, and blemish on my face., then maybe I would consider it. Seriously, taking a photo of yourself with a camera inches from your eyebrows in dark lighting is just asking to make yourself look like you’ve put on a few years.

Chesapeake Bay

My recent sunset walk along the Chesapeake Bay

2. Photography is an art form. As a photographer, I am passionate about nature and landscape photography. As such, my goal is to let you see a bit of the world from my point-of-view. If you are able to experience the wonder and beauty of my outdoor adventures, then I’ve done my job. Selfies tend to ruin the beauty of the art.

3. It’s not about me. Granted, I am part of God’s great story. However, my goal is to boast about God’s creation through my photos and life experiences. Selfies serve to bring glory and honor to self. They are a cry for attention and affirmation. The affirmation is short-lived, and will never bring lasting fulfillment.

4. A social media presence is about building and developing relationships. My goal is to add value to the lives of others, and selfies add arguably little-to-no value. In fact, studies have shown that posting too many selfies can harm your real-life relationships.

5. Because everyone else is doing it. I’m a non-conformist. Since everyone is doing it, that is a plenty good enough reason to run the other direction.

What’s your take on selfies? Do you take part? Why or why not?

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The Oasis in the City

DCLast week, we explored our need to intentionally carve out “island time” in our daily routines. Ironically, I spent a couple of days this past week working at my company’s office in the middle of downtown Washington, D.C. Are there two more drastically opposite settings than Maui and our nation’s capital?

Even though I have a passion for exploring mountain ranges and hidden gems, I am fascinated by cities – the architecture, the flurry of activity, the mom & pop cafes, the endless aromas of coffee and baked goods. Something is constantly happening on practically every street corner.

Cities develop a life of their own because of the people who indwell them. Some live in D.C. because they are interning at a government office. Others are drawn by the steady work. Many have transitioned to the area because they believe in a particular cause and are working to create change in government. And quite a few seek the power and prestige of higher positions. No matter the reason, the pace of life in D.C. is frantic, to say the least.

Simplicity seems like a concept foreign to the impatient drivers, whose honking horns continuously reverberate off the sides of the surrounding office buildings. You have to work a bit harder to uncover simplicity, but it’s there. I sat outside at a small cafe with my coworkers, sipping coffee and eating breakfast with the glow of the morning sun peaking through the surrounding office buildings. We had a loose schedule to keep that morning. So, along with breakfast, we took in the sights of people rushing to work, their ears stuffed with white ear buds as they tried to escape the outside world for the one on their iPods and cell phones.

The day before, our group took a leisurely walk over to the National Mall, stopping by both the World War II and Lincoln Memorials. The fountain at the World War II Memorial offers a pleasant respite from the rush hour traffic a mere fifty yards away; the impressive plaza provides a small glimpse into the sacrifices made 70 years ago.

And the towering Lincoln Memorial never ceases to impress. Even though I have been to the site a handful of times, I had never taken the 360 degree walk around the structure until Monday. As the sun faded to the west, its rays beamed through the columns along the backside of the monument, reflecting off the white marble stone and peering through the massive, white columns.

A certain peace, resolve, and strength exists within the chamber and around the grounds of the Lincoln Memorial. Our group sat near the top of the steps and gazed out over the reflecting pool. We were no longer in the bustling city, but in a moment of awe and reflection over the history of our nation.

Sometimes, our hearts are simply crying out for the oasis in the midst of the city, those spots where we can be still, reflect, and recharage. Our part is to intentionally slow down long enough to find them.