I sometimes wonder when all of this started.  When did we start running on the road to self-obsession so fast that there became simply no looking back? All of us used to enjoy the occasional photo sessions on weddings, birthday parties and gatherings. It was fun dressing up when going out and admiration from others was always good for the ego.

And then along came Facebook and everything changed. To me, Facebook is nothing short of an evil that has caught us unaware and forced us into someone most of us never were: narcissist beasts growing in number by leaps and bounds courtesy of the selfie mania.

I recently attended a socialite’s party and as God be my witness, was not able to exchange more than a hello as she continued to pose into her camera taking multiple selfies. She didn’t even have the time to accept my gift, one that I had selected with a great deal of thought, and so I dumped it on the gift table. I waded through the world of the selfie-aliens as they clicked away with artificial pouts, best angles and forced smiles for the best shot; the next Facebook profile picture was always just one great selfie away. A selfie stick was in their midst; that great miracle of the modern world.

So excepting a few of us who were enjoying the conversations and food, the selfie lovers continued to click away in silence and were busy uploading them on Facebook immediately, without a moment’s delay. One might argue, that it is nobody’s business what brings happiness to other people. True, but it is not the act alone that bothers me. This selfie culture has repercussions for all of us, whether or not we are indulging in shameless self photography. It has affected all our lives, the quality of our conversations and the natural education and stimulation one used to get from socialising with old and new friends. Now everything has become so artificial that I feel we have started living more for others than for ourselves. A social gathering doesn’t become meaningful unless there are enough photographs, primarily selfies, to fill one’s Facebook wall.

Facebook has become a social ventilator for us and the fear of going off this life support is unthinkable for many. I am always tempted to ask how it feels to actually take a selfie. If taking a selfie makes one feel good, then by all means they should click away. But some might take them to control their self-image when they don’t trust others to take a good photograph of them. Sometimes we are not happy with who we are, so we choose the image we want to portray to the world and lo’ and behold, that is just what selfies let us do. We are so busy trying to emanate this ideal image that we miss the moment altogether. Why is it wrong? Because this self-obsession can create a divide between the real self and the ideal self and cause self-esteem issues that we are not even aware of.

And most importantly, what are we teaching our children? That it is not all right to be who they are or the way God created them. Is it really so important to upload a picture on Facebook and get a few likes and comments before we can be comfortable in our own skins? And if the outside world doesn’t matter then who are we taking these selfies for? How satisfying is it to take multiple images of the self? I recently had to do an assignment for my counselling class where I had to look at myself in the mirror and write what I feel, and it was one of the toughest things I have ever done.

There is nothing wrong with capturing the beautiful moments of life and sharing it with those near and dear to us. But we must control the selfie craze before it completely takes over our personalities and turn us into people we don’t recognize anymore.