Does taking gym selfies or posting several pics on Facebook translates to Narcissism?


When my dear Facebook friend all the way from America sent me a link in my inbox with the message “London, we have a problem.”, I opened the link with a bit of trepidation and was confronted with a shady headline Study Finds That People Who Post Gym Selfies Have A Psychological Problem “

The article went on to postulate about some dubious research it never linked to. The  article reads

Some people have to let the whole world know that they have been to the gym by means of Facebook posts normally accompanied by a selfie. It turns this could by due to an underlying psychological problem which causes them to become obsessed with taking selfies.

In a study conducted at Brunel University is was discovered that people who constantly brag about fitness tend to show narcissistic traits  – This is a term for the psychological disorder where people gain pleasure from self admiration. This behavior usually results  annoying vein posts such as “sun’s out, guns out” all over your timeline, the intention is to boost their own ego with comments and likes.

 I call bullshit on this.

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It should be noted that a clinical definition of ‘Narcissistic personality disorder‘, goes thus-

“Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultraconfidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

With this is mind, I sent my Italian America based friend a quick response-

“I just burst out laughing so hard cos i’m reading this at a new gym i’m trying out right now and of course I took gym selfies. The writer sounds really jealous! Lol”

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Suddenly, it occurred to me that maybe my friend sent me the article not as a joke but as a thing to reflect on, especially since (horror of horrors) I do post a lot of gym selfies!

With a little misgiving, I followed my response with another-

You don’t share gyms Selfies, do you? You have no problem. I guess i am the one with the ‘problem’

And yeah, I got this response-

I must admit, the “selfie” thing and social media in general can be a conundrum for me. I love the aesthetics of anything with curves (racetracks, you, etc.), but many FBers overdo it. It gets back somewhat to our rants about contemporary dating, no?

Hmm.. OK. I guess it’s time to get serious and address this elephant in the room. So I got comfortable on my gym bike and proceeded to type out a long response, which went thus-

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This is gonna be a long response and I am gonna use examples from my own personal experience to shed light on this. In fact, it is gonna be long enough to be a blog post, hope you don’t mind.

I do understand. However, i have learned to live and lets live. People go through different stages in life and that reflects in our use of social media.

People have different ways of coping with the stress of daily life, even different ways of expressing happiness, pleasures and contentment. Taking pictures and sharing online can be a great coping mechanisms, at least it works for me. I do love taking pictures, i am often my own photographer as well as the model, it’s a thing I derive pleasure from. Also, I do love sharing my pics, even before the advent of Facebook or Instagram.

When i am going through a stressful time, i have noticed a great way to lift my spirits is to get up, dress up, bring out my cam and start posing before my camera, snap away and feel the stress melt away too. I share some of those pics, cos, why not?

I stopped worrying about what people think a long time ago, it’s my life, it’s my page, it’s my blog, it’s my YouTube channel. If all i want to post are pictures of my selfies, or me dancing away in my bedroom, i will definitely go ahead and do that; no permission needed.

Life is too short and even full of too many upheavals to be waiting around for strangers’ permission on how best to live my life or how best to showcase it to others.

Understanding my own relationship with social media and life in general made me realise i am not in any position to guess or try to control why or what others post on their walls or how they use social media.

However, I must confess, I HATE THE DUCK MOUTH SELFIES! I do have a few friends who post these silly duck mouth selfies, and i do find these annoying, but would i ever tell them that? Hell, NO! It isn’t my business how they choose to take their pictures or what they do with their mouth or how they purse their lips for pics. So, yeah, i just scroll passed, sometimes in agony, wishing i could unsee that. Would it affect how i view or like them as a person? No, it won’t. I have some friends on my timeline who post hundreds of pictures of their family on holidays, at home, in the supermarket, everywhere and anywhere you could think of, almost every day. Most times i click ‘like’ on those pictures, but there are a few times i think to myself,” Oh, not again”. But then, it is their life, it is how they chose to celebrate their families, and good for them.

I signed on to my first dating site about 10 years ago and recently, i noticed i have posted 250 pics on the site over the span of 10 years since I joined. I realised i was no longer using it as a dating site but as a photo storage site. Then a few weeks ago, i posted an update on the site that i was joining Instagram and that I won’t be posting pics on the site anymore.

Many were gutted. However, there was one random guy who called me narcissistic for having that many pictures. He posted a comment saying that I should ‘Hi-five‘ Narcissus on Instagram cos we would be great friends. lol! Did I pay any attention to him? Of course not. He is probably busy wanking over my pics, and his opinion does not pay my bills. So No, I don’t get myself upset over such silly comments by silly random people online. And same goes for that silly article about people who post gym pics.

The reason I deduced for being on that particular dating site for so long was because it served (and still serves) as a collation of my life memories in pictures, spanning almost a decade. Within that period, i have used about 3 laptops and different phones, when those laptops and phones crashed, i lost all my pictures in the memory cards. I noticed that a good way to easily access some of these pics is to post them online. When i need to search for an old pic, i go to that dating site and memories come flooding back. So, I am happy I posted all these pics, years after years and at the relevant time too. When i want a ‘Throwback Thursday ‘ pic, i go to that site!

There are people who wonder why some people have more than 3 pics online, but then i don’t owe them an explanation. Needless to say, when i posted a new pic few days ago on the site, many were happy and some took the time to say “Thanks for sharing your pics again”.

We can’t please everybody, we just learn to do what makes us happy, while being conscious that we are not doing it due to peer pressure or trying to fit in.

I know why i do the things i do, however, i would never proceed to judge or assume i know why others do the things they do, especially when they are not hurting anyone with their action. As i said, it’s a matter of live and lets live. Life is too short and sometimes even too long to be agonising over who is taking too many selfies.

BTW, as for the dating thing, yeah, it’s still a mad world out there. I discover just how really crazy it is these few weeks I have been on Tinder. I am happy I wrote that blog post your article on dating inspired me to. Sometimes, I just send the link to some of these jerks who don’t understand why I am not in a hurry to meet up for drinks with strangers, just because we matched on Tinder. Needless to say, many of them won’t even bother to click on the article, not to talk of reading it. They are not interested in knowing the person they are matching with, just a case of Netflix and chill, as the new generation would say. And with so many other profiles to swipe, why bother delving into the mind and thoughts of someone you want to meet up with and hopefully have sex with?

Yes, it is a mad and sad world, but I won’t blame social media, but the way some people have chosen to use it. But then, I also have the right to use it how I want to, as long as I am not hurting anyone, I am cool. And as long as other people’s selfies aren’t hurting me or others, I am cool.

In conclusion, that article was really in bad taste, full of crap and the writer seems to be a vile and jealous person. They should get a life and not agonise so much about people who take gym selfies. I honestly thought that article was just for Laughs, didn’t know you actually took it seriously, but then i see your point. I hope sharing my personal experience and thoughts on this would help you with the conundrum.

I clicked ‘send’, checked my time on the Bike machine, not doing so well, but at least i got all that typed and sent to my friend!

And the response my friend gave to my well thought out albeit long-winded response?

“Lovely take Yemisi. Can you send me bigger text (your blog) and bigger pics (haha)?”

Oh, I give up! Ok, lemme take more gym selfies and post on my Instagram.

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Comments

  1. Siobhan says

    Life is too short and even full of too many upheavals to be waiting around for strangers’ permission on how best to live my life or how best to showcase it to others.

    +1

    As a survivor of narcissistic abuse, I can corroborate that selfies do not a narcissist make. Your pics are great!

  2. Yemisi Ilesanmi says

    @Siobhan -- So sorry about the abuse you suffered, i’m glad you are a survivor.
    Thanks for the compliment!

  3. says

    It depends on the reason why you take a selfie. There are a lot of people who take a selfie because they want to share, not brag. Just because some have narcissistic disorder with taking selfies doesn’t mean all have narcissistic disorder.

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