The world wants you to feel ashamed. Don't.
Centuries ago, artists would take weeks, months, or even years to create the perfect self-portrait. Today, it takes just seconds.
What was once a painstaking process is now accessible to anyone with a cellphone.
Yes, I'm talking about the "selfie."
Depending on who you ask, selfies are either the best thing since sliced bread or a pox on society, emblematic of deep narcissism.
It's odd, really — there are few things as harmless as a photo taken of yourself.
Here are seven reasons to shrug off the haters and love your selfie:
1. Love your selfie to give your self-esteem a little boost.
This one seems kind of obvious, right? Even better, it's backed up by data: A 2014 survey of teenage girls found that 65% of respondents felt that taking selfies and posting them to social media helped boost their confidence and body image. Boom!
What an awesome win for selfie-steem.
2. Love your selfie to take control in the way you choose to present yourself to the world.
We all know that feeling, after a night out with friends, when we find ourselves tagged in all sorts of unflattering pictures on Facebook. It's certainly not fun.
Selfies are basically the opposite of that, helping us show our best selves to the world (even if that best self has the help of some filters, creative angles, or lighting tricks).
You've got every right to control your own self image. Own it!
3. Love your selfie to send a message to the world about your unique life experiences.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words. If you have something important to say, why not say it with a selfie?
Christi Salcedo is a breast cancer survivor who, as the result of a double mastectomy, found herself under increased scrutiny when using public restrooms because people thought she was transgender (she's not).
Her image, "This is breast cancer," earned more than 18,000 Likes and was shared nearly 6,700 times on Facebook.
4. Love your selfie to document an important moment in your life.
Sometimes you just want to tell the world: "Hey, look at this awesome thing I did! I'm really proud of it!" There's nothing wrong with feeling some pride in your accomplishments or experiences, and anyone who tells you different is, well, wrong.
5. Love your selfie to defy society's expectations.
Society conditions us to feel ashamed of ourselves, to find flaws in our appearances to obsess over. Whether we're looking at the cover of a magazine or watching TV, we're being bombarded with these messages on repeat. But what if we all just stopped caring? What if we found a way to say, "Look at me. I like myself for who I am."
Selfies are a pretty great tool for pushing back on societal standards. When your friends share their selfies, get excited for them! Their selfies mean they're feeling themselves, and in a world that constantly tells us to hate our appearances, those are moments worth celebrating!
6. Love your selfie to show you can have fun alone or in a group.
Having a good time going solo and want to share that with the world? There's no better way to document it than with a selfie. The same goes for fun times with friends. Creating memories and sharing them with the world is a pretty wonderful thing.
Plus, in a selfie, everyone gets to be in the shot instead of having to trust a stranger to hold your cellphone and take a photo for you, or awkwardly asking your least-favorite friend to take the photo.
7. Love your selfie because you can.
This may be the most important reason of all. You should love your selfie (and, by extension, yourself) because you can — because you don't exist to please other people or to play by society's rules.
You don't need anyone's permission to feel good about yourself, and that's reason enough to celebrate.