02 Sep Two images of myself
My ‘Self’ Image:
I belong to ‘Me’ generation. I am friend of ‘Myself’, ‘Me’ and ‘My Selfie’. I think I have equal right along with celebrities and stars to express myself in public. I like to write what is going in my mind at present. I desire to share with others my feelings, sentiments and emotions. I feel good to talk about my friends, family members, class mates and teachers, people in my spa and gym, hostel mates, play mates, neighbours, my pets and my close or open groups. I do have opinion of my own, be it politics or economy or social issues or any burning problem- for that matter on any issue I face. None has time to meet and personally talk. All are busy and occupied. My friends and companions may not have spare time to visit me personally and listen to me whenever I speak. But they do sometimes devote time to respond to my comments on Face Book (FB).They prefer to remain my virtual friends, if not real. Oh! How often and how intensely and eagerly I hang on to find reply to my comments posted thereon. It matters for me how many clicked ‘like’ buttons and how many wrote remarks on my timeline. I ask question to myself if at all I am understood or misunderstood.
If nobody understands me in my college or home or elsewhere in actual world, I like to discover for at least one or two out in virtual world that empathizes with me. I yearn for their appreciation and recognition. Just hold on!
Sometimes, I feel inadequate within myself and not content with only FB friends. I have options to look more from Twitter, Instagram, Tumbir, Snapchat, Blog and so on. These social media have opened tremendous opportunities to explore and express. I create my own group or join in the already existing group of my choice in these media. The groups I can join are unlimited. If anyone is not available either on land-line or mobile, I can trace him in FB. I can chat with him as long as I can and, of course, as long as he is logged in and keeps on responding. I do sometimes send message to only one person without making it public for all.
I allow tags to all my activities on my homepage. Requests for friendship from the known and unknown ones pour in. I keep on confirming requests solicited. As a result my circle grows larger and larger. I take pride in posting my forthcoming event and sending invitation to my groups to join in.
Many of my friends I lost contact with earlier have been able re-establish link with me. Unfortunately, I have not been successful to search some of my close high school friends.
I still crave and cherish their companionship as it was natural. I miss some of my active friends who do not twitter any more as they have become passive for good.
Besides, all these, I feel really wonderful clicking my own photos in different positions and locations and uploading them in my timeline. I can crop my selfie as I like. I do not mind exposing myself too much. My selfies look brighter and more beautiful than my own real self. I do not leave any opportunity to shoot my selfie with any new person and in new spot. I am tempted to post all my selfies in the homepages of the media with quotes. This is the era of selfie.
Selfie was the word of the year 2013 and will continue to be so in the future. I do not care who loves me but I love myself. I like to portray myself as the best, most desirable, brightest and the ideal one. Self portrayal is the pinnacle of my creative expression. After all I need my space in the world. I do not like to remain as an unknown face in the crowd. I do not want to be pushed to insignificance. I look forward to be identified and loved and admired.
Many people of this generation irrespective of their age identify themselves with my above description of self- expression, self-portrayal and self-love. Self- obsession and obsessive selfie trend display a radical shift in understanding of love and human existence. This is obvious from popular selfie quotes: ‘A selfie a day keeps the friends away’. Greek mythology has long back exposed gruesome demise of self- love. Narcissus was a young hunter renowned for beauty who died due to his vanity.
Many loved him but he never loved anyone. The beautiful youth was made to gaze into a pond at his reflection. He fell in love with his own image and drowned trying to touch it. Narcissism has become order of the day. Someone wrote a quote in social media recently, ‘you do not understand how hard it is to take a selfie when you’re ugly’. We take our involvement in social media and selfie for fun. But selfie craze has already taken a deadly turn. A selfie caused fatal plane crash in 2014 in the U. S. Writing tragic note of ending life in the social media has also been reported in the recent times. Self obsession can create a divide between real-self and ideal-self and cause self esteem issues like split personality. Probably for this reason, William Shakespeare in Hamlet wrote “This above all; to thine own self be true”. Many of these problems stem from lack of self acceptance, insecurity and true understanding of significance of one self. Humanistic psychologist Carl Roger adds that for a person to grow he needs an environment that provides them with genuineness (openness and self-disclosure), acceptance (being seen with unconditional positive regard) and empathy (being listened to and understand). Without these, relationships and healthy personality will not develop as they should, much like a tree will not grow without sunlight and water.
God’s image of my ‘self’:
Brennan Manning, American author and priest, exhorts in “Abba’s Child: The cry of the heart for intimate belonging” to define oneself radically as one beloved by God. This is the true self. Every other identity is illusion.
It is important to narrate my story from the perspective of the Creator. God has created me in His own image and likeness. He demonstrated His love for me while I was still a sinner (Romans 5:8). He accepts me in whatever state I am.
I no longer hang on to the past life. I am a new creation (2 Corinthians 5:17). I am a child of God and belong to Him (John 1:12). I am saved by grace as a gift not because of my work or performance. God accepts me for not what I have done but who I am. I am justified by my Saviour in spite of being not accepted by others for any wrong. I am forgiven of all my sins (Col1:13-14). I belong to God (I Corinthians 6: 19-20) and God calls me as His friend (John 15:15). He will not ‘un- friend’ me and will never log me out (John 6:37). I can log onto Him constantly (I Thessalonians5:17).
I can call upon Him even in the day of trouble and He has assured me of deliverance (Psalm 50:15). He is ready to hear whenever I speak. Whenever I cry out to Him, He hears me (Psalm 3:4). I am one with Him in spirit (I Corinthians 6: 17) and I am complete in Christ (Col.2:9-10). I do not have to comprehend completeness in anybody or anything else outside of Him.
I am not only accepted but also fully secured. I am free from any condemnation (Romans 8:1). He restores my soul (Psalm 23:4) I am assured God works for my good (Romans 8:28). I am loved by God and I cannot be separated from the love of God under any circumstance (I peter 2:9, Romans 8: 35-39). He makes me to dwell in safety (Psalm 4:8). I am hidden with Christ (Col 3:1-4). I am confident God will complete the good work He started in me (Phil 1:6).He hides me under the shadow of His wings.(Psalm 17:9) I have peace with God through my Lord Jesus (Romans 5; 1). I am never alone and God will not leave me alone (Hebrews 13:5).
While walking with God, I understand how He has considered me significant .and precious in His sight. I am chosen by God (Ephesians 1:4).I am a special person (I Peter 2:9).He keeps me as the apple of His eye (Psalm 17:8). I am God’s temple. (I Corinthians 3:16). I am God’s Workmanship and designed for good works (Ephesians 2:10). I can approach God with freedom and confidence (Ephesians 3:12). I am a minister of reconciliation (2 Corinthians 5:18). I am seated with Jesus in Heavenly place (Ephesians 2:6). I am a victor not the victim (Romans 8:37). Now I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me (Philippians 4:13).I am child of light (I Thessalonians 5:5) and salt of the earth (Matthew 5:5).
I declare I am forgiven, accepted, restored, redeemed, secured, adopted, chosen and blessed. I am confident ‘Greater is He that is in me than he that is in the World.’(I John4:4) ‘I am crucified with
Christ: It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me’ (Galatians 2:17). I am predestined to conform to the image of Lord Jesus (Romans 8:29).
Dr. Nanda Dulal
The author is Group Director (Administration) in a Central Government Department and is presently based in Bangalore. He is involved with UESI ministry from his student days.