A Letter to my Daughter in a Selfie-Obsessed World.

I grew up in the land before Selfies. I was raised in the Polaroid, Instafilm, Kodak disposable camera era.

And let me tell you… IT WAS BLISS.

A Letter To My Daughter in a Selfie Obsessed WorldBut I happily jumped on the digital camera bandwagon as quick as everyone else. I mean,  hello! No more wasted film (and money) on blurry photos and bad angles! Then, when phones began having cameras, good quality cameras that come automatically equipped, I thought WOW! An all-in-one handy-dandy tool to call for pizza delivery AND take photos of my sweet toddler. What could be better?

I had no idea what was coming….

I had no idea that by the time you grew into a teenager, the world would be filled with arm length photos of everyone’s faces. The world is dominated by the infamous “selfie”.

Now, I’m not here to completely discourage selfies or air my disdain for the conceited lifestyle they perpetuate– I’ll save that for another day. I am simply here to tell you that life is about so much more than the “perfect selfie”. 

I’ve watched you take photos of yourself when you don’t think I am looking. 

I’ve seen you stick your tongue out, tilt your head to the left, frown, tilt it back again, look up at the sky, and smile. It hurts my heart to see the disgusted look on your face when you genuinely smile. You make duck lips and pouty lips, and by the time you’ve finally decided on which angle to turn your face, five minutes have passed. Then starts the editing process.

To filter or not to filter? That is the new question. Girls are trying so hard to look “natural” and yet they over-process, edit, photoshop, and filter their faces until they are unrecognizable- including but not limited to adding dog ears and tongue or false eyelashes that touch their foreheads. That is the new definition of “cute”. 

I hope you understand that selfies are fine and acceptable but you need to use them with caution. To take a picture simply because you think you’ll gain friends or likes is unhealthy. It isn’t a good way to live. You’re not free. Your happiness is trapped inside small squares and blue thumbs. 

I want you to know there is freedom out there if you are interested in grabbing it. 

There is a place where people take photos to capture a memory, not solicit likes. I am here to guide you to the land where people take photos simply because a moment needs to be remembered. 

A Letter To My Daughter in a Selfie Obsessed World

When I was a teenager I took pictures because I wanted to see that moment in time forever. I wanted to look back on that moment and relive it. I time-stamped my life. I can open a photo album and quite confidently know that the silly faces I made with my best friends will always be our little secret because they only live in a printed photo album, not the infinite internet.  

My daughter, how many selfies can you look back on and remember where you were, how you felt, or why you took the photo? Do selfies invoke such strong emotions that you were glad you took them? Or do you see an old selfie and notice the imperfect lighting or the off-color scheme you chose to wear? Do you notice a fake smile and too much makeup? T

Here is a simple trick to know if you have your selfie game down or if you are entering the land of self loathing: if you can look at a selfie and feel genuine happiness, then by all means post it, keep it, print it, etc. But if you look at the selfie and compare it to ANYONE else’s selfies… delete. Delete. Delete. It is not worth your time or your self love. 

Please don’t compare your unique face to anyone else. You are the only you. 

By the way, this definitely does not mean I won’t be taking ridiculous selfies with you every chance I get.

Mama-daughter selfies ALWAYS bring me happiness.


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Kari Hessing
Kari (Pronounced Carrie) is proudly married to a Law Enforcement Officer and is a mama to four children. Born and raised in the South, Kari found her love here and now all of her favorite people are Iowans! In her "spare" time (WHO has that?!), you can find her reading, folding a never ending cycle of laundry, or snuggling up with the tiny humans she made. She loves being a stay at home, homeschooling mother, even in the thick of it, and feels blessed to share her snippets of life with the community!

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