Taking Selfies At The Gym Is A Totally Valid Way To Track Progress

Taking Selfies At The Gym Isn't Narcissistic, It's A Way To Track Progress

People take to social media, especially with selfies, for the purpose of feeling good about themselves. The gym should not be an exception.

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Girls go to the gym for a variety of reasons: To get in shape, build muscle, have a nice body, be healthy, feel productive, and feel good about ourselves. And we'd be lying if we denied that half of us partly go in our matching workout fits for the purpose of taking our gym selfies for social media.

I'm taking a Byrne Seminar this semester called Selfies and Digital Culture, which essentially is a chill class where I get credit for blogging my selfies and discussing how the phenomenon of the selfie has become such an integral part of our culture. Selfies were something that I never gave much thought to. But now whenever I go to take a pic, this class has me questioning myself and contemplating why I am so compelled to take selfies.

It got me thinking about how I always grimaced at girls whose Snap stories consisted of their daily gym selfies, flexing and showing off an hourglass figure. Sure, as someone who fully enjoys starting their day at the gym, I am guilty of an occasional work out pic, but I'd be quick to laugh at those who spend a solid few minutes in front of the mirror in the middle of the gym.

My mom laughs at me when we're out in public together and I outstretch my arm to take a flick of myself. It's a constant chorus of, "You're so obsessed with yourself, Lauren," and, "Who are you even sending those to?" And well I can see how some view the act of selfie-taking as a sign of being conceited, I believe the reason why so many people feel the need to do it is because it's an act of empowerment. If you wake up and take a good selfie, you know its a good day, because you're looking good and feeling good. So if taking selfies is just as empowering as going to the gym, why should gym selfies be so frowned upon? For many having a better appearance is the primary reason for working out, so what is so bad about showing that off while you're there?

One of the problems with social media's absolute consumption of our lives is the desire to compare ourselves to what we see on social media platforms. It is an inherent need, as we all strive to be the prettiest looking, most athletic, smartest, or best we can be in whatever we do. Unfortunately, social media such as Instagram, in particular, gives us a false sense of idealism, promoting an inferiority complex for onlookers. We constantly see our feeds filled with perfect bodies, relationships, material objects, and lives. Comparing ourselves to others is human nature, and it would be almost impossible not to. However, if we don't keep our self-comparisons in check, seeing these euphoric lives can be toxic to our mental health.

Even though social media can have a harmful effect on one's self-esteem, the primary reason to post on social media is to achieve a sense of pride. There is something satisfying about being able to look back through your Instagram and remember all the memories you've had because each photo is an event that you've shared. There is also a sort of egotistically fulfilling aspect of knowing that you have shared these experiences with so many people. Whether it be the number of likes, followers, or comments, these quantities have a subconscious effect on social media users' state of mind, whether we admit it or not. Taking selfies gives us this same sense of gratification, which is why we want to post our pictures from the gym.

I've come to the conclusion that if using gym selfies as a vehicle to show off your body is what motivates you to be a better version of yourself, then I'm all for it. People take to social media, especially with selfies, for the purpose of feeling good about themselves. The gym should not be an exception. And there's nothing better than documenting your workout progress in photos. The way I see it, if you work hard for the body you have, there shouldn't be anything wrong with taking selfies for the purpose of self-empowerment.

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This Is How Your Same-Sex Marriage Affects Me As A Catholic Woman

I hear you over there, Bible Bob.
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It won't.

Wait, what?

I promise you did read that right. Not what you were expecting me to say, right? Who another person decides to marry will never in any way affect my own marriage whatsoever. Unless they try to marry the person that I want to, then we might have a few problems.

As a kid, I was raised, baptized, and confirmed into an old school Irish Catholic church in the middle of a small, midwestern town.

Not exactly a place that most people would consider to be very liberal or open-minded. Despite this I was taught to love and accept others as a child, to not cast judgment because the only person fit to judge was God. I learned this from my Grandpa, a man whose love of others was only rivaled by his love of sweets and spoiling his grandkids.

While I learned this at an early age, not everyone else in my hometown — or even within my own church — seemed to get the memo. When same-sex marriage was finally legalized country-wide, I cried tears of joy for some of my closest friends who happen to be members of the LGBTQ community.

I was happy while others I knew were disgusted and even enraged.

"That's not what it says in the bible! Marriage is between a man and a woman!"

"God made Adam and Eve for a reason! Man shall not lie with another man as he would a woman!"

"Homosexuality is a sin! It's bad enough that they're all going to hell, now we're letting them marry?"

Alright, Bible Bob, we get it, you don't agree with same-sex relationships. Honestly, that's not the issue. One of our civil liberties as United States citizens is the freedom of religion. If you believe your religion doesn't support homosexuality that's OK.

What isn't OK is thinking that your religious beliefs should dictate others lives.

What isn't OK is using your religion or your beliefs to take away rights from those who chose to live their life differently than you.

Some members of my church are still convinced that their marriage now means less because people are free to marry whoever they want to. Honestly, I wish I was kidding. Tell me again, Brenda how exactly do Steve and Jason's marriage affect yours and Tom's?

It doesn't. Really, it doesn't affect you at all.

Unless Tom suddenly starts having an affair with Steve their marriage has zero effect on you. You never know Brenda, you and Jason might become best friends by the end of the divorce. (And in that case, Brenda and Tom both need to go to church considering the bible also teaches against adultery and divorce.)

I'll say it one more time for the people in the back: same-sex marriage does not affect you even if you or your religion does not support it. If you don't agree with same-sex marriage then do not marry someone of the same sex. Really, it's a simple concept.

It amazes me that I still actually have to discuss this with some people in 2017. And it amazes me that people use God as a reason to hinder the lives of others.

As a proud young Catholic woman, I wholeheartedly support the LGBTQ community with my entire being.

My God taught me to not hold hate so close to my heart. He told me not to judge and to accept others with open arms. My God taught me to love and I hope yours teaches you the same.

Disclaimer - This article in no way is meant to be an insult to the Bible or religion or the LGBTQ community.

Cover Image Credit: Sushiesque / Flickr

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Dear Senator Walsh, I Can't Wait For The Day That A Nurse Saves Your Life

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

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Dear Senator Walsh,

I can't even fathom how many letters you've read like this in the past 72 hours. You've insulted one of the largest, strongest and most emotion-filled professions.. you're bound to get a lot of feedback. And as nurses, we're taught that when something makes us mad, to let that anger fuel us to make a difference and that's what we're doing.

I am not even a nurse. I'm just a nursing student. I have been around and I've seen my fair share of sore legs and clinical days where you don't even use the bathroom, but I am still not even a nurse yet. Three years in, though, and I feel as if I've given my entire life and heart to this profession. My heart absolutely breaks for the men and women who are real nurses as they had to wake up the next morning after hearing your comments, put on their scrubs and prepare for a 12-hour day (during which I promise you, they didn't play one card game).

I have spent the last three years of my life surrounded by nurses. I'm around them more than I'm around my own family, seriously. I have watched nurses pass more medications than you probably know exist. They know the side effects, dosages and complications like the back of their hand. I have watched them weep at the bedside of dying patients and cry as they deliver new lives into this world. I have watched them hang IV's, give bed baths, and spoon-feed patients who can't do it themselves. I've watched them find mistakes of doctors and literally save patient's lives. I have watched them run, and teach, and smile, and hug and care... oh boy, have I seen the compassion that exudes from every nurse that I've encountered. I've watched them during their long shifts. I've seen them forfeit their own breaks and lunches. I've seen them break and wonder what it's all for... but I've also seen them around their patients and remember why they do what they do. You know what I've never once seen them do? Play cards.

The best thing about our profession, Senator, is that we are forgiving. The internet might be blown up with pictures mocking your comments, but at the end of the day, we still would treat you with the same respect that we would give to anyone. That's what makes our profession so amazing. We would drop anything, for anyone, anytime, no matter what.

You did insult us. It does hurt to hear those comments because from the first day of nursing school we are reminded how the world has zero idea what we do every day. We get insulted and disrespected and little recognition for everything we do sometimes. But you know what? We still do it.

When it's your time, Senator, I promise that the nurse taking care of you will remember your comments. They'll remember the way they felt the day you publicly said that nurses "probably do get breaks. They probably play cards for a considerable amount of the day." The jokes will stop and it'll eventually die down, but we will still remember.

And I hope you know that when it is your time, you will receive the best care. You will receive respect and a smile. You will receive empathy and compassion because that's what we do and that is why we are the most trusted profession.

Please just remember that we cannot properly take care of people if we aren't even taken care of ourselves.

I sincerely pray that someday you learn all that nurses do and please know that during our breaks, we are chugging coffee, eating some sort of lunch, and re-tying our shoes... not playing cards.

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