The Selfie as Little Ritual

Have you every wondered why self-portraits and the ever-present selfie are ringing such a resonate gong these days? Surely there’s something we are hungry for that’s getting fed by this cell-phone enhanced habit.

I’m curious about the phenomenon, and I thought you might be too. That’s why I’ve invited soulsister and self-portrait specialist Vivienne McMaster to do a 3Q Interview with us today about self portraiture as Little Ritual.

If you like what you read, be sure to join Viv’s Be Your Own Beloved class, starting Saturday, November 1st. (Go register! I ‘ve taken it and it’s so, so good.)

Vivienne, step right up!


Q: I’m super curious about Little Rituals and how they enrich our daily life. How did self-portraiture become your little ritual?

A: Taking self-portraits came into my life about 8 years back when I was just emerging from a bit of a depression and at the time I was also doing night shift work.  It was definitely a low point and at the same time I had this really strong pull to try to do something each that felt like it filled up my own well in some way and had me feeling alive, awake & engaged with the world around me (even if I still felt exhausted). 

Going on little daily photo walks around the neighbourhood became that for me and putting even just a little bit of myself into the photo helped me feel like I was saying ‘I’m here’. 

It really did become a ritual for me, one that I do almost daily because it does keep filling me up, keep allowing me ways to dig deeper into seeing myself with kidnness. It has become a little ritual that helps me feel like I’m deeply engaging in being the narrator of the visual story of my life and truly only takes a few minutes each day. Plus, since that time selfies have become the norm, so it’s not so unusual for someone to pull out their camera or phone and aim it at themsleves!

Q: We don’t keep doing rituals just because “it’s tradition.” They have to have some purpose if they’re going to stick with us. What has your self-portrait ritual brought to you over the years?

A: My ritual of taking daily self-portraits has brought me so much, especially in terms of healing my relationship to body image and how I saw myself.  When I started taking them, I was still so entrenched in the self-hate and low self-esteem that had been with me since my teen years.  I was in my late 20’s at this point and was so tired of it.  This daily ritual of just trying to see myself with kindness through my camera, photo by photo has helped me slowly shift from a place of self-hate towards self-compassion and finding confidence too.

Plus, it’s been a really playful process for me.  So these little moments feel like self-care & they help me fill up my own well too.

Q: What is it about the Be Your Own Beloved course that makes snapping a selfie about so much more than just showing off a new haircut?

I think selfies are often perceived as being about our physicality, and while there isn’t anything wrong with that, it has the potential to be so much more.  That’s where we go with it in Be Your Own Beloved, beyond just our physicality and towards storytelling, deciding how we want to see ourselves, telling brave stories through our photos and allowing ourselves to be seen both by ourselves and by the supportive community.  We challenge ourselves to look at the images we take the way we would look at someone we deeply love, with kind eyes. 

So you could say we go far beyond the surface in Be Your Own Beloved but at the same time we still only take a few minutes a day to take each photo, like a typical selfie, and have a whole lot of fun doing it. It’s my hope that it becomes a little ritual for the participants to see themselves with love each day!


Need a new ritual for your Fall/Winter season? I give two thumbs way up to Vivienne’s lovely class and the community she creates there. Be Your Own Beloved  starts November 1st.

Much Warmth,
Rachelle Mee-Chapman
(yep, it’s a selfie!)

Susan November 1, 2014 at 6:28 am

Thanks Rachelle. A new little ritual like this might be just what I need to help me “find” myself in my new city. I’ve been resisting so far. I like the seed of inspiration you’ve just planted.

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