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Claim Your Inner Selfie

By Kay Van Norman March 15, 2024 Mindset

Social media is the land of the selfie, and I’m sure there are entire research disciplines devoted to figuring out that phenomenon! I’ve never been a fan, but recently have been contemplating the concept of an inner self.”

During a celebration of life for a dear friend, I watched the highlight reel of his life and wondered, Are these the photos he would have chosen for himself? Aside from images illustrating a life well-lived, were there other photos that he would have chosen to reflect the most important aspects of ‘self’ – who he was at his core?

Self-image is often forged early in life and gradually morphs as experiences either reinforce or diminish the connection to self. Significant life events may also “rock you to your core,” making it difficult to see a clear pathway back to one’s best self.

When was the last time you really felt connected to self? You know, that feeling of energy or flow that fuels joy in your life – regardless of challenges. The feeling that you are connected to your core values and are truly known by others?

You may know exactly what I mean or maybe it has been so long you’re not sure you would recognize the feeling!

What Is an Inner Selfie?

Try this. Think of a picture of yourself (past or present) that you really love – one that makes you think, “Yes, there I am!” Something about it reflects who you are at your best, or who you want to be. 

Think of it as an inner selfie!

If you can’t find one – imagine what it would be and why. Maybe it reveals an internal thread of your best self that runs through every role you take on in life – at work, home, and in the community.

Maybe it reflects the energetic, joyful person you want to be or the life you want to live.

Here’s One of My Inner Selfies

The photo above reflects my drive for a sense of freedom and adventure, a passion for exploring new paths, confidence in my ability to lead the way, and a lifelong kinship with wild places and spirited horses.

Each of these qualities have shaped how I experience both my personal and professional roles in life. 

As a mom I took my boys camping, fishing, and horseback riding. In a favorite Mother’s Day card my adult son thanked me for taking him fishing “every time he asked”!

When riding with friends I seldom stay on the trail, opting instead for bushwacking through the trees looking for new trails or scenic vistas that might be just over the next hill.  

Professionally I’m also driven to create new pathways to overcome common challenges. It’s so much a part of how I work that the Emerson quote, “Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and create a trail”is prominent on my website!

What Do You Envision as Your Inner Selfie?

So, what about you? What would your inner selfie express about you? Does a photo exist, or can you envision what one would look like? Consider for example:

  • What consistent threads run through your life no matter what role you’re playing?
  • Has your ‘core-self’ changed or remained the same through life challenges and changes?
  • If it has changed, are you happy with that change; and if not, can you create a pathway back to your best self?

The concept of an inner selfie can help you remain connected to your core values and more clearly illustrate your best self to others.

Currently, how well do people in your life truly know you? Consider how you ‘show up’ in all aspects of your life and how most people would describe you to others. Are you happy with that description, and would it match how you would describe yourself?

Do Others See You as You See Yourself?

Be aware that as your interactions with others change over the years, how they view you compared to how you view yourself can become quite different.

For example, recently while our family was exploring some mountain property, I took a side trail and got back to the group a little later than everyone else. When I returned, one of my boys was hollering MOM!!, and the other had gone to look for me. They were worried, and I was completely baffled.

I’m healthy, fit, and quite competent in the mountains (thank you very much), so what made them think I was at risk? After some discussion, it boiled down to my age of 66! What? After all our outdoor adventures together and years of pushing back against ageist expectations, they were worried because of my age. Seriously?

Apparently, neutralizing ageism is like an endurance event combined with a contact sport where you can get hit at any time, even by your own teammates!

Contemplating this experience, I realized that while I continue to lead mountain adventures with my friends of all ages, interactions with my boys are much different – focused instead on interacting with grandkids aged 3–6 years old. Of course, that’s part of who I am as well, but it’s clearly time I took my adult sons on a bushwhacking adventure they won’t soon forget!

It Takes a Lifetime

Being true to self is a persistent life challenge. But, having a clear image of self and being aware of how well we project that to others can help! Consider posting an ‘inner selfie’ (complete with how it reflects your best self) someplace you will see it daily. Then contemplate specific ways to ensure your interactions with those you care about consistently reflect the most important aspects of who you are at your core. Inner selfies – pass it on!

Visit Brilliant Aging for more information about living your best life at every age!


Let’s Have a Conversation:

What would (or does) your inner selfie look like? Have your adult children or others close to you underestimated your abilities simply due to age? If you have lost a part of ‘self’, can you think of ways to get it back?

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Lesley Simcock

This is what I think my inner selfie is, I’m not overly keen on being indoors except when the weather is bad and it would be a sin not to explore (even if I’ve done it umpteen times) my local area

Kay Van Norman

Thanks for sharing!

The Author

Healthy aging expert Kay Van Norman is the President of Brilliant Aging. She serves on international boards, speaks and consults around the world, and has an extensive list of publications. Her Vitality Portfolio® model for lifelong health will be featured in a book by author Jack Canfield. Visit her at

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