How to understand your self image
“There is but one cause of human failure. And that is man’s lack of faith in his true Self.” - William James
Are you aware of your inner self? Is your self image helping you grow or making you struggle to find your place in this world? Do you think high self image is important for one to be successful in life? When I say self image or inner image I mean the way you think about yourself, the way you talk to yourself, the way you feel about yourself. Do you know when we think about our inner self we create a mental picture in our mind about how we look, how we sound, how we feel about ourselves based on appearance, behaviour, our performance level, are we confident or shy, introvert or extrovert and so on. Many a times we struggle to think positively about our self because we try to criticise our own self saying that we are not good enough or we lack the ability to do certain things and on the contrary always miss the opportunities we get in life.
So how is inner image developed? From childhood we are under the influence of our parents, siblings, teachers, friends and relatives. They are mirrors reflecting back to us, an image of ourselves. Most of us would have got our nick names on the basis of our height, weight, skin colour and so on, eg: Motu, Chotu, etc. Most of us would have been labelled as being “Stupid”, “Good for nothing” and so on. These labels become our beliefs of self, even after we grow up and loose weight we still think we are fat, we think that “I am good for nothing” or “I am not smart enough”. We create a mental impression and create boundaries which we think we will never be able to over come. We are all conditioned. Conditioned by our previous experiences, conditioned by circumstances, situations, parents, teachers, peers, etc. Most of the time it is our childhood conditioning when we feel we have low self esteem or low self confidence.
Self image can be positive or negative depending upon our mental conditioning, the way we view ourselves. Positive self image helps you think, feel, behave and act positively. You like the person you see in the mirror, embracing your flaws, weaknesses and limitations. You accept yourself the way you are, your imperfections are no more a hindrance in achieving your goals. Similarly negative self image refers that you always think low about yourself, the flaws and imperfections of yours taking away most of your energy as you keep focusing on your weaknesses. You feel that you are unintelligent, unattractive, undesired and unhappy about your self image all the time. This can lead to low self confidence, low self esteem, illness and sometimes depression too.
So how can we focus on creating positive self image?
1. Be kind to yourself
Stop thinking, feeling and talking negatively to yourself. Be kind to the person you see in the mirror everyday. Praise yourself, motivate yourself, accept yourself the way you are. Accept your body variations and flaws, the way you look, your hair, your skin colour, the wrinkles around your eyes. Accept your weaknesses, your limitations, because you are YOU and if you don’t love yourself or accept your selfthen nobody else will.
2. Be your Best Friend
We never give wrong advice to our best friends, do we? We always want our best friend to do good in life, we want to see them successful, we want to encourage them when they need our help, similarly you can be your own best friend. Encourage yourself, talk positively to yourself, help yourself to come out of the negativity trap, embrace yourself with all your heart. Use positive affirmations, that “ I a can do this”, “I am beautiful”,” I can achieve whatever I wish for”, and so on. Stop criticising yourself instead focus on your abilities, your power, your strength.
3. Change your perspective
Our perception of ourselves becomes our reality. If you perceive low of yourself, as a good for nothing kind of individual it eventually becomes your reality. Similarly if you think highly about yourself, you automatically start feeling good about yourself. And when you feel good about yourself you start focusing on your strengths rather than your weaknesses, you start loving yourself.
4. Stop comparing yourself
Every individual is different from each other. If I am good at something that doesn’t mean that you have to also be good at that. Nobody is perfect and its ok not to be perfect. Because perfection is an illusion not a reality. Try to be the better version of yourself than you were yesterday. Try to not compare yourself with others which will eventually again make you think negatively about yourself. Try to focus on your strengths, make your own wish list and start accomplishing it, make your own mark in the society by being different from others, be one of a kind. Be satisfied with your achievements, but don’t stop to dream, take one step at a time to make your dreams a reality.
5. Heal your past
As in the beginning of this blog I had mentioned that, we are all conditioned from childhood, from our previous experiences and our self belief and self image have a great impact of our past conditioning. Let your past be in the past. Forget about the labels you were given when you were a child, come out of your past negative memories and start with a fresh slate. Think, feel, act, behave and perform better, with positivity as your super power.
The bottom line is a healthy self image comes from accepting yourself as you are, embracing your flaws, you are not perfect, no one is. Self acceptance will open many doors for you. You complete yourself, you don’t need others to complete you or accept you once you have accepted yourself.