So let’s get right to it. When you look in the mirror what do you think about that image that is staring back at you? It’s time to take a hard look at what you are saying to yourself and the impact it has on your life.
Self image is how you see yourself in relation to others. This is the idea you have of what kind of person you are which could also be called self concept. It is very important as it affects your self esteem and confidence.
Self image includes:
- What you think you look like physically
- How your personality comes across
- What kind of person you think you are
- What you think others think of you
- How much you like yourself or you think others like you
Self worth is tied very closely to our self image. Self worth can be described as a personal judgment of worthiness that is expressed in the attitudes we hold about ourselves. The picture we hold of ourselves in our own mind is intimately connected to the value we place on ourselves. Healthy self worth is having a positive constructive view of yourself and your abilities. It allows you to work toward your goals and engage in rewarding relationships. Unhealthy self worth is displayed as a negative, pessimistic or disapproving view of yourself. It is the inability to see beyond limitations and problems. Those who display this type of worth believe that they can’t reach goals or have meaningful relationships.
Improving your self-image, like improving any skill, takes time and practice. Developing good self-esteem involves encouraging a positive attitude toward yourself and the world around you and appreciating your worth, while at the same time behaving responsibly towards others. Self-esteem isn’t self-absorption; it’s self-respect.
By working from the inside out and focusing on changing your own way of thinking before changing the circumstances around you, you can build your self-esteem. The goal of this positive thinking is to give yourself a more positive self-image, while seeing yourself honestly and accepting yourself, and removing the internal barriers that can keep you from doing your best.
Following are several quick and easy techniques you can use to help improve your self image:
- Avoid exaggerations.
Correct your internal voice when it exaggerates, especially when it exaggerates the negative. Try to avoid thinking in extreme terms (“I always make that mistake” or “I’ll never get that promotion.”)
- Stop negative thoughts in their tracks.
Sometimes putting a stop on negative thinking is as easy as that. The next time you start giving yourself an internal beating, tell yourself to “stop it!” If you saw a person yelling insults at another person, you would probably tell them to stop. Why do you accept that behavior from yourself?
- Accept flaws and being human.
Maybe you did get nervous and blow that presentation – so what? Talk to your boss about what went wrong, try to address the error in the future, and move on. All people have flaws and make mistakes. Your boss, coworkers, friends, family, postman, congressman, and favorite movie star have all made mistakes. They’ve forgiven themselves; so can you.
- Accept imperfections.
Perfection is a high goal to aim for – you don’t need to start there or even end there. Make doing your best your ideal; what more can you realistically do? Focus on what you’ve gained from the process and how you can use it in the future. Avoid focusing on what wasn’t done or ‘should have’ been done differently. Allow yourself to make mistakes and then forgive yourself. Try laughing instead of criticizing. Give yourself permission to decide you’re doing the best you can. Remind yourself when you’re doing things well – don’t wait to hear it from someone else.
- Don’t feel responsible for everything.
Just as everything is not your fault, not everything is your responsibility. It’s okay to be helpful, but don’t feel the need to be all things (and do all things) for all people. This is taking too much of a burden on yourself AND limiting those around you. Let others be responsible for themselves and their actions — you shouldn’t feel responsible for their happiness.
- Focus on what you CAN do, not what you can’t.
Avoid “can’t” thinking or other negative language. If you say something often enough, you may start to believe it, so keep your statements positive, not negative. Don’t be afraid to seek help in accomplishing things, but remind yourself that you don’t need approval from others to recognize your accomplishments. Focus on what you’re able to do. Remind yourself of all your capabilities and positive qualities.
Using just one or two of these strategies on a regular basis can greatly increase your positive self-image and self-esteem. Making these internal changes will increase your confidence in yourself and your willingness and ability to make external changes and improve your life. And it increases the certainty that you can answer that question with a resounding, “I AM the fairest one of all!”