Self Image

You know how you can walk into a store you have never been to before, and when you checked out the price tags, almost everything was too expensive for your own good , and you felt somewhat out of place. Or say you are among a group of people in a social gathering and you felt like the people you were mingling with were too good for you maybe in terms of social class or status; or it was you who felt you were better than them for the same reasons. This feeling of defining or describing yourself in a certain manner in comparison to other people based on various experiences is the subject of this post.
In all honesty, if you were to define yourself, or introduce yourself to another person without all the flowery stuff, how would your introduction sound like? When you are alone, what sort of person do you perceive yourself to be?
Whether we would like to have it so or not, each one of us carries around a picture or a mental blueprint of the sort of person we think of ourselves to be. This mental blueprint may not be recognizable on a conscious level; it may be buried deep in our subconscious, but make no mistake, it is there, right down to the last detail. This mental blueprint is what is usually referred to as the “Self image.” The self image is how we define and express ourselves to ourselves and to the rest of the world through our words and deeds.
The self image is not something you are born with; rather, it is structured from a set of beliefs about us and the rest of the world. It is based out of our experiences from the past; our successes, our failures, , our triumphs, our humiliations, as well as our interactions with the world right from childhood until this moment. Once a picture of ourselves or others or something goes into this mental picture, it becomes true as far as we are concerned.
Here is the interesting part. All of us without even knowing it are always expressing ourselves in line with the self image. If for instance you think of yourself as a failure, maybe the people around you since childhood suggested to you either directly or indirectly that this is the sort of person you are, and you mistakenly believed them and accepted this to be true, could be the reason why success seems out of reach to you. In a word, you have subconsciously acted out this role. You have found ways to fail even when success, was literally dumped on your lap. We have all heard of people who won the lottery only to lose their winnings in a short time and in the most unexplainable of ways. This is likely the self image of a failure personality at work.
The concept of the self image also applies to our hardwired habits and patterns of behavior. This is one of the main reasons people find it difficult to change their habits and patterns of behavior. For example an alcoholic might tell you that he has tried everything to detach from his addiction to alcohol but time and again he has failed. He will then go ahead and justify his addictive habit by stating that he comes from a long line of addicts, maybe his father, uncles, grandfather, and so on. What such a person may not realize is that his habits spring primarily from his strongly held beliefs.
You feel good when the self image is secure and intact, but when it is threatened you become anxious and insecure. When your self-image is adequate and one you can be completely proud of, your self confidence soars, you feel free to express and be yourself, you perform at your optimum. On the contrary, when it is an object of shame, your creative expression is blocked, you become aggressive, hostile, and hard to get along with, you attempt to conceal it rather than express it.
The good news is that if we come to the realization that it is the self image that has been obstructing us from reaching our goals all along, it can be replaced with a self image that serves us and propels us forward to the direction of our goals. Since the self image is what prescribes the area of possibility in the goals we are trying to attain and the kind of lifestyles we lead, it might thus be the answer to most of the discrepancies we inhabit.

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