Our self image can be the source of our success but also of our pain and distorted world views. It can empower us to take our destiny in our own hands or lock us into victim-hood and take on a fatalistic view of life.
Improve your self image and find the secret of so many successful and accomplished individuals. The real success and accomplishment of people with a highly-polished self image, is not only translated in wealth and abundance in their lives but more importantly in the happiness and excitement of living out their life purpose without their self image getting in their way. This is the highest achievement life can offer.
Improve your self image piece by piece
Improve your self image by addressing each of the following elements:
- A physical self image: How YOU see your physical reflection or how you remember it in your head. Even this can be distorted if for example you exaggerate your defects or ignore some things that make you appealing or unique.
- An idealistic view of yourself: Some idealized version of yourself which might be a true reflection of your potential still coming of age or a created ideal which is not necessarily authentically yours but based on some ideal model approved by society.
- Your reflection through others: Bits and pieces of how you think others see you through constant interaction with them. This of course does not give a correct picture of yourself since it could be doubly distorted (others might see something you are truly not and on top of that you might be interpreting it into yet something else).
All of the above can create an image of who we are that is built upon layers of mis-perceptions and distortions. Beliefs and fears for instance can grossly misinterpret our world, and even who we think we are.
The danger with having a distorted self image is that it can create a false template or blueprint which we follow throughout our life which in turn can make us take paths and make decisions which are ‘offset’ from our real innate blueprint. It can create obstacles, rough waters and ultimately make life harder than it should be.
How can one heal the self image
The blueprint can be reprogrammed and this can be said for any of our belief structures no matter how dense or deep they are. In the case of the self image, here are a few things which can greatly help improve your self image and turn it into something that is more faithful to your true nature and hence supportive of your life purpose:
1. Change your internal discourse
I have written about the importance of positive self-talk before and here it is mostly relevant. We sometimes enter into destructive internal discourse or what is often referred to as negative self-talk. This includes judgment, criticism and mental statements that are at best unhelpful and totally negative in general.
The power of thinking and ‘talking in your head’ cannot be underestimated. If you continuously tell yourself “I am a failure” your subconscious mind takes it as a factual statement and keeps record of it. Your self image is also highly dependent on these inner conversations. So change the tone and direction of your inner conversations, be more positive, appreciative, supportive, encouraging and gentle with yourself. Do that step alone, and see how quickly you improve your self image!
2. Authenticate your views
You know how you are asked to authenticate your identity online by answering some security question or entering some credentials? Well it’s a good analogy of what we should be doing with some of our views and feelings—especially fear-based and negative feelings.
Many times (if not always) fear and pessimism are influenced by others around us—both in the present and past. Fear, for instance, is contagious. We adopt certain negative views or make decisions based on fears that are not originally coming from us. In short, they shouldn’t belong to your program. You need to authenticate the information.
Ask yourself whenever you start thinking in a certain way or feeling afraid that you should not be doing something or another, whether that feeling or thought is really yours or not. Stay with it for a bit and stay still. Allow it to come up but don’t just let it be.
Be inquisitive as a security guard at the door. Ask yourself where it is coming from and where it is based. Just these two questions alone can be enough to expose an underlying plot (very often of the ego). Something that may sound like a rational judgment can be uncovered and seen to be nothing more than an irrational fear lurking in the background.
3. Align with your life essentials
Improve your self image not only by how you see yourself in the mirror (actually this is the least important) or by how you think of yourself. Improve your self image more importantly by what you do or who you surround yourself with. It flows both ways. Your self image projects outwards reflecting on what you do and it is then, in-turn, affected by things you do. These things happen in a continuous cycle.
It’s like a vicious or virtuous circle depending on how ‘offset’ it is.
If you have an inauthentic self image, it will be projected in the things you do in life and so it will basically create an inauthentic life which will in-turn solidify that self image. If you have a very authentic self image it will also be projected outwards and you will be doing and surrounding yourself with people and things that are essential to your well-being and real purpose.
So the bottom-line is to surround yourself with people and things that you naturally feel inclined towards—that you are passionate about, that resonate with you, and that you naturally feel are somehow a true reflection of your being. This can be anything from your job, your friends, the color of your bedroom to the books you read and the things you buy.
I know it’s a big list but it can be done gradually and effectively if you become more mindful of the little things you do. Yes, you have to be on guard all the time not to do things unconsciously. Try out an experiment: Just like when you buy a perfume you sense whether it reflects your character, you can do the same with most things in life. Think for instance whether a particular role you are playing fits genuinely your higher purpose.
4. Be guided by others who have healed their self image
These people can be spotted from miles away. There is something about them. There is a certain flow and truthfulness in whatever they do. They usually inspire trust, harmony and the admiration of others. People with a healthy and truthful self image are usually very light and seem to do things effortlessly.
If you know people like this, surround yourself with them. It is like a positive contagion. It will brush off onto you because deeper levels of the mind and consciousness will be taking in these subtle signals and reflect them accordingly.
5. Love More
This may sound like it has nothing to do with a method to improve your self image but in fact it is one of the most important items on the list. It is extremely powerful. First of all, love is the true nature of consciousness—and everything else—no matter how many counter examples we can come up with. This may sound deeply metaphysical and I have no space to dive into this but it is a fundamental insight.
If you love more, this will not only improve your self image, but your whole consciousness as well as it aligns with the fundamental fabric of existence. You start loosening the inauthentic layers that distort your self image and inner bearings. You strengthen and regenerate the positive traits that arise out of your true nature.
6. Honor your inner wisdom
Your inner sage, your heart, knows who you truly are. Respect that inner wisdom and give space to connect with it in moments where you slow the pace or are still. Give it thanks and honor it, for not only will it improve your self image, it will guide you and show you the way of your true, beautiful and powerful Self.