From my own experiences, one of the most important factors to success is your self-image. How you view yourself and the skills and abilities that you have. After all, we won’t strive to improve or to leverage skills if we don’t think we are capable of doing so.
This too applies to our overall view of ourselves. When we have a negative view of ourselves, that view creates a lens over our eyes and shapes our reality. Because of this, whatever we think will impact us in some way.
While most would look to other solid qualities of success, I would suggest honing this skill before any others. Because this forms our own identity and creates a foundation for our skills to grow and our world to change.
But the question now becomes where to start?
As far as improving your self-image, there are all kinds of methods. I’ve explained a handful of them below.
Improve Self-Image Through Thinking & Acting As If…
One thing in the self-improvement world I stand behind is the idea of a role model or acting “as if”. Why I like this strategy is because it incorporates visualization while still keeping it real and true to yourself.
The idea with this method is to visualize in one of two ways:
- Your role model.
- Or “as if” you’ve already hit your goal.
In both of those scenarios, the idea is to place yourself in one of those positions.
What would your role model do in this situation?
What would your future – and improved self – handle this situation?
This is a powerful method because it can give you some clear and distinct steps for you to be taking. It also pushes you to look deeper into yourself in either situation.
In the case of a role model, you’re comparing who you are with the aspects of your role model you’re familiar with.
For your future self, you’re comparing who you are now with who you want to be.
And while I have said comparing yourself can be bad it comes down to perspective. Often times comparison leads to a passive stance, but this form of comparison is more active. You’re not comparing for the sake of it. You’re looking for space to grow and fill.
Develop Curiosity For Yourself
Life has a way of sucking us in. Sometimes we get wrapped up in a routine that we kind of lose ourselves. It can become so bad though that we struggle to remember who we were or what brought us joy in our lives.
I’ve felt that in recent months where I’ve been put into a state of constant work. It’s why I’ve revived my Youtube channel. It breaks things up and allows me to ask more questions to myself.
The idea with this method is to round yourself out with more skills and experiences. From my perspective, my writing work is all that has defined me and my life. Don’t get me wrong, I’m proud to say I’m a writer. But I want to be more than that.
Keep in mind this exploration doesn’t need to push you to extreme measures. I’d suggest starting small and mixing up the small things in life. I’m doing that by getting outside more and recording more videos. Things that get me away from my desk for at least an hour or two.
Some call it self-care, I call it treating yourself. Whatever the case is, indulging in yourself in some fashion is one way to improve your self-image.
Why that the case is due to the fact that this is a way of showing that you care about yourself. Not only that but it encourages you to look at what you do enjoy.
Treating yourself doesn’t always mean indulging in unhealthy snacks or buying lavish items. It can take all kinds of shapes. January has been a busy month with me netting me a huge surplus of cash. I’m treating myself by stepping up my exercise regimen and signing up for a gym membership as it’s a passion that I want to work towards.
Change Your Outlook On Life
Whenever something bad happens, some people are quick to pin themselves as a victim. We might chalk that up as something natural but how we react to certain events says a lot about our outlook of our lives and of ourselves.
Think about it.
When we have a negative or victimized attitude, we are quick to express sadness when we hear a tragic story. Or we have a bias to paint ourselves as a victim when we make mistakes rather than own up to them.
These sorts of patterns sink in deep and over time change our outlook of ourselves and of the world around us.
So I encourage you to question your outlook and to adopt some new perspectives.
Here is how:
- Challenge yourself to figure out what would be a counter-argument to your statement.
- Look for other people’s opinions rather than relying on a single source.
- Ask yourself what life really means to you.
Life is full of perspectives. There are always two sides to every subject. That’s not to say that one side is right and the other is wrong, but acknowledging other opinions and views can shape our reality.
Pay Deep Attention To Your Thoughts On Your Self-Image
As suggested above, what we say and think influences our behaviour and how we act. If you are constantly blaming yourself or over-apologizing, there are good odds that you don’t see yourself in a positive way.
But digging deeper, those thoughts stem from perhaps negative thoughts about who you think you are.
Negative self-talk is dangerous, but it can be pushed back. Changing your outlook on life is one thing, but it’s worth monitoring your thoughts too.
Here are some strategies to consider:
- Allow yourself to have those thoughts, but make them positive. For example, whenever you have a negative thought say “True, but here is how I’ll fix it…”
- Express gratitude and have some affirmations to help you.
- Ask yourself why you believe those negative thoughts. Most times you’re telling yourself these things and they’re not true.
Have Desire But Not Too Much
Desire to change is a good motivator as we often connect personal reasons to those changes. But sometimes those desires can become too much and are detrimental to us.
For example, I took a program called Katimavik in 2010 after a deep desire to change my perspective of myself and to be more social. This desire was so strong that by the end of the program, I felt disappointed with myself.
I felt like I squandered that potential as I defaulted to my usual behaviour back then – keeping to myself.
If I wasn’t the type of person who reflected on these events, I may still have regret about that event. But because I did, I learned that Katimavik helped me significantly and shaped my life somewhat into what it is now.
So while desire can help us have active change in our lives, make sure you are keeping your integrity. Be reasonable with your desires and reflect on the decisions made.
Don’t Feel Insulted
The beauty of life is that every event and conversation we have in our lives is a choice. What I mean by this is that we’re allowed to choose whether we react or act and how we react or act.
This is the power that you have to remember because life is a jungle. There are events, conversations, and more that can shake our self-image.
I want to be focusing on insults because these challenge our own perception of ourselves. Sometimes they can be criticisms, but sometimes they are full-blown insults.
How we can handle these is to not deny them, but consider their legitimacy. Is it something you can improve on yourself? Or is this a problem that this person has with you?
Whatever the case is, don’t beat yourself up. Be critical of who you are and follow a system where every insult or criticism is either brushed off or taken to heart and leveraged.
In the end, we’re all going to have flaws and people will point those out. The key is to ensure that they don’t constantly get in our way. They are part of us and while we can change, some things take time.
Disappointment And Negativity Is Part Of Life
Recognize that feelings of disappointment and negativity are part of life. We wish we could abolish all negativity but I consider it a necessary part of life.
I’m glad that we can experience rejection, failure, mistakes, and other negative things. Because it allows us to learn and feel challenged.
If there was no negativity, all of us would have much better lives for sure, but there wouldn’t be obstacles. Everything would be easily obtained and there would not be any problems.
While that sounds nice on the surface problems create all kinds of things. Innovation wouldn’t be a thing if we had no real problems. Imagine life without all the things that we have.
The fact we have challenges and adversity is healthy for lives and it gives us purpose.
How this translates to self-image is similar to what I mentioned in my previous point. We have flaws and there are things that we consider as disappointments in our lives. The key is to rethink our views of those. We can’t deny them, but we can learn to leverage them or suppress them in some manner so they aren’t constant obstacles.
It’s not easy to do that, but it is possible.
Your Self-Image Is Essential
Your self-image is important and determines how you interact with people and the world. When we work on how we see ourselves, we will begin to change the world in how we see it. We get to see events, conversations, and circumstances differently and it’s all because we choose to look at ourselves.
So strive to see yourself differently. And even if you have changed, make sure to check yourself. Change is constant after all.
To your growth!
Eric S Burdon