Few things are as important in life as a winning self-image. The self-image is the lens through which we see the world. The main difference between the guy who's sitting on top of the world and the guys who feels that he carries the weight of the world on his shoulders is the self-image.
In most cases, the self-image was pretty well defined by the time that we were three years old. The society in which we live, parents, friends and teachers had already, at that tender age, influenced us in accepting their views as to who and what we are. Most people go through life holding unto someone else's opinion of their self-image. What a shame, what a waste.
The self-image is like a mask that could be worn in a play to define a character. And just as is the case in a play, the actor will remain faithful to that character. Yet, for all its importance, that mask is only the product of suggestions from others and from personal observations. The mask is the synthesis of randomly accepted suggestions and not much else.
Those suggestions created a fundamental belief that defined for us what we believe our nature to be. A belief is nothing but notions that are supported by evidences. Whether those evidences are factual or not does not matter. All that matters is the conclusions that they bring and those conclusions become our reality.
If the mask (self-image) that we are wearing does not serve us well, it can be changed. Remember finding a friend that you had not seen for a long time and be amazed at the transformation that had taken place since you had last seen that person. That transformation was caused by a change of the self-image.
The change could have been done either voluntary or unconsciously. The effect is the same either way. If we so choose, it is possible to change that image. That is done by consciously changing the tone of the chatter that constantly goes on in our mind.
We are constantly evaluating our performances and ourselves. Can you recall ever telling yourself, "I can't do anything right. I'm stupid. No one likes Me." Those are all comments that will reinforce a negative self-image. By consciously changing those comments to, "I'm a pretty sharp guy. I'm OK. People seem to like me." the self-image will gradually change from negative to positive.
Dr. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon, was amazed at finding out that, even after intensive changes following cosmetic surgery, his patients still held on the belief that nothing had changed, that they were still disfigured. He came to the correct conclusion that the self-image will not conform to the reality but will hang on to previously held beliefs.
Dr. Maltz worked with these patients to change the self-image through autosuggestion and positive affirmations. In about thirty days, the change was complete. These people finally accepted new beliefs about themselves; their self-image changed and they were finally brought into a new reality.
We behave as we perceive ourselves to be. The self-image determines how we behave, how we see the world and how we think about ourselves. And, again, for all its importance that self-image probably has never been explored or questioned.
If it serves us well, there is no need to change it. However, if it can be improved, it is always possible to do it. All that is needed is to change the self-talk. Try it and see miracles happen
Dr. Raymond Comeau aka Shamou is the Owner Administrator of the Personal Development for Personal Success Forums.