The Importance of a Positive Self-Image
Your self-image is just that — your image of yourself. It is the combination of the impressions your experiences in life have made on you, whether for good or bad. When these experiences combine to give you a negative self-image, you constantly doubt yourself. You worry about whether the decisions you make were the right ones and if they expose you to criticism by others.
When you have a positive self-image, often you possess feelings of high self-esteem, popularity, happiness and competency. These feelings can often motivate you to seek success in other parts of your life, such as money, health and independence. Having, or developing, a positive self-image can help you face, and tackle, the challenging parts of life, such as poor health, financial problems or even physical disability. The ability to achieve a positive self-image is so important, in anyone’s life.
A Positive Self-Image Requires Positive Self-Esteem
In a survey conducted by the American Psychological Association, adults rated the most important factor to achieving a positive self-image and feeling of well-being is self-esteem. Without a positive sense of self-esteem, it is nearly impossible to maintain a positive self-image.
A positive self-esteem can be gained through the practice of deflecting, or deleting, the negative thoughts or feelings that you feel. Without being able to develop a way of learning to feel good about yourself on a consistent basis, it will be difficult to maintain a positive self-image.
Most of all, avoid negative self-talk. Don’t ever undervalue yourself, put yourself down or put yourself down to others, even in jest. Soon others will begin to believe it, and it will be even harder to pull yourself up.
Your Personal Self-Image
Your self-image has a strong impact on how your feel about yourself and your actions. How you react to life around you can affect those with whom you relate. Just because one person throws some negative comments your way doesn’t make them true. Projecting a positive self-image will make people more likely to see you as a positive, capable person. This turn can help reinforce your own feelings that you are a positive, capable person.
How you can see yourself varies quite differently from how others see you. You may project a sense of bravado outwardly, projecting an image of having it all together, but inside, you may be constantly worrying that you are going to be found out, because you don’t believe that the image you are portraying is true. This is sometimes referred to as “imposter syndrome,” the feeling that you are not the person you convey yourself to be.
On the other hand, those who have had a very difficult life, with multiple hardships may have a very positive self-image. They manage to stay positive despite, or maybe because of, the pitfalls they have faced. If you see yourself as capable, you’re more likely to reach out for something you want, and you’re more willing to take smart risks. Developing a positive self-image makes it easier to let yourself be seen for the accomplished person that you are.
Sometimes having an occasional negative thought or criticism can enhance a positive self-image by encouraging a desire to defeat that criticism through hard work and perseverance. Other times, having too positive of a self-image can encourage underachievement and arrogance. Finding a balance between feeling good about oneself, but still having realistic goals is important.
Your self-image is constantly changing. This why you have the opportunity to turn it into a more positive part of who you are, challenging the distortions you may see in your internal mirror. Self-image changes throughout your life. It begins with learning to accept yourself for who you are, and being accepted by others for who you are as well, not what anyone, including yourself thinks you should be.