What is a person’s “self-image?” Well, it’s basically the way that you perceive yourself, the abstractions that you form inside your mind that encompass that sense of “you.” For example, part of your self-image may be that you consider yourself to be rather smart, or that you see yourself as popular and good-looking.
Alternatively, you might think that you’re stupid or lazy, or that you’re a bad businessperson, or that people hate you for who you are. It’s really all a matter of belief—and these beliefs can either serve you, or become a detriment to your life.
You see, your sense of self can ultimately place limitations on what you are capable of. It’s like a self-fulfilling prophecy and it can lead to limitations. For instance, if you consider yourself to be “bad with people” as an inherent fact, then you’re probably going to struggle with relationships and networking for the rest of your life. You’ll avoid going to parties or talking to strangers, all because of your belief that you don’t have a knack for social dynamics.
The problem with that is that you give up so many chances in life. For all you know, the next stranger you strike up a conversation with could be the love of your life or your next business partner.
As you can see, having a negative self-image is a huge limitation. In order to improve this situation, you might want to try some of these techniques:
1. Discover and acknowledge any negative tendencies that you have.
Everyone has bad habits, but you really shine when you take that extra step that most people don’t, and do your best to overcome them. Try to be non-judgmental when you examine yourself for poor behaviors, and simply make a plan to improve them. Get into the habit of exercising, eating right, and being more mindful.
Remember to just keep your eye on moving forward and progressing. Above all, perfection is something that you shouldn’t strive for, because you will probably never reach it.
2. Be grateful for the good things about you.
Write down all the things that you appreciate about yourself and all the things that you’ve done well during the day. Keep it as a running list and add to it every morning when you wake up and every evening before you go to bed. This will help you realize the progress that you’re making.
3. Be ethical.
Regardless of what you believe to be right and wrong in this world, practice it and don’t be a hypocrite. Chronic guilt has no place in a person with true self-esteem, so make sure that your life and your values match.
Write down all of the actions that you have decided are unethical and that you will no longer engage in.
Think about what an “ideal person” in terms of ethics is like. Try to emulate that person and become them.
4. Donate your time to those in need.
Help your neighbors, especially those who are too sick or old to help themselves, and you will see the good vibes returned your way. More importantly, it will make you feel more abundant and capable, which will greatly help your self-image.
Get online and look at all the different places to volunteer near you. Chances are, both you and the organization that you volunteer for will benefit from the relationship.
5. Celebrate your small victories.
Remember that a great success is really just a series of small successes. Make sure to acknowledge when you do the right thing and feel good about it. Whether it’s something small like consistently going to the gym every day, or something huge like earning a lot of money, part of becoming successful all the time is building on past experiences of success.
6. Find support.
Don’t waste your time with people who are toxic and criticize your every effort to make progress. Surround yourself with supportive people, especially those who have similar goals.
7. Do the things that you love.
Part of staying productive is being happy, and part of that is spending time doing things that you just love to do. Those feelings of happiness experienced during your time off will spread to other areas of your life, and will lead to a better overall feeling of well-being.
8. Stop being such a perfectionist.
One of the best ways to ensure constant unhappiness is to create ridiculous standards of perfection in your mind and then get upset when you don’t reach them. Just focus on improving all the time. That’s more than enough.
9. Be kind to yourself.
Just as you treat the people you love, you should treat yourself with kindness. Make sure that you are getting all your needs met and this will avoid unhappiness and frustration.
So, do you have a good opinion of yourself? The problem with having a negative sense of self is that it permeates every aspect of your life. Spending time working on yourself to improve your self-image is really worth it, since it can vastly increase your quality of life.
Maybe you feel it’s too hard, but this lack of motivation is probably due to feeling like you don’t deserve it. You know what, though? You do deserve it—and remember, few of the people around you are going to treat you with respect and love until you can do this for yourself.
To your success