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Self Image

Many factors influence a person's self image and also self esteem.  Self image is a sort of mental image of how the person sees himself and his positive and negative features and characteristics. 

These collective factors are related to the macro and micro environment of the person.  Our self image is greatly built and developed as a result of our conditioning.  It’s a result of our past and the influences we have had along the way and our understanding and interpretation of our life and life experiences.  It is in itself part of our ego.

Our self image is also determined by the people in our lives.  For example encouragement and believing in a child can greatly influence ones self image and also self esteem, as opposed to criticism and telling the child they are wrong and whatever they do is not good enough. 

P arents may do this without realizing it.  For example I was in a swimming pool one day and a father was teaching his son how to dive.  The child jumped in and the father said something like "No that’s not right, you didn’t do what I told you….."  It is also not so much the words but also the tone of voice and the energy that comes through.  This father was trying his best.  His intention was to help the child learn to swim. 

The child's interpretation of his father's words is important.  If the child noticed how much his father wants to help and that the correction was a way to teach him to dive better, then when the child is picked out by others in any situation he may feel the same, I have something to learn and I can try better next time.  If the child hears in his father's words, I am no good.  I cannot even remember or do what my Dad says, then this may influence his life and therefore self image in any situation when he is doing something he does not know how.   I hope by this example I have shown how easily past experience and conditioning can influence how you perceive yourself.

Our self image may also be affected by our physical appearance and body weight. A person that is not attractive will seek attention in other ways like excelling in a certain field. Sadly in today's culture your looks and weight are influencing factors in many different life situations.  


A negative self image is associated with thoughts of insecurity and lower self esteem.  It is also accompanied by a feeling of low self worth.  These thoughts and feelings are created by you and become a part of you, actually your ego.   The great news is that this is easily corrected.   It does mean a commitment on your part. You do not have to believe, only to commit to try and experiment. 


As a life coach what is important for me is that my client realizes his true self  and finds his strength from within.  This for me was a journey of self discovery and transformation.   Therefore it depends on the level of awareness my client has when coming to the coaching.  During the coaching the mindfulness that I practice myself comes though in my coaching and  my client evolves to realize that his self image is something that he has built of him/herself. 


When the client reflects on the images that he/she has created, it's possible to re-visit them and question them, creating turnarounds and seeing that perhaps the thought: "I am not worth much" can be turned around to "I am worth something" and for the client to see, realize and know why this is so. 

I now would like to discuss how we can improve our own self image.     There are many ways and what's important is to start somewhere.  


Below are some exercises I ask you to try and experiment with.   As a life coach my belief is that change and evolvement comes through practice. 





  1. Ask yourself if you are happy with your life?  


  1. Reflecting on positive self image experiences: Write down 2 different situations or events that happened in your life anytime in the past that you are proud of yourself, or situations or events that you feel you did your best and that you are happy with the outcome.  This is the true you.    


  1. Write these down and then see what qualities were there?  


  1. Observation of yourself in a situation where you are insecure about yourself:   Take a situation where you feel insecure about yourself and simply watch the situation as if you are an observer without judging yourself for being insecure.  Accepting yourself for who you are, right now.  This does not mean you will not be able to change.  It means allowing yourself to feel this.  I recommend the teachings of Eckhart Tolle and his book, The Power of Now.   


  1. Observation of yourself in a situation where you are secure and confident Watch the situation - see what's there.  Who are you?   What do you like about this situation?   What thoughts are in your mind?  



  1. Externalization and questioning your thoughts when you feel your self esteem has been diminished:  This exercise is something that can be done if you feel you want to improve your self image.  When you feel a situation that you feel like your self esteem has been put down, write it down.  This can be done about any situation in the past or in the moment that it is occurring.  The clearer your memory of your thoughts during the situation the better you can question your thoughts.   


Write down as much as you can.  The externalization of the event also helps to clear your mind and free you of your troubling thoughts   


What did you think?   What sentences were in your mind?


Example:   "He has no respect for me" Or "No one listens to me"  or "He makes me feel stupid."  Try and find those sentences as they come up again and again. 


Question your belief.  Perhaps its something someone told you in the past or a sentence you may have heard one of your parents say.  Ask yourself if this is really true.  How do you know its true.  Find the proof?  Perhaps the opposite is as true or truer.   





www.thework.com/theworkontheweb Byron Katie's online coaching program (Use 119-1110  coupon code  for an extra 2 weeks subscription as a bonus)



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