3 Tools to Help Cultivate a Positive Self Image
Be unapologetically you!
Do you notice when negative, self-destructive thoughts creep into your mind? If you’re like most of us, you likely even discourage yourself with negative self-talk.
Beware of these negative processes! You can get overwhelmed with the negativity of your self-destructive thoughts. These thoughts are sometimes referred to as limiting beliefs. Limiting beliefs are thoughts, opinions that one believes to be the absolute truth. They tend to have a negative impact on one's life by stopping them from moving forward and growing on a personal and professional level.
Banish Limiting Beliefs
Are you sending yourself these troubled beliefs? Each example below is followed by suggestions about how to banish the limiting belief for good:
1. No one understands me. If you feel this way, then examine how it is that you have many people around you – friends, family members, and co-workers that DO understand you – and still you believe no one “gets” you. Strive to ensure they know how you feel. Share your thoughts appropriately with the people involved. This action will help you gain confidence in your self-expression and quell negative thoughts.
2. I don’t have enough time to “___________” (go after my dreams, get healthy, indulge in my beloved hobbies or fill in your own other ideas). If the only things you have time to do are things you have to do, it sure doesn’t make life much fun. Begin working to achieve a healthy balance in your life. Allow time each day to take part in things that make your heart sing. Fit your favorite activities into your very busy day. Make time for what you want. Start small, if you need to, by scheduling just 15 minutes for yourself. When you proactively take control of your schedule, you’ll be assured that you complete every activity you want to do.
3. I don’t deserve to have a happy life. Perhaps choices you’ve made in the past have caused you considerable psychological pain. You’ve been beating yourself up emotionally over those decisions. However, if you’ve identified them as poor choices, you’ve learned not to repeat them. Congratulate yourself for learning from your mistakes. You’ve gained new knowledge to use from this day forward. Confront this type of thinking by saying, “No, this thought isn’t right. I do deserve to have a happy life. After all, I learn well from my mistakes.” Remember NOBODY is perfect.
4. Things never seem to work out for me. This is a general statement that colors how you feel about yourself. It sends a subtle self message: “I must not be doing anything right.”In reality, you likely do many things well. Spend some time identifying what those things are. Also, you may be focusing too much on what doesn’t work out well and barely noticing what’s going right in your life. Take time now to write down what you do well. Celebrate small accomplishments. Got all the laundry done? That deserves kudos!
5. If I can’t do it perfectly, then I’m not doing it at all. It’s positive that you want to do your best in all that you do. But how will you try anything new if it has to be done perfectly? Thinking this way will prevent you from ever venturing outside your comfort zone. “Try adopting a new mantra: “If at first I don’t succeed, I’ll keep trying until I do.” Allow yourself the opportunity to make mistakes. Remind yourself that making a mistake is a real learning experience you can benefit from. Optimistically embrace your errors. Remember, practice makes perfect.
6. I’m afraid to do the things I really want to do. What are you specifically afraid of? The source of your fears could likely be fear of an embarrassment, failure, or what others will think. It’s healthy to have a certain amount of fear when embarking upon something new or unknown. The key is that, even though you feel the fear, you must TRY do the thing you want to do anyway. Otherwise, you’ll never know what positive things could happen as a result of your following through with your hopes and dreams. When negative thoughts begin to invade your mind, nip them in the bud with the above suggestions. Banish your self-destructive thoughts forever and live a life filled with joy and serenity.
After all, you deserve it.
5 Steps to an Authentic and Effective Self-ImageYour self-image is the way you view yourself. You might view yourself as a parent, entrepreneur, friend, blonde, sports fan, intelligent, impatient, and middle-aged. But you’re more than your career, gender, and age. You’re more than your parents’ opinion. You’re a unique person with nuances that are unique to you! When who you are, aligns with what you do, you’re living authentically. But most of us view ourselves as one way and live another. Authentic people act honestly and congruently.
The benefits of this congruency are enormous: success, self-esteem, respect from others, and inner peace. Those that live lives misaligned with their values, beliefs, and attitudes suffer from more anxiety, guilt, and shame. It might seem easier to live up to the expectations of others in the short-term, but the long-term costs are significant.
Follow these steps to determine your true self and live life on your terms:
1. Identify your core values. An authentic self-image is one that is aligned with your values. By knowing your values, you’ll gain an understanding of what is important to you. Once you’re aware of your values, you can build a self-image and life that are more meaningful and enjoyable. Make a list of your values. Create a long list and include everything that you think applies to you. Then, reduce your list to the ten values that are most important to you. You might struggle to narrow your list to just ten, but ten values are plenty.
2. Determine if you have any conflicts. For example, you might say that adventure and freedom are two of your most important values, but what if you also strongly favor responsibility and security? Those values could be in conflict. When you’re faced with an inner conflict, you’re likely to shut down and do nothing. If you’ve ever been paralyzed while making a decision, it’s possible your values were in conflict. Think back to when you’ve struggled to make a decision and see if it’s true. Do you have any values listed that aren’t really priorities for you? We often carry around perspectives instilled by our parents. Here’s a newsflash: they may have been wrong. Take the time to determine your values for yourself. Disregard what society says you should value. You’re an individual and uniquely YOU.
3. Create an action plan for each value. Imagine one of your values is frugality. You could create a budget and savings plan that incorporates that value. You might plan to start clipping coupons, visit less expensive stores, and search for free entertainment options available on the weekends.
4. Make a list of activities you enjoy that are in alignment with your values. For example, if generosity is a priority, you could find an enjoyable way to spend your time helping others. If health is a value you cherish, you could join a soccer team or a yoga class. Find your favorite sport and participate.
5. Evaluate yourself at the end of each day. Think about the instances when you failed to live according to your values. Likewise, contemplate the times you were able to live according to your values and self-image, particularly when doing so was challenging. Create a self-image that is in alignment with your values. First, it is necessary to identify and choose your values. Next, construct a life that allows you to live those values consistently and to thrive. Authenticity eliminates many of the common emotional ailments in life, but it’s not always the easiest choice.
Be bold enough to choose the person you want to become and live accordingly. The benefits are enormous.
Here’s a daily affirmation to try and incorporate into your mornings.
I approve of who I am and THAT’s enough. I approve of who I am and that is enough. I am free from worrying about the approval of others. The opinions of others are outside of my control. I avoid spending time thinking about things that are beyond my control I will allow others to think whatever they like. I am too enveloped in living my life to care. I approve of myself. I live my life in a way that pleases me and fills me with pride. I live according to my values, so I am always comfortable with myself and my choices. I approve of myself and how I live my life. That is enough for me. I am focused on my own life. I am free to live my life as I please. Today, I am giving myself all the approval I need to have a great day. I am living my best life and hoping that others are doing the same. I believe that my approval is all I need. I approve of who I am and that is enough.
1. What do I like the most about myself? What other qualities could I appreciate if I
allowed myself to?
2. Am I concerned about the approval of others? If so, why? What does their approval do for me?
3. If others did disapprove of me, what impact does that have on my life? Is that relevant?