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Understanding Your Self Image

By: Ken Austin

So what is self image really all about? The following article includes some interesting information about understanding self image--info you can use, not just the old stuff they used to tell you.

Someone once said that self image is everything, and they were right.  This may sound a bit abstract as a statement, but with a little clarification, you’ll see what I mean, and maybe even improve your own self image along the way.

Of course, a basic definition for self image would be given as ‘the way one sees oneself.  Yet the ramifications are neither so cursory nor unimportant.  There are people in this world that have bodies others would give their eye-teeth for.  They may be muscular or simply very fit, have a jaw line worthy of admiration, or the most incredible eyes ever seen.  And despite all this, they may have a low self image.

Much of our self image goes beyond our physical being.  While the way we look may be helpful, this is not always the case, and in some instances, may even be harmful.  Let’s extrapolate upon some of these ideas.

Self image has to do strongly with one’s inner character, personality, religious and meta-ethical beliefs, the type of childhood they had, their parents and siblings, and even the friends that they surround themselves with.  For instance, a person who surrounds herself with people that are superficial, nit-picky, or even downright negative, will often take on these same attributes.  Of course, starting and staying with such relationships may be more symptomatic than causative as this only perpetuates the problems of poor self image yet does not  initiate the problem.

If you base what you do on inaccurate information, you might be unpleasantly surprised by the consequences. Make sure you get the whole self image story from informed sources.

A person has to have respect for him or herself.  It’s found that very often we treat others better than we treat ourselves, when in fact we should treat everyone –including ourselves, equally.  Simply put, you must be fair with yourself.  Let me give you an example of this idea of fairness.

Many people have learnt that in having a love relationship that it’s best to not dredge up very old problems during arguments.  Many relationship counselors suggest any specific incident should be dealt with immediately, but should never be fought about more than 2 weeks after the fact.

Why not do the same with yourself?  If there is anyone that you should love, it’s yourself (the old but true saying goes that if you don’t love yourself, no one else will).  So, as with a lover, learn from your mistakes, but don’t remind yourself of your past mistakes if you’re doing so in a negative way. 

On the other side of the coin, don’t let others treat you poorly or you’ll refer to yourself badly too, even if only in your mind.  Prompt yourself to be more assertive, to demand respect from others – and then give yourself the same respect.

The way we view ourselves is essential to our being, and even to how we get through life.  Those who do well in life generally have learned to be comfortable in their own skin –that is, to at least like, if not love, themselves.  We can all learn from this idea.

Now might be a good time to write down the main points covered above. The act of putting it down on paper will help you remember what's important about self image.

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Ken Austin is the webmaster at A guide to self improvement and helping you understand your self image.

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