Reconstructing our Self-Image
The most important words you will ever say are the words you say to yourself.
Stress and anxiety:
When I originally wrote this article my sole intention was to deliver a mind control method used to build one’s self-image. With all the stress and anxiety associated with the COVID-19 situation I want you to know this same method, although not a replacement for medication, can be of help in those areas as well.
Is someone hanging onto your legs:
Ted, (I changed the name) and I work for an internet book sales company. I’m the warehouse manager and he’s one of our receiving clerks. He is a smart young man, but for some reason, his get up and go has got up and gone. One morning I ask him, “Ted, why do you walk around like someone is hanging onto your legs for dear life? Did you run out of toilet paper at your house?” “I’m not a morning person, SJ,” he says. “Well, maybe you need to get an afternoon job.” We laugh it off, we always do. That’s because Ted and I are more than coworkers, we’re Buds.
Believe in you:
After several lengthy lunchtime conversations with Ted, I come to realize his self-image, on a scale of one to ten, from all indications, is a two. It’s no wonder his get up and go has got up and gone. Two’s don’t even lead three’s. Ted’s had a hard row to hoe and he’s come to expect it will always be that way. With a self-image that low he’s probably right. Once I convince him to take a second look at what he was doing to himself as well as his future, using techniques we’ll get to later, his mental picture of himself begins to change, little by little. Every time he did something well on the job I went out of my way to make sure I compliment him. The more I compliment him, especially in front of others, the more self-confident he becomes. In the months that follow Ted goes from shoe-shuffler to man with a purpose. Chin up, chest out, and a smile so big he could eat a banana sideways. He was out to prove himself, and it showed. Ted was growing prouder and prouder of Ted, and with good reason. He had gone from a burned-out bulb to a lighthouse in the middle of a busy harbor. It wasn’t long before Ted moved on to a better paying job, one that paid him more than we were able to match. I won the battle of building his self-image and lost a good employee in the process. Somehow that didn’t matter. The feeling I had knowing I’d played a small part in giving Ted a new lease on life made it all worthwhile. All Ted needed is for someone to believe in him while convincing him he should do the same. Once he realized he was short-changing his future and there were things he could do about it, he was on his way. If you don’t believe in you, you can’t expect anyone else to.
Changing the mental picture of our self-image:
The major hurdle when it comes to changing the mental picture we have of ourselves is the fact we’ve had it for so long. Pre-programmed so to speak. In the beginning, we don’t name ourselves, someone else does. We don’t choose what grade school we go to, our haircut, our clothes, where we live, what language we speak. Someone else does. Someone else tells us yes divided by no equals life. They teach us their version of right and wrong. They tell us who we are supposed to be, what we are supposed to do, what they believe we are capable of and what they believe we are not capable of. Since we are young and vulnerable, we believe them. Why wouldn’t we? Especially if we love them.
These early influencers can be good for us, or bad, sometimes really good, but way too often, really bad. They’re people out there and that includes some parents, who practice nothing but what’s best for them while convincing themselves that what’s best for them is best for everyone else. How convenient. Good parents encourage you to think for yourself and provide the support you need to do that, bad ones insist on doing your thinking for you. When it comes to support, fuhgeddaboudit. They have no idea what the word means and they’re not interested in finding out. The bad ones don’t encourage you to think for yourself until you can pay your own way. By then, you’re preoccupied with survival and too busy to look back.
Far too often we take it for granted that who someone else programmed us to be is who we are. Until we get it in our heads that who we are is what we make of ourselves, nothing changes. We can’t let anyone else set limitations for our life. Who is to tell you what’s best for you? I’m pretty sure you’re Creator intended that to be you. Most parents do the best they can, but if there are things they haven’t done well concerning us, it’s up to us to make the necessary changes. Our self-image stock just went up.
A lot of the damage done by those early influencers is not always done out of neglect or malice, most of it is done out of ignorance. People cannot pass on what they don’t have. They simply don’t know any better and in most cases don’t care to know any better. Having parents who are continual learners is a real blessing. One will do, two is better, none can be fatal.
When we look back it’s not to blame someone for our shortcomings, it’s to look over the blueprint of how our lives were constructed. It’s always a lot easier to do the renovation when we know how the building was originally constructed. The blame game is a waste of time. Mental reconstruction is the answer. Since our mind can only act on the data we feed it, we need to make sure we are feeding ours a healthy diet. Ted was feeding his mind a steady diet of negative thoughts. I wonder where that came from. When he changed his input of data, he changed his life.
Our creative imagination:
Did you ever worry about something to the point it made you a nervous wreck, and it ends up never happening? Of course, we all have at one time or another. That’s our creative imagination making us feel as if it is happening at that very moment. We’re feeding our mind negative thoughts and our emotions can’t tell whether they are real or not. I’m sure you’ve heard people say that if you tell yourself a lie long enough you’ll believe it. Our minds play the music our emotions dance to. Fortunately, our creative imagination works in both positive and negative ways. It all depends on the information we feed it.
Feelings and actions:
A feeling motivates any action we take, generally speaking. I think we all get that, we feel like doing something, we do it, we don’t feel like doing something, we don’t, and when we are excited about doing something, we do it well. So how do we make ourselves feel like doing something when we don’t feel like it? Fortunately, there is a way. By controlling the action, which is directly under our control, we can indirectly control the feeling, which is not. That’s because our emotions are not subject to reason, but they are subject to action. They don’t know if our mind is feeding them truth or fiction.
When feeling an emotion you don’t want to feel, stop, take three or four deep breaths and take control of your mind by doing something positive. Perfect example: its workout time and I’m just not feeling it. I have two choices. I can start pumping iron, or wait until I feel like it. So, I do what I always do when I don’t feel like it, I take a few deep breaths, push those feelings aside and dive right in. Ten minutes later I’m running on energy I had no idea I had. When the workout is finished, I feel pretty good about myself. The action triggered the emotion I needed to get the job done. Always does, no matter what the job. When you take control of your mind you indirectly take control of your emotions and each time you do you build your self-confidence as well as your self-image. It’s a process, not going to happen overnight, but it’s a process that works. I wouldn’t say that if I didn’t know it as fact. I first used this method to release myself from the bonds of depression while battling cancer. It’s mighty powerful.
Make friends with you:
If your self-image is not up to par pick one that is, your emotions will catch up. If nobody compliments you, compliment yourself. Not out loud, unless you’re alone with the door shut. I’m not trying to turn you into a braggadocios idiot. I’m trying to get you to be best friends with yourself. Building a great self-image begins with you believing in you. You’re reprogramming yourself. Take it one step at a time. Every once in a while, step back, take a few slow deep breaths and shake your own hand. Trust me on this one, it feels good.
Anxiety and Stress:
If anxiety and stress are not responding to your commands you need to create an action that will make them respond. The best one I know is to help someone else. It could be an engaging smile or friendly conversation with a neighbor or stranger, a phone call to a friend or family member to let them know you’re thinking of them. It always helps to talk. Assisting a senior citizen load groceries or cross a street can do wonders when it comes to making you feel better about yourself. Every action you take generates a feeling. Positive actions generate positive feelings. You got a bad feeling, find an action that will turn it around for you. There is one out there. Never forget how special you are to be one of the lucky ones chosen to be here at this moment in time. Created in the image of your Creator. (“Living a Purposeful Life.”) When it comes to building your self-image it’s a good idea to keep that in mind.
- Even though emotions are not always subject to reason, they are subject to action. Where actions lead, emotions follow.
- Compliment yourself. Make friends with you.
- Anxiety and Stress? Take a few deep breaths and think good thoughts and don’t hesitate to act them out before they arrive.
- No one can outperform the limitations they put on themselves. Aim high.
What others think of us is not nearly as important as what we think of ourselves.
Images by pixabay.com.