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What are Self-Image and Self-Esteem, and How Can You Improve Low Self-Image?
Your self-image is the way you are seeing yourself in your mind. These are the internal sounds, pictures, and feelings of yourself, which you recognize as you. This image of yourself could be the way that you physically see yourself, or your opinion about what and who you are, which is commonly known as self-concept. It is essential because it is affecting your self-confidence and self-esteem. This image is very powerful, as your behaviour is almost going to never swerve away from this internal picture. Your mind is behaving with the type of individual that you think you are consistently.
Many people do not have awareness about their image of self until they actually look. People are commonly pre-occupied with the images that fill them in the media each day, among the people in the surrounding, seldom taking time to examine our own. Self-image includes the way you see your personality, about what you believe other people think of you, about what you think your look like, and the status that you feel you have. Also included are the type of individual you think you are, about how much you like yourself or how much you think others like you, and about how you think you should behave and dress in accordance to your age.
What Does Self-Image have to do with Self-Esteem?
Self-esteem is the way you feel about yourself. Image is about how you are seeing yourself and about how you think others see you. They have close connection because if you have a poor opinion of yourself, you will have low self-image. Image is to do with perception. The way you see yourself is important because it is going to affect your behaviour, your thoughts, and the way you relate to others. People are responding to you either in negative or in positive way, in accordance to how much confidence you have. Your confidence in relationships will depend on the image that you have of yourself.
The way you see yourself usually differs from the way others see you. Your self-confidence images are shaped by your unique beliefs and thoughts and you are going to have a distorted view. You will be seeing yourself positively or negatively in accordance to the level of your self-esteem. You may have a negative view of yourself and if you really have, you are possibly highly critical of yourself. All people know and you may have guilt about this yourself, such as the thought being too thin, too fat, too old, too shy, or too “something else”.
The problem is that people who really believe are constantly telling themselves and others that they really are too “something”, is creating a self-fulfilling prophecy. They are going to sabotage any attempts unconsciously to look attractive. Because they are not projecting themselves at their best, people will find them less attractive and so the cycle will continue. It is a learned behaviour that is becoming a habit. You will project your self-confidence images to others.
Your own opinion of yourself was formed many years ago and was affected by lots of influences and events in our lives, so much since childhood. Many of our earliest messages during childhood have been encouraging and positive. However, many have usually been outweighed by criticism from the teachers, parents, and other role models. Unluckily, comments like naughty, big, clumsy, and silly are the ones that really stick in the minds, which go on forming your own opinion, self-esteem, and self-image through the years into adulthood.
We have a tendency of remembering the negative experiences and comments much more than the positive ones, and hurt the feelings that stay with us, because they have the biggest influence. It does not help that many cultures are quashing any successes attained and even look fearful about the celebration of attainments. All of us heard it said as a child that no one wants a show-off. It is no wonder why we are forming negative opinions of ourselves, which result to low self-image and self-esteem, as we grow into adults.
Symptoms of Low Self-Image
Low self-esteem is a condition plaguing many people across the globe, and happens when an individual has a poor opinion of oneself. Even though it is very hard to pinpoint an exact number of people who struggle with low opinion of oneself, there are several symptoms and signs, which are associated with this problem. There is also a possibility that someone struggles with low self-confidence and is not aware of it. By having awareness about the common symptoms of low self-esteem, you can determine a person who suffers from this disorder, enabling you to find ways to improve it. The signs of poor image of yourself range from those that are externally shown up to those that are internally fought.
- Fear and anxiety – These are the cornerstones of low self-esteem. People suffering from self-esteem are experiencing extreme anxiety and fear frequently. Having the belief that there is something wrong about themselves are low self-image sufferers who encounter self-esteem attacks when they do something that they deem to have been stupid, which is something that they think others have notices, and something confirming their own feelings of incompetence, inadequacy, unlovable, or being undeserving. During these attacks, they may withdraw or attack and isolate while feeling devastated, humiliated, embarrassed, or even despairing. Depending on the way they seriously perceive their mistake, they may not recover for several minutes, several hours, several days, or even longer.
- Hypersensitivity – Because people with low self-confidence images feel inadequate, they are automatically thinking that other people see them in the same way and that others laugh at them, do not respect them, will likely reject them, and will be taking advantage of them. They have a tendency of watching for symptoms that this is happening and tend to be extremely sensitive and offended easily.
- Depression – Depression – Low self-esteem has been the underlying cause of the extreme depression that people are suffering. They feel that there are things that they cannot do well, more particularly because it is concerning social skills, maintaining and initiating relationships, being successful, or being courageous to try new things. As a result, they usually feel hopeless regarding their situation and regarding the future.
- Lack of self-confidence – People suffering with low self-image become either under-attainers or over-attainers. Several people become angry and are driven to prove their adequacy, which usually become very successful as the result of low self-image. Other sufferers stay in abusive or unsatisfying relationships, staying in jobs in which the benefits do not exist and the pay is poor, giving up on their dreams, and floating through life because they have been convinced that trying to change these factors are going to result in humiliation, failure, or being alone. People who do not have self-confidence images are very needy. These are the self-defeating behaviors are being repeated over and over again.
- Hyper-vigilance – The thoughts that they do not fit in, feeling inadequate, and consistently scared of repercussions, people with low self-esteem are watching others in an effort to figure out what to say and do, what seems to work, and what to wear. However, when the situation change, the behaviors also change, and leave these people confused regarding what they need to say or do, adding to their fear of rejection and anxiety, and so their social skills and relationship skills are not improving. This may lead to many boundary issues.
- Lack of assertiveness – Assertiveness necessitates boldness that most sufferers do not possess. They are usually too scared to upset others to tell the truth, share their feelings, or ask for what they desire. Rather, they have a tendency of becoming passive until their anger builds at which point they will become aggressive. Aggressive in people with low self-confidence images means being brusque, sarcastic, defensive, rude, and even violent. These are most commonly the case with domestic, teen, and gang violence.
- Poor social and relationship skills – Adding to the fact that many sufferers of low self-esteem did not get the significant guidance or support to the development of social skills during their development years, they are not finding themselves paralyzed in knowing what they should do differently or about having the courage to ask for help. Asking help to other are viewed by them as a sign of inadequacy.
When you already know the symptoms of low self-image, there is a necessity to find ways to develop and improve your self-image and self-esteem.
Ways to Improve your Low Self-Image
If you have a poor opinion of yourself, you would have the desire of contemplating how you got one. Did anyone say something to you when you were a child? Are you continuously carrying a self-opinion that is not yours around? You possibly are. It is up to you to get your image to be shifted. Bible verses about self-images and being yourself tell us to stop believing on what people are saying to you and about you. Eliminate the things that everyone else thinks about you from your mind, and get a new image of yourself cultivate to work for you.
- Self-reflection – it is scaring most people, as they do not want to encounter the fact that they could be part of the problem, as well as the solution. Looking in the mirror is not easy but it is the first step to develop a new image of yourself. Why and how are you getting a poor image of yourself? Your childhood experience has a great factor in your image. 99.99% of individuals have been wounded in several way during their childhood. They still carry around the baggage during their childhood, and this is the reason why their life is not the way they want it. If your siblings, grandparents, parents, teachers and more treated you poorly and said negative things to you like being stupid, ugly, or not worthy, you should forgive these people because they did not realize how their words have hurt worse than a physical pain. Keep in mind that most parents are raising their children in accordance to the way they were raised, which is not always a great idea. Buy a notebook or journal, read bible verses about self-images and being yourself, and start to reflect on your life.
- Do not leave anything out. You will discover where you have developed a poor image of yourself. As soon as you get to the root of your low self-esteem, you can shift your perspective. It is important that you do the work, or otherwise, you will always have a negative self-image.
- Getting new style, haircut, and color – How long have been wearing your hair? if you are wearing style from the 1980s, perhaps it is time for a change. Buy some hair magazines, or browse the web for the latest hairstyles. Then, schedule an appointment with your hairstylist or a new one. Bring the pictures or hair magazines so that the hairstylist can have a guide. Keep in mind that if you choose a celebrity hairstyle, it would or would not look good on you. The texture of your hair may not be the same. A hairstylist with experience can give you an amazing new look that will flatter you.
- The mirror exercise – Each day, you should look in the mirror and say “I Love You”. You need to say it with feelings and mean it. Read bible verses about self-images and being yourself and look again in the mirror. Look into your eyes and you will see how beautiful you are. As soon as you start loving yourself, your image of yourself will change. If you do not love yourself, no one will. It needs to come from inside you.
- Buying a new wardrobe – How old is your wardrobe? Do you still wear a look from your high school style? If you are, it is time for you to get your clothes updated. If you are not sure about what will look great on your body, you may consider hiring an image consultant. They are professionals who will be able to help you in selecting colors that are going to flatter your skin tone. They will help you in finding clothes that would fit your body. You may need to have several of your clothes tailored. A new wardrobe may do wonders for your self-confidence images.
- Starting to work out – if you are not working out, you may want to start. Exercising is one great way to develop your image of yourself. You will lose weight and tone your body, and then, you will look and feel good.
- Meeting new people and making new friends – Maybe your friends are not healthy for you. You may consider evaluating your friends and making decisions if whether or not they are healthy. Many do not realize how true the saying that birds of the same feathers flock together is. It is not that you need to eliminate your friends, but it could be a great idea to think about what you have liked about them. How do they help you in improving your low self-image? Do they desire you to get your image of yourself improved? If not, it may become a problem.
As soon as you start boosting your image of yourself and change, they may leave you because they are not at your level. You will be able to make new friends and one day, your old friends may come back in your life. All things in life have a cycle. You should embrace it and you can handle the changes.
You have the power of changing your image of yourself. If you are not happy with your image of yourself, you should change it. Be strong in doing the inner work. It is going to bring up so much emotion, but you go with it. The things that come up may surprise you. If it is too much for you to handle, read bible verses about self-images and being yourself and/or speak with a counsellor. Most significantly, stop listening to what people are telling you. Many people who speak painful words have been wounded. They do not an idea of what they are saying. You should try not to take it personally. Shift your self-image today, and you will be able to shift your life.
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