The Importance of Self Image
The writer at seventy-six
What do you think of yourself? What sort of person are you?
Today, whilst cleaning out a box of old papers, I came across an exercise book in which I’d made some notes back in the early 1980s. Here is what is says on the page I have open before me. It refers to notes taken from that famous book, Psycho-cybernetics, by Maxwell Maltz MD FICS, a man who devoted the later part of his life to helping people to discover how they could lead happier and more productive lives. Here is what the notes say:
“We all carry in our subconscious mind a blueprint or picture of ourselves; a self-image’ complete right down to the last detail." Then: “This self-image is our own conception of the sort of person we think we are.”
Our self-image determines our abilities and our limitations
From this, my response at time of writing this is ‘…and we never act outside the parameters of this self-image. It determines our abilities and our limitations. To be consistent, we stay with what and who we believe ourselves to be. We can’t do otherwise. If we consistently think we’re no good at doing mechanical things, then we won’t be. If we think we’re no good a math, we won’t be. On the other hand, if we think we’re creative we will be. If we think we can do something well we will be able to. It’s a bit like the famous Henry Ford quote. “Whether a man believes he can do it or he can’t. he is always right,” or some such. We affect so much of our lives with our habitual verbal ‘mind talk.’
Negative mind talk will have this sort of result
Can you play a pianao? Don't know - haven't tried yet
However, if we’re truly open minded we’ll be like the fellow who was asked whether he could play a piano. “I don’t know - I haven’t tried yet.” How few of us approach life like that. So many of us try something once or maybe two or three times and then make a judgement as to whether we’re good or not good at it at that point.
But to continue further in the note book:
“These beliefs about ourselves have been unconsciously formed from our past experiences.”
We usually do not question the validity of our beliefs
“Once an idea or belief about ourselves goes into the picture of ourselves it becomes ‘true’ as far as we (personally) are concerned. We usually do not question its validity, but proceed to act upon it just as if it were true.
Now comes the most important part from Doctor Maltz.
“This self-image becomes the golden key for better living because of two important discoveries:
1) All our actions, feelings and behavior – even our abilities – are always consistent with this self-image.
2) The self-image can be changed.
Habitually happy thoughts make for a happy life
Dont' try to change your performance: change your self image
Later, in another part of my old notebook I wrote. “Don’t try to change the ‘circumstances’ of the self: change the ‘centre.’ i.e. Don’t try to change your performance by concentrating on a particular defect, then attempting to change your outward behavior: change your thinking about the self.
Positive thinking cannot be used as a patch or crutch to the same self-image. Change the self-image!
Our image of ourselves in not the Real us
Certainly my own self-image has changed – and for the better since - the early 1980s. I now see myself in a far more acceptable light than I did back then. There are many reasons for this, but you can find out more about then by reading some of my other Hubs which pertain to this very important aspect of ourselves. The main thing to be remembered is that this aspect of ourselves is an IMAGE and not the REAL us. Once we become aware of that, our lives really ‘take off’ for the better - if we desire it. If we do, all that remains then is for us to learn the necessary techniques and to apply them.
What we see - really see - outside is a reflection of what we are inside
Work on the 'Centre of your being
So, dear readers, if you truly wish to change your life so that you can become happier, healthier, wiser, richer, and more productive or anything else you want, work on the centre of your being. The more you find out about your real self, the more you self-image will improve. For as it has been wisely said, you will be seeking after truth and…”the truth will set you free.”
Good luck. God bless you in your endeavours
More on the writer
- Tom Ware Public Speaking The Prince of Storytellers
Tom Ware Public Speaking! Tips, events and videos to help you become a gifted speaker. Visit now!