Why realising we can change our self-image if we want to, means we can take our life in any direction we choose to.

Apart from a few propensities we’re born with, a lot of what we’re like as children is down to the influences around us – our parents, family, teachers and friends, as well as the images we see in the media which we either try to relate or aspire to. You often hear parents say: “He’s so forgetful,” or “She’s such a serious little thing, always so responsible,” it’s as if children are being pre-conditioned before they’ve even had a chance to make their own mind up.

With these descriptions permeating the child’s subconscious mind, they’re being defined as a ‘type’ of person, so it’s no wonder they gravitate towards behaviour which reinforces this image of them – it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy. You hear people saying: “I’m hopeless at planning anything,” or “People say I don’t know how to have fun, I do, it’s just that I always seem to be the one organising everything.”

As much as these influences may have an effect on us as children – when perhaps we’re too young to understand the power of our thinking, once we reach adulthood we’re more than capable of running our brains in order to be the type of person we want to be, leading the life we want to lead. Of course, some of what we believe is so deeply embedded, it can feel like it’s definitive – pre-destined, but it is possible to make the change in our belief about ourselves, by changing the way we think about ourselves.

The world accepts me at my own evaluation of myself.

How we feel about ourselves on a day-to-day basis determines how others perceive us and treat us. People’s treatment of you will match your self-image. Have you ever been taken for granted? For example, colleagues at work volunteering you for a common scenario such as: “Oh Lara will organise the leaving card and present, she always does.” ‘Lara’ always wanted to organise the card because it sat more emotionally comfortable with her but maybe there comes a time when she no longer wishes to do it – it’s a case of put up or shut up. We can only be taken for granted whilst we let people.

If we want to be different, if we want to change something about ourselves, we can start Day One tomorrow. Maybe you want to have more confidence – to up level your self-belief; maybe you want to be bolder and take more risks – as we say on the Winning Edge: ‘Life should be a series of daring escapades launched from a solid base; perhaps lack of organisation is holding you back and you want some order in your life so you can move forward; maybe you’ve been stuck in a funk for a long term and you need to break the cycle and move on. It is possible. You can do it. And I’m going to help you.

These five tips , if followed daily and with intention, can help you to get your self-image to a place when you’re ready to take on anything:

  1. To increase self-esteem, it’s important to create a more deserving self-image. Place more value in yourself than what others think of you. This can be done in a number of ways such as writing down as an assumptive affirmation, the type of person you are (not want to be – make it in the now, the present tense) and read frequently – this will help you move towards that new healthy dominant thought you are reinforcing regularly.
  2. Self-talk can be detrimental to our self-image: “I’m the kind of person who…” Stop ending the sentence with words such as ‘worries’ or ‘is over-sensitive’ and instead use words such as ‘feels empowered to make decisions’ and ‘is great at communicating with others.’ Ditch the self-deprecating language too – stop using words such as only / just / small / little. Be proud, be bold! Fake it ‘til you make it if needs be. ‘Go big and go large’ I believe is a saying used…
  3. Lessen the time you spend with Pity Parties – the moaners and whingers and instead surround yourself with positive and inspiring people, those people who live a life where on a conscious level they’re thinking about where they are in life, what they’re doing and where they want to be next; these people exude the qualities that help attract success, in whatever form this may be for them.
  4. Who do you admire? Who inspires you? Do some research and check out the kind of books they read, the podcasts they listen to and the TED talks that inspire them. They started from where you are, and they may well have done the same research about someone they looked up. Maybe find a way of getting in touch with them and ask if they have any advice for you – you never know who might respond.
  5. Finally, write in your Victory Log every day. You don’t have one? Then get one. Whatever that victory is for you – getting out of bed when you’d rather curl up in a ball; maybe giving your first presentation as a new manager; perhaps travelling long distance on your own for the first time. When you’ve done it, log it. Read back on your victories regularly to give you a boost and ensure you continue to have faith in yourself and your abilities.

Let nothing and nobody define you – they can only do this with your permission. Be you and be awesome.

“A man cannot be comfortable without his own approval.” Mark Twain

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