Self-Image: Why is it Important What You Think?

 

Hi and welcome to JADa Therapy

Here at JADa Therapy we aim to be informative and help in your journey of living healthy naturally. We believe that living a healthy lifestyle is looking after the whole you. Meaning inside and out, the whole body and mind.

Today my focus will be on self-image and why it is important what you think and how what you think about your self-image can affect your whole life.

In this article I will be looking at the subject of Self-image from different angles and attempting to answer many of the popular asked questions.


 

First I will start by showing you the definitions of Self-image.

Self-Image Defined

The Idea one has of one’s abilities, appearance and personality. (Google dictionary).

Self-image is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change that depicts not only details that are potentially available to objective investigation by other (height, weight, hair colour, etc.,), but also items that have been learned by that person about themselves, either from personal experiences or by internalising the judgments of other. A simple definition of a person’s self-image is their answer to the question “What do you believe people think about you? (Wikipedia)

A more technical term for self-image that is commonly used by social and cognitive psychologists is self-schema.

Like any schema, self-schema stores information and influence the way we think and remember.

For Example, research indicates that information which refers to the self is preferentially encoded and recalled in memory tests, a phenomenon known as “self-referential encoding

Self-schemas are also considered the traits people used to define themselves, they draw information about the self into a coherent scheme. (Wikipedia)

Right, the last two sound like a mouthful, don’t worry I will be expanding and making it easier to digest in this article. I just wanted to see the definitions from difference angles and not just my definition.



What do I Mean by Self-Image?

Self-image is the way that we see ourselves in relation to our world. You could also put it another way. The way that we see our world is the way that we see ourselves.

If you have difficulties and bad experiences in your life growing up, then this can shape the way that you view yourself, in the same way, if you had happy experiences in your life growing up.


Poor Self Image

How is Our Self-Image Formed?

As mentioned earlier our self-image is formed from the way that we view our world and our life experiences.

I will give you an example.

When I was around 7 or 8 years old, there was a lady that would call me fatty. She never called me by my name, just fatty. It was fatty this and fatty that. I was not over weight, I was just taller than most of my classmates. But she would call me fatty.

I have used this example because although it was many years ago I have never forgotten it. Mainly because I could never understand why she kept calling me fatty. This stuck with me until my late twenties. I always saw myself as being fat and it did not matter what anyone said. This was my self-image, my reality.

I say this to show that words are very powerful and can shape a person’s self-image from a young age.


view of the world

How Can Your Self-Image Affect your Life?

Why is it that some people might say “What a beautiful world we live in” whilst others say “What a cruel and horrid world?”

Both of these statements are true to the person that is saying it. Because we make our own realities. And each statement is a statement of the way that person views their world.

One person could see the start of a another day with gloom and doom. Whilst another person could start their day seeing it as another wonderful day full of promise.

Seeing the day with gloom and doom will only bring more gloom and doom into your day. This will affect the person’s self-image and how they see themselves.

The way we see ourselves is the same way we see our world. This way of thinking affects our self-esteem and confidence.


reflection self image

Is Our Self-Image Important?

Yes because as mentioned above the way that we see ourselves is a reflection of how we see our world.

Self-image is very important because it will affect other areas of your life. This is where the wholeness comes in.

It is attached to your self-esteem and confidence and how you will interact with your environment.

When you dislike yourself it is harder to like what is around you and in front of you. It will be harder to see the positive things in your life.

On the plus side when you like and love yourself you can see all the good and positive things around you.

How you view your self-image can also affect your behaviour and the way that you will interact with others and different situations.



self image

What can Cause a Poor Self-Image?

When a person as a poor self-image of themselves, this could be the result of an accumulation of criticisms that they have collected as a child, which as damaged their view of themselves.

As I mentioned earlier when I was around 7 or 8 and being called fatty. The adult concerned did not give it a second thought that I was a vulnerable child and the effect they were having on my life.

Children a particularly vulnerable because they have not developed the ability to fully understand. The same could be said about adolescents and people with a low sense of self-worth.

This can develop into social disorders.

The thinking of never being good enough is very real and a growing challenge in today’s society, where so many people have a negative self-image.

Examples of contributing factors are, the entertainment industry, where thinness is seen as beauty and many girls feel that they do not measure up to the so called “thin” standards and this leads the young girls to having a negative self-image.

Victimisation

Victims of abuse and manipulation are often trapped into a self-image of victimisation. This can result in a sense of helplessness and despair, loss of control, negative thinking, and pessimism, strong feelings of self-blame, guilt, shame, and depression.

The Fashion Industry

Unfortunately the fashion industry insiders believe that clothes hang better on tall thin models. And the reasoning behind this is a healthy look. But the other side of this argument is the opposite and these types of models body image is unhealthy and unrealistic compared to the public they are displaying to.

This body image only makes young girls feel pressured into being skinny and in turn increasing eating disorders, Anorexia nervosa, and bulimia.

Many models have been known to also have challenges with eating disorders, anorexia nervosa and bulimia, along with intensive exercise regimes, diets, fasts, detoxes, self-induced vomiting in order to maintain or to lose weight and in addition to stimulant abuse. Now that is scary.

Social Media

Social media is a big influencer with its audience and spend millions on keeping their audience engaged and are very successful at it.

In saying this, users are constantly bombarded by notifications, posts, and photos about the lives of others and sending messages about what we should, could and or would be if we only purchased this that and the other type of products and or made certain choices or engaged in certain types of behaviours.

This type of constant interaction for many people encourages an unrealistic beauty ideals which often leads to poor self-image and low self-esteem.

Men and Women

In a Longitudinal Study that assessed body image across time and age between men and women, men placed greater significance on their physical appearance than women, even though women are more dissatisfied more often.

Adolescence is where this difference is more noticeable, one of the reasons for this is that males are being targeted more heavily in the media today.

Weight loss

The weight loss industry is growing yearly and more and more people are dissatisfied with their self-image and looking for ways in which they can improve. More often than not if does not even matter if a person is overweight or not. It is all about how they see themselves, their self-image.

It goes back to comparing themselves with an unrealistic air brushed image of a model and or celebrity.


 

What is the difference between self-image and self-esteem?

Self Esteem is how you feel about yourself

Self-Image is how you see yourself


 

How to Strengthen Your Self-Image?

The first thing that I would say to you is, if you know that you have a negative self-image, then you are half solving that way of thought.

Why? Because everything starts with a thought. And you are reading this article so you either want change for yourself or for someone you know. But for the sake of my answer I will focus on the first one. That you want this help for yourself.

The next step is to make a decision to change. Then you can start working on the way that you think about yourself.

How do you approach challenges?

What do you think about your life?

What do you see when you look in the mirror?

Answering these questions will give you an idea of where you are now.

Changing the way that you think about your self-image will require a conscious effort and self-discipline. It is not complex to do but will not be done overnight. To strengthen your self-image will require you to do a little every day and be consistent. Doing a little each day will make a big difference in the long run.


Self Esteem

Build Your Self-Image on a Strong foundation

The importance of a positive self-image

When we make the way we see ourselves the foundation framework for our self-image and start to believe this to be true, this belief will determine how much you like or dislike the world that you live in and will most definitely determine your accomplishments in your life.

For Example if you think that you are bad at making something, and you say to yourself “I am bad at making things” or “My hands are too clumsy when it comes to making things” And then you reinforce this by telling your family and friends that you are bad at making things, then you go a step further and tell everyone else that comes into your path that you are bad at making things. The more you say it and the more you tell anyone that will listen to you that you are bad at making things, the more you will believe that you are bad at making things.

The more that you start to believe in this, the more clumsy you begin to feel about yourself, the more hopeless you begin to feel about yourself, then these feelings of hopelessness will become embedded within your self-image.

Thankfully this can be easily fixed, all you have to do, is to change the way that you speak to yourself and about yourself to others.

Change your thinking and start to see your strengths and the good things about yourself and focus on those things. You can change anything about yourself and your thoughts about your self-image will also change.

Let’s say that you are the sort of person that thinks that they have a hole in their pockets/wallet because you never seem to have enough money, then guess what? You will be broke as the day is long. This would purely be because your believe this to be true.

But if your change this stinking thinking and start to say my wallet is full and I have more than enough, you will change your circumstances for the better.

Our self-image is like a temperature gauge it can become too hot or too cold or just right. We decide where we want the gauge to go, we decide if we are going to be happy or sad. Most importantly we decide our self-worth. We decide if we are going to love ourselves or hate ourselves. We Decide. You Decide.,

I hope that you have found this article helpful, you can let me know by leaving me a comment below.

You may also be interested in the articles listed below.

What is an Affirmation? Plus 38 Affirmations

The Law of Attraction Explained

Motivational Life Quotes

I would also appreciate if you could like and share this article.

Thank you,

Jennifer


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20 thoughts on “Self-Image: Why is it Important What You Think?”

  1. This is very interesting to me because self image is a lot more important after reading your article.
    I’ve found that I rarely have had a positive self image and that affects me negatively in so many ways. I think it reverts back to my childhood where I never felt as good or as important as the other kids.
    I’ve taken that with me through my entire life and still feeling that way, at least most of the time. It definitely affects my whole life in whatever I do. I’m trying to be more positive and turn things around now.
    Life is too short to not have an awesome image of yourself, right? What’s your best suggestion to flipping the coin so to speak?

    1. Thank you Rob for your visit and comment much appreciated.

      I found that really looking at my self in the mirror and getting to know me and then accepting me. I realized that I am important and precious just like anyone else. Then started with positive affirmations and seeing all of my talents and the things I was good at and what I love to do.

      The biggest step was to stop apologizing for being me. If they did not like it so what.
      I hope this helped
      Many thanks
      Jennifer

  2. When I was younger both myself and my sister suffered from low self esteem – I really do think that this was down to us having a negative self image. My sister ended up having eating disorders through it.

    I strongly feel that self image is ‘created’ or ‘shaped’ more in our early teenage years – a lot can happen during this period that can change someone’s personality for life. Would you agree with this?

    1. Hi Chris

      Thank you for your visit and comment much appreciated

      Yes your self-image can affect and shape your life negatively and this is why I am building awareness around this topic because it can work both ways.

      Once you are aware that you have a negative self-image then you can change it to becoming more positive.  I am not saying that the process will be easy.  I am saying it is very possible but you need to be consistent and persistent with the process of starting to first like yourself and then loving yourself.

      You may find my other articles helpful What is an affirmation? Plus 38 AffirmationsMotivational Life Quotes

      I would also add that changing your focus on all the good things happening in your life is a great way to start.  I started with looking at myself in the mirror and saying hello.  It may sound silly but it works.

      Many thanks

      Jennifer

  3. Such a helpful article. Self image is so important for so many things. If you have a negative self image, you likely lack self confidence, which can affect so many areas of your life.

    The hardest part of it all is changing. I certainly don’t have a fantastic self image, so I do my best to change my thoughts. It isn’t easy, but it’s super important.

    1. Hi Taylor

      Thank you for your visit and comment much appreciated.

      Yes self-image is very important and it can be a challenge to change the way you think about yourself.

      But it is possible by being consistent and persistent and do a little each and every day and eventually you will get there.

      You may also find my other articles helpful. What is an affirmation? Plus 38 Affirmations Motivational Life Quotes

      I hope these will help you on your journey.

      Many thanks

      Jennifer

  4. This topic is very important to think about yet many do not. I think we would all like to become more healthy and boost our self images. I love hearing about positive ways to change your thoughts and awareness in order to make positive change in your life! Positive affirmations can really change a persons life and self perspective.

    1. Hi Allie

      Thank you for your visit and comment, much appreciated

      You are so right positive affirmations are a very important part of changing ones mindset and becoming more healthy.

      Loving ourselves is very important because all we really have is ourselves internally because everything else is external.

      I have written an article on Affirmations What is an affirmation? Plus 38 Affirmations

      Jennifer

  5. julienne murekatete

    Thank you for your post dear. I am happy that i read your post because i get some important tips of my self image.I had had such experience when i was young where i though me as ugly but after some time i changed my way of thinking and guess what i became a very beautiful girl because the whole environment saw me as i saw myself too. The way I think about myself image can affect positively or negatively our whole lives.This post helped me again in changing some thoughts i have been having these days.

    1. Hi Julienne

      Thank you for your visit and comment much appreciated

      I am so glad that you found my article helpful.

      I am also glad that you were able to change your mindset on the way that you thought about yourself and saw the positive change around you in your environment.

      This confirms what I have said in this article so I thank you for that.

      Jennifer

  6. Hi Jennifer, self image is such a powerful force, its amazing how self image can have such an impact on our lives. Little children don’t realise how much damage name calling can do. Bullying can lead to serious negative behave in later life. To see low self esteem in young people is very sad, drugs and crime are things that come from low self image. Depression and death are at the most serious end of low image. I believe we all need more positive reinforcement in our lives, and it should start early and continue right through our lives.  You have a very good site with excellent information, great job, i liked reading it very much.

    Thanks Shane  

    1. Hi Shane

      Thank you so much for your visit and comment, much appreciated.

      Yes you have hit the nail on the head.  Self-image and what a person think about themselves can be the difference between life and death, it is as serious as that.

      Yes I agree we should be starting as early as pre-school age with positive self-image.

      Thank you for your input.

      Jennifer

  7. Rogier Giersthove

    Cool post!

    I think affirmations work a lot to boost your self image. I also think having small wins helps a lot when it comes to creating a positive self-image. 

    Having a lot of small wins in the area you’re insecure in can act as a foundation you can build your self-image on. This is something I’ve done in the past together with changing the way I talk and think like you said and it has worked wonders.

    1. Hi Rogier

      Thank you for your visit and comment, much appreciated.

      I am so glad that you have been able to turn your thinking around, with the use of Affirmations.  I have also written an article on Affirmations.

      Positive Self Talk if so important and can change our lives one little thing at a time.

      Thank you so much for your input, I really appreciate it.

      Jennifer

  8. Hey there,

    This is very beautiful and inspiring article which helped me realize what significant meaning the self-image carries and how it can affect our lives in many different ways. I really admire the way You clariffied the importance of self-mage and also how You explained new and uncharted meanings of having either positive or negative self-image. 

    I couldn’t agree more with the statement that one of the biggest reasons of low self-image is social medias which can make a person feel worse or lesser than others due to numerous reasons.  Some of those reasons are negative opinions and comments from others, lack of attention and feeling of being praised, jealousy or competition with others of being better dressed and having more pretty photos which is really ridiculous if You thing about it, but unfourtunetaly that’s how it is at the moment… Thank You for this captivating article and keep up the good work!

    1. Hi Evald

      Thank you for your visit and comment, much appreciated.

      Yes social media today plays a bit part in many people feeling and seeing themselves as less than perfect.

      unfortunately this challenge is growing.

      Thank you for your input I really appreciate it.

      Jennifer

  9. Thanks for a great read. This post resonates with so many in our society today, especially now that everyone seems to be hooked on social media. Although I agree that what other people say and think about you can affect your self image,  I personally think that each of us can actually choose the kind of image that we want to project to the world. This I believe has everything to do with how we look at and how we feel about ourselves. If you choose to think and feel good about yourself every day, it doesn’t really matter what other people are thinking and saying about you.

    You’re absolutely right, it all starts with a thought. If you think you need to fix something in you then you would have to do something about that. But if you think you’re fine then you should be able to feel good about yourself. For me, I choose to to be happy and feel good about myself, regardless of the circumstance and what the people around me say and think about me. At the end of the day, being happy is a decision that we should make if we want to live a happy and peaceful life.

    1. Hi Alysanna

      Thank you for your visit and comment, much appreciated.

      Yes I agree that we can choose which self-image we want to display at any given time. But this is only for those that are aware of themselves.

      I am mainly talking about people that are affected by what they think the world thinks about them.  This can lead to other challenges through life for them.

      It is brilliant that you are at a place where you know yourself and love where you are with yourself.

      Unfortunately there are a lot of people who do not have a clue who or what they should be.  

      I really appreciate your input

      Thank  You

      Jennifer

  10. Wow, that brought back memories… I believe I fit your weak self-image description for years, until I realized that the most important person in my world is me. I do not mean to come off selfish by that, what I am a trying to say is that if you do not love yourself, you will struggle to love anybody else.

    Lack of self-esteem will prevent you from being a good husband, a good father and a human being your loved ones and others in general can look up to.

    I believe we underestimate the power of the mind more often that not: when someone attacks us we should be able to scratch the surface and understand that behind every big, mean remark is a little, insecure individual.

    I was morally abused for years in different stages of my life and for different reasons, but I have come back stronger.

    My secret? I am telling myself every day that I want to be a role model. On such grounds, nothing can harm me, because the moment someone tries to hurt me with insults or disrespectful behaviour, I instantly know that I am better than them.

    I do not even need to fight back. Normally I reply: “You finally showed your true colours, you must be really unhappy, deep inside. I am so sorry for you.”
    Judging from people’s reaction, That is the best knockout punch I could ever throw.

    Thanks for writing such a motivational article Jennifer, it gave me the chance to analyze myself and give a (hopefully) significant contribution to such an important subject.

    1. Hi Andrew,
      Thank you so much for your visit and your truly amazing comment. I really appreciate you.
      I am so glad that you found YOU and realise that you can overcome and become stronger in doing so.
      I love your knockout phrase because in saying that the person receiving it can do nothing else but look inside themselves.

      I also try to look behind the person giving negative comments and realise that they negative comment says more about them than the person they are speaking to.
      and this brings me back to Self-Image or negative self-Image.

      Also the power of the mind is often neglected by many because they are bombarded with many of other things like social media and or other so called entertainment mediums.

      Thank you again I really enjoyed reading your comment. This could be the start of another article. lol
      Jennifer

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