How we view ourselves is the starting point for all outward experiences. So if your self-image is no good, your outer world is going to follow suit. But how to we improve and change our perceptions of ourselves and move toward a stronger, more positive self-image? Let’s get into my top three tips for improving your self-image.
Change The Narrative
We all tell ourselves an internal story about who we are, what we can and can’t do, what we do and don’t deserve. We repeat these things so much to ourselves that we end up really believing them. But the good news is that they are learned perceptions – And that means they can be unlearned.
The story we tell ourselves is what shapes our reality. So the more you reinforce the idea that you aren’t worthy of happiness or success, the more your world reflects that. The more you tell yourself you aren’t a winner or that you can’t achieve your dreams, the more your world will mold itself to match your thoughts.
Here is an interesting fact about our mind and body – We all have something known as the Reticular Activating System (RAS) which is a bundle of nerves at our brainstem that filters out unnecessary information to ensure that the important information gets through and is stored front and center. Your RAS takes what you focus on and creates a nice, neat little filter for it. It then rifles through the data you’re inputting into your brain and shows you only the pieces that are important to you, all without you even realizing it’s happening. This also means that your RAS constantly seeks information that validates your beliefs, and starts to filter your outer world through the lens and filter you set up with your thoughts, and your beliefs shape those lenses and filters.
Who do you want to be? What things do you want to believe about yourself? Start repeating those positive affirmations, and drop the negative ones, and you’ll start to train your brain to reshape you self-image in a positive direction and attract success and happiness.
Stop The Compare-And-Despair Cycle
Theodore Roosevelt famously said, “Comparison is the thief of joy,” and Teddy had a point. The more you scroll social media or listen to people brag about their successes and start comparing yourself and your life to others, the more you tend to feel bad about yourself.
Just because you’re looking at someone’s highlight reel or hearing someone boast about how great their business is doing, doesn’t mean it’s all true or devoid of any downsides. Everyone has struggles, everyone feels down sometimes, everyone has failures and hard times. We lose that perspective when we start comparing ourselves to others. Focus on you and being the best version of yourself you can be, improve every day, and keep working toward your goals.
Remember You Aren’t Your Circumstances
Learning to differentiate between your circumstances and who you are is key to self-worth and a positive self-image.
Often we can look at hard times, stressful moments, failures and struggles and believe that these circumstances are the things that define who and what we are. Nothing could be further from the truth – It is not the circumstances that define us, but how we react to and work to change them that truly speak to who we are as human beings.
Just because you fail at something or struggle at some point, it doesn’t diminish or change who you are at your core. Outside circumstances – Good and bad – will come and go, life is full of ebbs and flows. But if your self view is tied to these circumstances then you’re left with an undefined sense of self that gets blown around by the wind. You’ve got to understand that who you are is not defined by outside circumstances. It’s a much deeper, stronger, and more centered part of you that stays strong no matter what is going on around you.