How you see yourself can be a major positive influence, or it can be your biggest roadblock.
The road we travel is unique to us, yet it's got a lot in common with other people's journeys. When we face continuous reminders of what we haven't done, or what we don't have, it can weigh heavily on our individual sense of self-worth and negatively affect our self-image.
Listen to these negative messages long enough, and you'll create negative self-image statements based on those messages. Think about yourself in less than flattering terms long enough, and those messages become part of your belief system.
Once they're embedded in your mind, heart, spirit, and psyche, they can do a lot of damage. Not the kind of damage that comes via a stick of dynamite that blows a hole in your foundation, but the damage that occurs when you chip away at your foundation a little bit every day until the support is no longer there.
Those cracks and chips in your foundation may not look like much, but when you add them all together over a period of time (i.e. months, years, or your whole life), they can do a LOT of damage.
You don't have to live with a self-fulfilling prophecy of weakened self esteem due to negative self-image statements and negative beliefs. You can turn them around, lessen their power, and rebuild your inner core with positive information.
Let's start at the beginning - write down all your achievements as far back as you can remember.
Bringing back warm and wonderful memories from your past can help you to see that you're capable of more than you think (or remember).
Remember the first time you rode a bike without holding on to a wall or having someone run beside you helping to hold you up? The feeling of freedom - the wind in your hair and the centered knowledge that YOU were making this happen!
You knew, in that moment, that you could do anything if you put your heart, mind and muscles into it. Remember that feeling - and keep it close to help you continue to move forward. What could you accomplish if you carried that feeling with you throughout your pursuit of a goal?
If you were an achiever in sports or academics in high school or college, remind yourself of those wins and write them in your journal. When we don't focus on our achievements, they can tend to fade from our active memory over time. The world isn't always going to remind us of our powerful moments - WE need to do that for ourselves.
Renewing those memories isn't living in the past, it's showing you everything you've achieved, and it will heighten your sense of self-confidence and bolster your self-image. When you read your accomplishments aloud, it's harder to hang on to negative beliefs about yourself.
Write down your accomplishments and the feelings they gave you so that you can re-live them when things in your daily life are challenging you. Add the positive qualities that are associated with victory - for instance - riding a bike requires balance, strength, and courage. You did it, so you have all those qualities within you.
Spread the Good Feelings about your Accomplishments Far and Wide
Once you've brought your successes back to your mind and memories, consider spreading those good feelings around by telling others about your achievements.
Writing about your successes may feel odd at first - we're not taught to celebrate our achievements that way - but consider that by writing them down and publishing them where many more people can see them makes them more powerful and influential.
Writing down your successes makes them more real - even to you, who lived them. Stories are one of the most important tools we human beings have for learning and inspiration. Reading the stories of our heroes and heroines lives helps us to know then better and to find qualities we have in common with them.
Reading stories about how you overcame negative circumstances and events in your life gives others a roadmap for their own journey of accomplishment. It's also a great way to help turn around a negative self-image.
Truly, we don't want to depend 100% on others for our sense of self-worth, but it doesn't hurt to have other people celebrate you and pat you on the back for your accomplishments. Quite often, we don't realize just how GOOD we are until someone else takes note of it.
Sharing your stories makes the possibility of reinforcement greater - and even if only a few people see and celebrate your story, that can be more than enough to help motivate you to keep going.
Align Your Accomplishments and Your Goals
If you're a To-Do list person like I am, there is something wonderfully satisfying about checking things off of your to-do list and knowing they are DONE. You've accomplished something, and when you align your list and your goals, your productivity doubles.
Start with the BIG goals - those at a higher level. Some people refer to them as 100-foot goals. They are far away, relatively speaking, but not so far that you can't see them clearly. Make sure you define those goals in terms that you resonate with and understand, then break them down.
If your BIG goal is a year away, you can break that down into quarterly goals and define those as well. They get closer - perhaps at the 50-foot level. You can see them in front of you more clearly, and since they don't seem as far away, you'll feel more motivation to work on them.
Further define your goals from quarterly down into monthly or weekly goals. Smaller steps that will immediately feel more do-able and will give you more opportunities to reinforce your stronger, more positive self-image and positive beliefs about your capabilities.
Baby Steps forward are still steps forward, and every step forward that you document in your project plan or your journal reinforces your success. Make sure each step is tied to one of your goals - if they aren't, don't spend your precious time and energy on them.
We have a finite amount of time each day to move forward. If something you're going to do won't get you closer to your goal, push it aside. Prioritize the steps that get you closer to your goal as your must-dos every day.
Every time you accomplish a new, positive step, you're erasing more of the leftover effect of past negative statements about your self-image and erasing another negative belief about yourself. Your accomplishments make those pesky negative beliefs a lie and lies cannot stand in the light of truth.
Make every day of your life a mechanism for eliminating negative beliefs and a way to strengthen your self-confidence. Your self-image will grow stronger every time you move forward - it's inevitable. You'll have a body of work that you can look back upon and KNOW that YOU DID IT.
Affirmations to help Release Negative Self-Image Statements and Pesky Negative Beliefs
Affirmations help you to change your mindset and the energy around your thoughts. Choose one or two of these affirmations to use in pursuit of a stronger belief in yourself and a more positive self-image. Write them down in your journal, say them aloud, and describe how they make you feel. If you’re challenged by an affirmation statement, use your journal to dig deeper and start to figure out why. Pushing yourself out of your comfort zone is a way to grow and develop new strengths.
Fear cannot hold me back, it’s only a feeling.
I love myself as I am.
I can master anything I put my mind to.
I am strong enough to achieve my goals and make my dreams come true.
I believe in myself. I trust myself. I am powerful.
I dare myself to try every day, and I am proud of the effort I put in.
I trust my inner voice and will always follow my intuition.
With each passing day, I grow stronger and continue to move forward.
I deserve joy.
My body is my wisdom-guidance system, and I trust it completely.
I love my body deeply, joyfully, and fully.
I choose to honor my strength, uniqueness, and beauty.