In our last post, we looked at how your self-image determines your quality of life. Most of the results you have in your life right now are connected and influenced by how you see yourself and the natural expression thereof. So, in this post, we need to look at how you can improve your self-image as a means to control your life and the results in it. When you change, everything else changes as well. In a nutshell.
In my first post, I tried to get you to understand a very powerful idea when it comes to the influence your self-image has on the quality of any area in your life.
I challenged you to start getting your head around the fact that you will ALWAYS behave like the sort of person you conceive yourself to be.
This is important to understand because if your self-image determines the quality of your life, then we can reverse engineer the current quality of any area in your life to get a good idea of the quality or state of your self-image.
Some people might have trouble knowing the true state of their self-image, or how they perceive themselves, but the results in your life never lie.
Or as we say here in New Zealand, the proof is in the pudding.
Now, just to be clear, why would it be important to reverse engineer area self-image from your current results?
Because if you want to improve any result in any area of your life, you need to start with improving your self-image as the control centre.
Ultimately, to improve your self-image to a positive one is one of the most powerful tools you possess or could possess, to turn an out-of-control life into one roaring with self-confidence and success.
I’m using these terms in the broadest sense possible of course.
Self-confidence and success in the workplace might look vastly different from home.
But the end result is still the same.
It’s better than what you’re experiencing right now.
And it all starts with either adjusting or improving your self-image.
Because, as I’ve already stated, you cannot ever OUTPERFORM a poor self-image.
It will either not allow you to even start OR sabotage any attempt in a different direction.
As I’ve quoted before,
The self-image then controls what you can and cannot accomplish, what is difficult or easy for you, even how others respond to you just as certainly and scientifically as the thermostat controls the temperature in your home.
To improve your self-image is super important if you want to take control of your life and start creating the results you want.
I also know that you might find this perhaps overly simplistic – but improving your self-image has and will always be the crucial starting point for any personal transformation or growth.
You can start with habits or behaviours if you want – but if your self-image is still a version of the “old you,” you won’t sustain those new actions.
Because your self-image functions like a thermostat that controls the temperature in your home.
It’s only when you adjust the setting on the thermostat that the temperature in the room will be regulated and adjusted accordingly.
The same goes for you.
When your inner setpoint changes, everything else changes accordingly.
When you improve your self-image your life reflects it.
Now, I understand that sometimes it’s difficult to improve your self-image and create a positive one, especially if you’ve had a childhood that reads like a Dickens novel.
Or maybe you’ve made a crapload of mistakes in your adult life and it’s hard to forget.
On some level, I can appreciate that.
Many of us have struggled with challenges in our childhoods.
Some of it was our own, and some of it had nothing to do with us.
Yet we were exposed to it and had to find our way through it.
Many of us have made MANY mistakes.
Some of them hard to forget.
But that’s called life.
We ALL have a story.
At the end of the day though, it comes down to whether you want to repeat an old story or try and create a new one.
And improving your self-image is the start.
Now again, I do want to trivialise your experiences or past, as that would be disrespectful and also completely ignorant on my part.
But what I am saying is that the same principle applies to all of us.
If you want to take control of your life and improve any area within it, whether that be health, finances, or your marriage, you have to start by improving your self-image.
Even when that means it might be hard for you to even like yourself right now, let alone improve your self-image.
Finding a way to like yourself is crucial for your long-term success.
Because, and this is super important, it’s been psychologically proven that the quality of your self-esteem determines the health of your personality.
What that means is that how much you like yourself, determines how you behave and how effective you are in every area of your life.
So, if you don’t have a very high impression of yourself, not only will it impact your self-esteem but also how effective you are in every other area of your life.
Your self-image is so powerful, it can literally make or break your future successes.
So you MUST learn how to improve your self-image.
And again, I’m using the term “success” very loosely.
Who would have thought that your self-image is so important?
But it is.
So, the question now becomes,
How can you take control of your life more by improving your self-image?
What do you need to focus on?
What can you do more and better?
What do you need to emphasise?
And by extension, what do you need to STOP focusing on, do less of, or just cut out of your life altogether?
Here is a shortlist of a few things I would suggest you start with:
To improve your self-image, you MUST know your values and live them
Values are all about what’s important to you.
In so many times we live the values of someone else’s.
We uphold certain things as important when it’s not even things we truly value.
But you need to understand a very simple truth – living a life that isn’t honouring YOUR values and deepest beliefs isn’t living life at all.
Therefore, spend some time to determine what’s really important to you.
Then live accordingly.
Manage your time wisely
This one flows from the previous one.
Nothing makes a person feel more out of control more than floating around purposelessly, missing deadlines (or not having any at all) and being non-productive.
It messes with our minds.
But when we become very clear about what’s important to us, we can also start using our time for those things better.
When we have no purpose, we tend to lack self-esteem and as a natural consequence, self-respect.
But when we are clear about what’s important to us (i.e. our values), we can make sure to fill out time with that.
Now, of course, you need to plan downtime to just relax but manage your time responsibly to foster a good opinion of yourself and put you more in control.
How much value you put on the activities you’re involved in, has a massive effect on improving your self-image and by extension self-esteem.
To improve your self-image, you need to be clear about what you want
Once you know what you truly value, it will also become a lot easier to be clear about what you want.
Many people have no idea what they want because they have no idea what is truly important to them.
Now, when you don’t know what is important to you and you have no idea what you want, it becomes much more difficult to have a healthy self-image – i.e. a positive, clear, and valuable self-conception.
Because when we pursue the things that are important to us, and we end up obtaining them, you also feed and improve your self-image.
Our actions are always an expression of our self-image (remember?).
So, when you know exactly what your current goals and objectives are, you’re more able to carry out the tasks to reach them BUT you’ll also have more self-respect from knowing that you’re doing a good job.
If you want to improve your self-image, don’t underestimate yourself
You’ll never rise to what you can really be if you consistently underestimate yourself.
This one is perhaps more a choice or decision than anything else.
No one else can decide for you what to think of yourself.
Of course, people influence us, but the decision ultimately stays with you.
And when you decide to underestimate yourself, for whatever reason, you are also the only one that can undo that.
Now, I find that when I start to doubt myself all I need to do is watch a few inspirational stories (YouTube works) of people who have excelled so much in their lives, in spite of having far more challenges myself.
That usually puts the brakes on my self-pity and self-doubt.
Sometimes all we need is perspective.
And nothing gives us a better perspective than realising that there are people who would kill for the opportunities and situation you find yourself in – yet they still make more of their life than you do.
Now, you can, of course, use this to further increase your self-pity and self-doubt.
But why would you?
Rather use someone else’s struggle and victory story to create your own.
Because once you do, your self-image will soar.
Improving your self-image requires focus, focus, focus
Lastly, focus comes from putting all the above together.
People tend to lack focus because they don’t know what’s important to them, they have no idea what they want, they waste their time, and they underestimate themselves and what they are capable of.
Sometimes, the only thing you need to do to get back on track is to simply start somewhere and focus.
Then double down.
If you want to improve your marriage (this is a relationship blog after all), become aware of at least one thing that you could improve they will improve the overall quality of your relationship.
Then ask yourself, who do I need to become to make that happen consistently?
Here is the issue that many couples struggle with – they try and create new results in their relationship while staying exactly the same people.
Yet, we know that Einstein said it best when he said,
“We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them.”
If you want to improve communication (for example) you will most likely have to become a more patient person.
That’s different from just “acting” patient.
If you want to increase romance (for example) you will most likely have to become someone who values spending far more intimate and romantic times with your partner.
It’s not something you do every now and again, and you set for life.
Yet, many of us have this idea that the same kind of thinking that brought us to the problematic state we’re in, in the first place, will be sufficient to get us to a different place.
The problem is that the person you are is only “good enough” for the results you’re getting right now.
And I’m not talking about your intrinsic value as a human being.
I’m talking about your self-image.
If you want different results in your life, your self-image will have to shift accordingly.
You will have to improve your self-image to get better results. Or different results.
It’s an inescapable reality.
And that’s where you need to start.
Improve your self-image and take control of your life …
I’ll let that sink in for a bit before we talk again.
In the meantime, if you found that helpful and would like to take your relationship to a new level – go check out my book for couples “Keeping The Fire Burning” here, and grab your copy today.