In our previous posts in this self-image series, we looked at how you can improve your self-image as a means to control your life and the results in it by starting to imagine yourself with a positive self-image and by overcoming self-critical thinking – which is all super important for long-term success in ALL areas of your life. And in this final post, we’re looking at 8 specific ways to build a healthy self-concept.
An important point we’ve been emphasising in the self-image blog post series is the idea that reaching your full potential is dependent on the creation and maintenance of a healthy self-image.
In any area of your life.
This doesn’t just apply to your career or business.
If you want to be a better parent or a much more present and loving spouse, your self-image plays a role.
It is simply not possible to be highly “successful” if you don’t believe in yourself due to an unhealthy or negative self-concept.
The way you view yourself is either uplifting or a hindrance.
It either helps you achieve the results you want OR hurt your chances of creating any better results at all.
The other point I’ve been trying to point out is that regardless of your childhood experiences, past failings, or current level of self-esteem, you CAN possess a healthy self-image.
There is no reason for you to persist with your current self-image.
The way you see yourself can change.
And YOU can change it (I’ll show you eight specific ways to build a healthy concept in this post)
But for now, I need you to understand the power of your self-image and avoid underestimating the impact of an unhealthy self-concept on all the areas of your life.
To reach your full potential, you must respect yourself and believe you can do great things.
You need to believe that you deserve better.
So now, let me show you eight specific ways to build a healthy self-concept so that you can create a flourishing life.
Overcome any limiting beliefs.
Our beliefs feed our self-image to a large extent.
How we see ourselves is squarely built on what we believe, not just about ourselves but also about the world and life.
Therefore, overcoming any limiting beliefs should be something you need to consider if you want to build a healthy self-concept.
So, take a moment and think about something you’d like to accomplish, but are unable to do because of a limiting belief.
Now make a list of how that belief is negatively impacting your life.
Then focus on how much your life would be enhanced if you were able to remove this belief from your life.
Overcoming any limiting beliefs is super important for building a healthy self-image.
I wrote a post on this quite some time ago that lays out a simple process to release unhealthy, limiting beliefs in order to create your ideal life.
Recognize the small victories.
It’s not necessary to earn a million dollars or lose 50 pounds before you have the right to feel proud and excited.
Any progress is worthy of recognizing.
I think because we live in an overly connected world today, that’s oftentimes defined by what we see on social media, many of us have a distorted concept of “success.”
So many of us underplay or undervalue the victories we’ve had in our lives or are still having every day.
For example, why does a stay-at-home dad who gave his more successful wife the chance to advance in her career while he is taking care of business at home deserve any less credit than a super successful businessman?
Moreover, why should he look at himself as a failure rather than success?
Small victories matter.
Recognising the small victories in our lives matter even more.
And it matters because recognising these small victories go a long way in building a healthy self-image.
Also, large successes are the culmination of many smaller successes, so small victories are important.
Take full responsibility for your current situation.
Building a healthy self-image demands that you take full responsibility for your current situation.
Is it your fault that your parents mistreated you or that your boss is a jerk?
Is it your fault that your parents were poor?
Is it your fault that you were born in the wrong country?
Is your fault that you were born?
Of course not, so why dwell on it?
Seriously, how was dwelling on a” less than ideal situation” going to get you any closer to a more ideal life or result?
Also, while you’re fixated on what you don’t have, who’s going to take responsibility for what needs to be done in order to get what you do want?
Here’s the thing my friend –no one else is going to fix your situation.
It’s all on you.
Now, for not one moment do I want to downplay your challenges – for that would be naïve on my part.
But, it’s important to understand this universal principle that transcends our opinions and beliefs – it’s only when you take responsibility that you have control.
Moreover, building a healthy self-image will always be elusive as long as you believe you don’t have control of your life.
And in order to take more control, you have to take responsibility.
As the ancient Stoic philosophers would have argued and insisted – focus on and control what you control, and release anything you don’t control.
Do something for others.
The world-renowned life coach, Anthony Robbins, always teaches that true happiness and fulfilment comes from giving to others.
He also says that we tend to do more for others than for ourselves.
Genuine altruism seems to ignite our spirit.
I also think that doing something for others goes a long way in building a healthy self-image.
It is super easy to start feeling selfish when all your thoughts and activities are centred on yourself.
But when you spend some of your time enhancing or improving the lives of others, you both demonstrate to yourself that you’re a good person and your self-image is changed in the process.
Take a step each day toward your ideal self.
Building a healthy self-image also requires that you get very clear on the person you would like to be.
Without clarity you have nothing.
You don’t know what it is that you want and you don’t know where you’re going.
Consequently, it is impossible to know whether you’re getting closer or not.
Get a vision of the person you would like to be, i.e. your ideal self-image or self-concept.
Now, once you have clarity on that it might feel that this ideal version of yourself seem too far away to even consider, but that’s fine.
Simply focus on taking small steps towards that ideal self, every single day.
Because each small improvement will raise your self-image.
Start today by listing all the qualities you’d like to have.
Then take the first step.
Manage your self-talk.
We all talk to ourselves.
You’re not the only one!
But what you need to understand about self-talk is that it also feeds your self-image.
However, the greatest thing about this is that we can control what we say to ourselves.
You can either help or hurt yourself by the way you speak to yourself.
So, ask yourself – is your self-talk positive or negative?
Just remember that negative self-talk chips away at your feelings of self-worth, ergo influencing your self-image as well.
Choose to be kind to yourself.
Be encouraging, positive, and patient.
Get started on the bigger projects in your life.
It’s important to understand that your self-image is damaged when you fail to control yourself.
But the opposite is equally true.
When you manage to take responsibility and control your actions and direction in life, it fills you up in a positive way.
Which is why getting started on bigger projects or going after bigger goals in your life can be so powerful in building a healthy self-image.
So rather than just playing it safe or small all the time, perhaps you could identify something bigger to go after.
And without putting pressure on yourself, simply focus on making progress or some advancement towards it every day.
Again, small consistent steps.
Avoid comparing yourself to others.
One of the fastest ways to break a healthy self-image is comparison.
We all have different skills and talents, so it’s unfair to compare yourself to other people.
When you do this, you’re doomed to be either too hard or too easy on yourself.
Either way, you’re stuffed.
Building a healthy self-image requires you to focus on you, what you have, what you control, what your values are, what beliefs you harbour, and the vision you have of your ideal self.
If you want to compare yourself to something, then rather compare yourself to your past.
Are you doing better than you were last month?
When you can consistently answer “yes,” then you’ll be well on your way to maximizing your self-image.
That would be a healthy form of comparison.
Your old self to your new self.
Avoid comparing yourself to others, because it is a zero-point game.
Build a healthier or fitter body (Bonus)
I’ve learned that our self-image is oftentimes very closely connected to our body-image, i.e. how we see and feel about our body.
And when our body changes for the better, our self-image follows.
Sometimes, we just need to start on the “outside” in order to change the “inside.”
I know this sounds counterintuitive and even slightly shallow.
It goes directly against the whole anti-body shaming movement, but think about it for a moment.
Have you ever lost weight or built muscle, and people complimented you on it?
How did that make you feel about yourself?
Pretty good I bet.
Almost like you wanted more.
Chances are you instantly started seeing yourself in a different light and you craved more of the same.
You felt proud.
You might even have felt a little sense of superiority (let’s be honest here).
The point is, building a healthy self-image isn’t just all in the mind – you can also start with your body and behave yourself into a new way of thinking rather than think yourself into a new way of behaving.
Food for thought.
Final few thoughts …
Listen, you can begin to build a healthy self-image today.
You now know why it’s so important.
So, regardless of your past or current impressions of yourself, you can learn to view yourself in a more positive light.
You just need to start.
A healthy self-image is a springboard to happiness and success.
Focus on the small victories in your life and be proud of your progress.
You deserve to be successful and happy.