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How to create a positive self image ?

How to create a positive self image ?

"Mirror mirror on the wall... who's the fairest of them all?"...just a whimsical line from an age old fairy tale or a surprisingly apt satirical comment on the insecurities faced by individuals since the dawn of time?

Self Image...
So what is this mirror? And is it an honest reflection of ourselves? What we think about ourselves can be a crucial determinant to developing a conducive attitude to appreciate ourselves and be willing to improve in wholesome ways. This ‘Self image' may consist of what an individual thinks about himself or herself, what others think about an individual and how the individual perceives how others see him or her. It is a mental picture of oneself that can be derived from a combination of all of these ideas.

When we think of the "mirror" are we perceiving an accurate representation of ourselves or is the mirror a kaleidoscope mirroring thousands of images resulting in a highly skewed version of ourselves? These images can be from society, family, friends, our life partners, teachers and the media. It becomes confusing resulting in a never ending, arduous quest for the perfect ideal of oneself with no hope for true happiness or satisfaction.

How Self Image impacts us...
Some of us are shocked that people can fall prey to diseases such as anorexia and bulimia which stems from a negative self image. However sometimes one's harmful self portrait or self "schema" can be so powerful that until they see a ‘size zero' super model staring back at them in their reflection they will never be satisfied. These images can go beyond the body to other harmful consequences such as ‘victimization' where people who have been manipulated or abused in their lives believe that that is their fate and are trapped in a world of guilt, low self esteem, self blame, loss of control and pessimism.
These self image issues can start at a very early age as children are very susceptible to negative comments and criticisms from figures of authority, parents and peers and begin to internalize these ideas and pile them one atop the other accumulating all the unwanted and self deprecating notions which results in an inability to truly appreciate and love oneself.

When you are labouring under a negative notion of yourself the first step is to love yourself in order to foster a positive self image.
The time is now to make a change and paint a different picture of yourself...

You can start by-
• Journaling-
You can start by keeping a ‘success journal' by writing down all your victories and positive traits of character. Keep this with you at all times and have a read every time you begin to dwell on perceived failures. As time progresses, the goal would be to keep adding onto this journal which will build your confidence and perception of yourself.

• Positive thinking-
There is no good that comes from thinking negatively so it is important to start replacing all negative thoughts with more positive and fruitful ones. Sometimes these harmful thoughts about oneself can be so automatic that we feel we can't help but think that way. It's time to become more conscious about our thought process and constantly check ourselves when we steer toward something negative - as how we act and behave is very much determined by how we think.
• Like your body-
First start by asking yourself- Is your opinion about your body realistic? Is there something really wrong with your body or is it a personal view based on unrealistic expectations. Answer honestly. Stop comparing yourself to other people as bodies were made to be different and every body will weigh and respond differently to how you treat it. Try to focus your energy on how you want your body to move and feel and how to achieve that through a healthy regime.
• Change your mental image-
Start picturing what you would like to become and play it back in your mind when you feel stuck and unable to progress. Start deleting the old image of yourself and install the new one that you can realistically achieve and take pride in the accomplishments you make in doing so.

Be patient and take some time to value yourself and all you have achieved and your ability to reach all your goals.
People say that if you break a mirror you are fated with 7 years of bad luck but if your mirror is projecting a faulty version of yourself, more often than not, it's worth the risk!

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