For centuries, psychologists and philosophers alike have scrutinized how we define self-image. Even though there are many arguments as to what self-image is, people will agree that self-image has a great deal to do with how a person perceives him/herself.
Some would say that everything a person does -- their job, how they treat others, how attractive they are to others -- is hinged on an individual's own self-image. People who perceive themselves as good are typically said to have a positive self-image, while those who have negative perceptions about themselves are said to have a negative self-image.
Self-image is important because it reflects how we perceive ourselves and the world around us. Individuals who have a positive self-image are operating on a higher frequency, be it physically, mentally, socially, emotionally, or spiritually. At the same time, an individual who has a negative self-image is operating at a lower frequency, thus limiting their ability to fully operate in those areas of their lives.
Although personal perception plays a vital role in how people see themselves, other people's perception plays a role in an individual's self-image, too. For instance, a person may develop a poor self-image if people don't perceive him/her as attractive or worthy of spending time with.
Nevertheless, it's essential people not allow other people's perception of them to trump their own personal beliefs, particularly because self-image changes over time. For example, if a person takes up a new hobby and gets good at it or joins a social group and feels accepted, they will build confidence, thus changing their self-image.
Some people find it hard to escape their negative self-image. This is particularly common with women and teenagers as both groups are affected by media and peer influences. By its nature, some women are left with a negative self image because they cannot live up to the fashion industry's "ideal" image of a woman. At the same time, teenagers are bombarded by peer pressure. This can result in dangerous, unrealistic comparisons and lead to serious problems such as eating disorders, disruptive behaviour and sometimes even drug or alcohol abuse.
How an individual perceives him/herself is either a real or distorted view of who they believe they really are, not always who they actually are, or how others see them for that matter. People either develop a positive or a negative self-image based upon their perception of a past experience or event. Therefore, an individual's strengths and weaknesses are a direct manifestation of how a person evaluates themselves in multiple domains such as: physical appearance (how they look), performance (what they do) and relationships (how others value them).
To conclude, as a person's perceptions change over time, their self-images changes, too. Developing a positive self-image allows a person to take a look at their assets and potential, thus being realistic about their liabilities and limitations. Those with negative self-image can consider working with coach to help them create and sustain a positive self-image.
Collette Gee is a Certified Neuro-Linguistic Practitioner, Violence Prevention Specialist, Matchmaker and Holistic Relationship Coach that helps men and women create and sustain healthy relationship patterns and behaviors. Learn more about Collette Gee
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