What kind of self-image do you have?

by Marilyn Atkinson


The experience of attending to one’s ‘self-image’ has been around since humans started to talk to each other about their personal experiences. What is interesting is that so few untrained people ever notice their visualizations of self. Even fewer think about the effectiveness of their own self-image. It usually remains as part of the hidden code, the ‘program’ that organizes the trajectory of their self-development.

Ask yourself carefully, “What kind of self-image do I currently have?” When asked this question, many people notice that their self-image is largely linked to self-feeling. People mainly associate into ideas about themselves that they have taken on previously. They identify with and feel their self-evaluation, as if real.

Have you thought about what you do? A person who has the belief that something is wrong with his or her body may immediately feel an inner sense of disappointment or failure connected to body image. For instance, the person may believe he or she is too fat or too thin or has a big nose or bad teeth. This becomes a frame for ongoing self-criticism and evaluatory inner conversation. The person inwardly takes the position of an external judge criticizing “the big nose.”

Now ask yourself this: on a scale from one to 10, with one being low and 10 being totally satisfied, how satisfied are you with the image you currently hold?

To be effective with our mental maps, we need to build a dissociated self-image. In other words, we need to see an image of our valued self in action so we can follow a visual movie that shows the self being and doing what we value. Dissociated viewing may be described like the view from a movie camera. You see yourself in your ‘inner recall and projection system.’ We need to see ourselves from an outsider’s viewpoint so we can see our face, body and walk, detailing the qualities we value. Dissociated viewing assists us to learn quickly and easily in any important area of our life, but especially our values.

Take a small moment now just to see your face and full body in an event in which you became inspired. See the qualities you showed in physical and facial movement, perhaps inner wisdom, warm radiance, strong leadership and/or light hearted humour. Watch the You in the moment when you are revealing these qualities in eyes, gesture, body, walk, laughter. Now, really appreciate that one inwardly. Sense the growing value of your life.

Marilyn Atkinson is the president of Erickson Coaching International. 604-879-5600 www.erickson.edu

photo © Zen2000

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