In this article, you will learn how to easily improve your self-image. I will also cover the symptoms of a low self-image and the types of behaviors that are common when your self-image is low.
I’ll then cover 8 effective and practical ways to improve your self-image so that you can feel better about yourself right now. What would your life be like when you improve your self-image? It’s easier than you think and in this article, I’ll show you how.
Self-image is what you think about yourself, it’s who you are and what you think other people think of you.
To help you understand what self-image really is, I’m going to talk about a plastic surgeon called Maxwell Maltz. He used plastic surgery to help people look better. He noticed that around 80% of people that underwent plastic surgery, acted differently as a result of looking better. Basically, the surgery had caused their self-image to change.
However, the remaining 20%, continued to behave the same way. When studying the 20% that didn’t change, Maxwell Maltz realized that in spite of the plastic surgery, their self-image, their internal sense of themselves had not changed. If this was the case, then perhaps people could improve their self-image without having surgery. It was this insight that led to Maxwell Maltz writing an incredibly successful self-help book called “PsychoCybernetics“. Highly recommended!
The core idea in this book is that we have some kind of mental picture of ourselves, which he calls our self-image. When your self-image is low, you’ll tend to do things that don’t help you, such as eating junk food or drinking too much or taking drugs. You might say negative things about other people as a way of boosting your self-esteem. You might avoid doing things that make you happy.
Our self-image or sense of self is often quite unconscious. The way you behave in any given moment depends on how much you like yourself in that moment. Your self-image is not static, it’s constantly changing throughout the day. When your self-image is low, you might say things like, “I don’t deserve this” or “I’m not worthy”.
What people with a low self-image typically do
I’m now going to cover some common behavioral traits of people with low self-image.
People with a low self-image tend to compare themselves with others. Notice the times when you compare yourself with other people, judge others or even criticize other people. This is a common sign that your self-image has taken a hit and you’re trying to use other people to give it a boost.
Another behavioral trait is being unable to receive compliments. Imagine someone comes up to you and says “you did that brilliantly”. What would you say in return? A person with a high self-image would probably smile and say “thank you”. A person with a low self-image might say something like “it was okay”, “it was nothing really”, or ” I could have done it better” Which of these statements could you relate to?
People with a low self-image also find it really hard to give compliments to other people. It could be because they are too much in their own head to notice the wonderful work of other people or it may be a fear of the compliment coming out all wrong.
Low self-image can also make it hard to ask for what you want or leave you feeling envious or jealous of other people.
You might also find yourself focussing on the needs of other people too much. This can be difficult to judge. If you feel good helping others, then it’s coming from the right place within yourself. If it’s feeling like a chore and your own needs are getting neglected, then that’s going to lower your self-image over time.
Another one to watch is excessive negative self-talk. If you’re noticing a lot of internal dialogue or self-talk in your head, then this can be a characteristic of having a low self-image as well.
So how do you improve your self-image? To some extent, it is doing the opposite of what I’ve just covered above. However, I’m going to cover specific ways to help you improve your self-image today.
1. Don’t Compare Yourself with Others
You never really know what is going on in someone else’s head, so it’s almost impossible to really compare yourself with anyone else. You might notice someone that is really confident and self-assured on the outside. They look like they’re really together, but their internal world of thoughts and feelings could be very different!
Focus on being your authentic self instead. Act as you would really like to be.
Instead of comparing yourself with others, compare yourself with where you want to be. Think about where you are now and compare that with where you want to be in a month, a year or five years time.
2. Give and Receive Compliments
Giving compliments gets you out of your own head and focussing on other people. You begin to develop a sense of gratitude for who they are and what they do. You focus on what you can learn from others. This is so different from comparing yourself with others because it comes from a place of gratitude and abundance.
Then start graciously accepting compliments. When someone gives you a compliment, just smile and say “thank you”. That’s it! Think about how Richard Branson would accept a compliment. He would probably smile and say “thank you”.
Also, take the time to notice how lovely it feels when someone compliments you.
3. Separate Your Behavior from You
What you do and how you act or behave is not related to your self-image, your self worth or sense of who you are.
If you make a mistake, it’s not part of you. It doesn’t mean you’re a stupid person, you just made a mistake. If you upset someone, don’t make that part of who you are. Just realize that you upset someone, it wasn’t intentional and that you’ll learn from the experience. It does not mean that you’re a bad person, You might feel a bit guilty, but that won’t last for as long if you don’t define this incident as part of who you are.
4. Develop a Morning Routine or Morning Ritual
A morning routine or ritual is doing something proactive for you first thing in the morning. You do this before you do anything else. There are lots of things you can do including meditating, reciting positive affirmations, journaling or visualizing yourself and the person you want to become. You could use this time to read books, watch videos or listen to podcasts that develop the mind.
Whatever you decide to do, the key is to take some time out for yourself, to work on proactively improving your mind and emotions, so you’re looking forward to the day and you’re programming your day for success. This can do wonders for your level of self-image because you are putting yourself first and you’re working consistently on improving your mental (and perhaps) physical health as well.
5. Think Good Things About You
Any negative thoughts that you have about yourself are no more accurate than the alternative positive thoughts. It’s impossible to know which thoughts are more accurate. Even if the negative thoughts were more accurate, they are going to make you feel bad and who wants that?
So you might as well think the kind of thoughts, that will make you feel good, excited and inspired! Some examples include “today is a great day” or “I’m a good person and good things happen to me”, or “I am enough”, or “I am good enough”. Say affirmations like these regularly to yourself throughout the day.
6. Say Good Things About You
Now that you are thinking good things about you, it becomes easier to say good things about you.
Start by stopping yourself from saying anything negative about yourself. When a negative thought comes to mind (and it will), resist the temptation to say it to another person. It’s better to keep your mouth shut than to say something that makes you feel bad.
7. Look After Your Body
This is easier said than done, because when you have a low self-image, you don’t feel like exercising, eating the right foods or doing the right things to nourish your body.
The solution is to “act as if”. Do the exercise, make healthy food and drink choices even when you don’t feel like it. When you “act as if”, your self-image and self-worth will improve.
Do just one minute of jumping jacks, running on the spot or simply smiling! Eat well and exercise regularly and you’ll soon have more energy and you’ll feel better about yourself. You’ll feel more motivated and your self-confidence will improve as well.
8. Visualize How You Want To Be
It’s the current thoughts and images in your mind about who you are now, that lead to a low self-image and feelings of low self-esteem,
Instead, think and imagine the you that you would like to become. Think about how you will act in different situations in a new and confident way. Notice how things will change in your life.
This is a great thing to do regularly as part of a morning routine. When you visualize who you want to become consistently, you will change your sense of identity and the inner feeling of who you are.
When your identity, your sense of who you are, changes, your beliefs, thoughts, feelings, and behavior change to reflect this new identity.
So these are my practical ways to help you easily improve your self-image today, I hope you found these useful and I encourage you to practice them. Start applying these on a daily basis and notice how your self-image starts to improve and old thoughts and ideas begin to fade away.
If you enjoyed reading this article and found it useful, please leave a comment or question below. I would love to hear what you think!