The Secret Tool for a Better Self-Image
Would you like to see yourself as a more confident, strong, capable, (fill in the blank) person? Did you know that if you started to see yourself better, all parts of your life would start getting better? Your self-image is so closely tied to your happiness – it’s amazing.
There’s a tool right now most likely sitting on your desk that can help. Let me explain.
I was watching a few minutes of a movie the other day. (Confession time: it was a Hallmark movie. These movies are really growing on me. Can anyone relate? I usually only catch a few minutes of them here and there, which is just enough time to soak up some good, clean romance. And I love the adorable settings, storylines and characters. Granted, I’m always a little impatient waiting for them to get to the ‘good’ stuff, which only comes in the very last two minutes.)
So in this movie, the main character is a handsome, successful, catch of a guy, who still sees himself as an awkward outcast. The girl standing next to him in the scene is his new dating coach. She stood him in front of a full length mirror and asked him what he saw. As he stood looking at himself, what started to come up in his mind were scenes from back in his school days – feeling rejected, not good enough, and all the other familiar beliefs he had of himself from back then. And he still saw and felt himself in the exact same way now. Even though it clearly was his own perception.
She told him she was going to help him change those false self-images, so he could start changing his life for the better – beginning with getting him a much needed date (it is Hallmark, after all). Her first order of business was going to be changing out those huge black glasses he was hiding behind and also get him some new clothes to start wearing.
At this point, I wanted to hand him a calculator. I wanted to place it in his hands and show him some interesting calculations that would shed some light on his current self-image. Let’s do some rough numbers now. He was most likely very young when he first started thinking of himself as an awkward kid who didn’t measure up. He didn’t have to remember every single early memory he had of this, when asked, but a few would pop in his mind. Maybe he was around five or six years old when he could first remember feeling this way. Maybe he would only remember as far back as middle school. It didn’t matter. We’ll take fifth grade, when he was around ten years old, as an example.
Let’s start counting the thoughts. An average person actually has around 50,000 thoughts a day, so you can see that most thoughts go unnoticed. It’s safe to say that every morning before school, he most likely had a few of these negative thoughts about himself pop up. Then during school and even after school and later in the day. In this example, we’re also going to include, not just the days in school, but the entire year. We’ll take a guess (since it’s impossible to really know) and say he had 50 of these thoughts a day pop in. Times that by 365 days a year. Times that by eight more years of school, plus college, then after college – and my calculator shows 365,000! Even if we are way off by thousands, you can still see what an incredibly high number this is. All of them get stored in a person’s subconscious mind, which is like one huge filing cabinet. And, we all operate from our subconscious minds. It’s 95% stronger than our conscious minds.
Can you see how ingrained this self-image is for him? He’s been thinking these thoughts over and over and over again throughout his life. Granted, there were times when his numbers were very low and might have seemed almost gone. There were also other times when they were running average and still others times when they were high. But, it’s a numbers game! To change his self-image, he’s got to reverse those numbers. Being aware of this fact, to me, is the starting point of really changing and improving.
Will getting new glasses help? Sure. Will wearing better clothes help? Yea. But, those are sort of like band-aids. Any real change in a person’s life is an inside job first.
He has been telling himself and seeing himself for years as a person who is not good enough. And his feelings have helped to cement these beliefs in. To really change, he has to start telling himself something new; he has to start seeing himself in a new light; and he’s got to start intentionally creating new feelings. And to offset a number like 365,000 – it’s going to take a lot of repetition. Affirmations and visualization are such a good starting point. I know they seem hokey. But, think about it – he’s been talking to himself all along. He’s been telling himself he’s not good enough all these years. Now, he can start telling himself he is good enough! He is smart and handsome and successful or whatever else he truly is!
If you want to learn about affirmations and visualizations, my book Simply Being Happy, explains how easy they are to incorporate into your days to start reversing the numbers.
“I have always felt strongly about empowering women.
I’m living proof that, with confidence and by believing in yourself,
you can accomplish any goal.”