What self-image do most people have?

What self-image do most people have?

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There seem to be a lot of studies about the influence of self-image on our psychology, but I've been wondering: Is there research on what type of self-image (positive, negative) most people have? Do people in Western countries tend to have a positive or a negative self-image?

Short answer:

… on the balance, most people tend to view themselves positively.

Longer answer:

Not much is clear about self-image. One thing that is clear is that self-image is not one thing. In the research literature, it can refer to a conglomerate of fairly independent / mildly correlated constructs, such as body image, self-schema, self-valuation, self-esteem, self-perceived physical attractiveness, self-worth, etc… That is to say, one can score positively on some of these measures and negatively on others, with little relationship between the scores.

Culture may indeed play a role as well:

More recent research investigating self-esteem in other countries suggests that illusory superiority depends on culture. Some studies indicate that East Asians tend to underestimate their own abilities in order to improve themselves and get along with others.

The uncertainty between positive and negative self-image is underscored by the existence of both an above-average-effect, and a worse-than-average effect. Each may refer to different aspects of self-image, but may even refer to the same aspects!

For example, while college students rate themselves as more likely than average to live to 70, they believe they are less likely than average to live to 100. People regard themselves as above average on easy tasks such as riding a bicycle but below average on difficult tasks like riding a unicycle.

What Does Self Image Include?

  • What you think you look like – your appearance.
  • How you show emotions and what you look like when you do
  • What kind of person you appear to be to others
  • What status, beliefs or other values you show by your appearance and actions

How is self-image related to your self esteem?

Self Esteem is how you feel about and value yourself. Image is about how you see yourself and how you believe others see you. They are closely connected because if you see yourself in a certain way, your self esteem will reflect that.

Self image is one factor in your self esteem. A poor self image will result in low self esteem. A positive self image helps a person to feel better about themselves (source: Kenealey et al. 1991). Next we are going to look at relationships and how your self image plays an important role in the connections you have with others.

Don’t ignore this incredible opportunity to improve how you see yourself! This hypnosis download will teach you how to feel good about your self image

One of the most important things you need to do to improve your self-esteem is to practice more self-acceptance. Accepting who you are and be honest about your wishes, needs and values is a huge step towards self worth.

Could your Self Image be Causing a Problem in Your Relationships?

According to this article by Gilbert Wrenn it is really important to build a positive self image because it affects many aspects of our lives and how we live it.

Self Image is to do with perception.

Your perception is not reality, but it is your own inner idea of reality. Your mind filters everything and colours it according to your values and thinking.

You might see yourself as forgiving, but others may see you in quite a different way. You might believe that hat you are wearing looks silly on you, but others may think it suits you or makes you look smart.

How you see yourself is vital because this will affect your behaviour, your thinking and how you relate to others. People respond to you either positively or negatively according to how confident you are. Your confidence in relationships depends on the image you have of yourself.

If you believe you look tired, you may begin to feel and act that way. If you believe you look great, you will be more positive and feel like you can conquer the world!

Your view of yourself is shaped by your unique thoughts and beliefs and you may have a distorted view. Self esteem can cause you to see yourself in a positive or negative way.

If you have a negative view of yourself you may be highly critical of yourself. You may also listen to and accept the negative comments of others more easily. This can easily become negative self talk. Let me help you to stop this negative self talk that can destroy your self image. Replace it with more supportive thinking and words – when you do this you will be surprised at the opportunities that can open up for you!

Incorporating Self-Esteem in Positive Psychology

Dr. Martin Seligman has some concerns about openly accepting self-esteem as part of positive psychology. He worries that people live in the world where self-esteem is injected into a person’s identity, not caring in how it is done, as long as the image of “confidence” is obtained. He expressed the following in 2006:

I am not against self-esteem, but I believe that self-esteem is just a meter that reads out the state of the system. It is not an end in itself. When you are doing well in school or work, when you are doing well with the people you love, when you are doing well in play, the meter will register high. When you are doing badly, it will register low. (p. v)

Seligman makes a great point, as it is important to take his words into consideration when looking at self-esteem. Self-esteem and positive psychology may not marry quite yet, so it is important to look at what research tells us about self-esteem before we construct a rationale for it as positive psychology researcher, coach, or practitioner.

What Is Self-Image?

Put very simply, your self-image relates to how you see yourself both internally and externally.

This idea is exaggerated upon by Random House Dictionary who defines self-image as:

&ldquothe idea, conception, or mental image one has of oneself.&rdquo

So, why is self-image important?

Well, self-image influences how we view ourselves, how we interact with others, and even how we feel about our surroundings. Thus, it has pretty broad influence over our lives.

A positive self-image has the ability and potential to boost our physical, mental, social, emotional, and spiritual well-being. On the other hand, a negative self-image can decrease our well-being in each of these areas as well as our overall life satisfaction and functioning.

Self-Image vs. Self-Concept

A lot of people tend to get self-image confused with self-concept. The two terms are very similar, so the confusion is understandable. However, there is an important difference:

Self-concept is a much broader term relating to how you see, think, and feel about yourself.

Thus, self-image is a portion of what makes up our much broader self-concept. Self-image is strictly how we view ourselves, not how we think or feel about ourselves.

Self-Image vs. Self-Identity

Again, as was the case with self-concept, self-identity is a broader and more comprehensive term than self-image.

The best way to distinguish between these two closely related terms is to say that self-image is specific. It relates to different aspects of our view of ourselves. All of these different snapshots that you feel when you look in the mirror then combine to produce your self-identity. [1]

Our self-identity is the whole image of who we believe we are, and how we would describe ourselves to the other people who are around us.

How to Build a Healthy Self-Image

Let’s now take a look at a four-step process that will help you build a healthy self-image. This process is closely tied to the process we used for building more self-worth. Because these two are very much related, there will be somewhat of a crossover. Having said that, there are some variations here that will help you dig a little deeper in this area.

Step 1: Explore Yourself

Your first step is to explore who you are and what that means to you. This is an important first step because unless you clearly define who you are, you will never really develop a clear and accurate picture/idea of “you”. Ask yourself:

Who am I?

How am I?

What defines who I am?

How do I see myself?

How accurate is this view?

Is this who I really am? Is it really?

Is this my true self? Or is there something more below the surface?

It is important that you keep digging deeper and deeper using these questions. It’s very much like peeling back the layers of an onion. The surface layers will reveal a fuzzy picture of who you are. However, as you dig deeper and deeper by peeling off more layers you begin to get a clearer picture/idea of yourself. This is why it’s important to periodically question the accuracy of your view. Your goal is to get to the core of who you really are without the need for all those external layers.

Step 2: Take a Personal Inventory

It’s now time to take a personal inventory by listing your positive qualities, goals, passions, and purpose. Ask yourself:

What are my positive qualities? I am… therefore I can…

What do other people say are my positive qualities?

What personal strengths do I have? I am… therefore I am able to…

What goals would I like to achieve?

How could I live with more meaning and purpose?

What does all this mean to me?

Why is all this important?

The purpose of this step is to unlock all the good things you feel about yourself to unlock all the things you have going for yourself that will now add layers back onto that onion to help form a strong personal impression of who you are today from a bigger picture perspective.

In the previous step, you were removing unnecessary layers to get to the core of yourself. Within this step, you are adding layers to that core to form a definitive and comprehensive picture/idea of yourself at this very moment. And it is, of course, that very picture that forms the foundations of your self-image.

Step 3: Analyze Your Struggles

A little earlier I mentioned how a healthy self-image is primarily based on our own personal feelings and perspectives. In other words, how we think about ourselves as well as the opinions and labels we create are all critical components that go into building a healthy self-image.

A person with a healthy self-image doesn’t rely on outside opinions or circumstances to define who they are. They must instead rely on internal resources for this purpose. It’s therefore absolutely critical that we take personal control of our internal world because it’s the only thing that really matters when it comes to building a healthy self-image.

To get an understanding of this internal world we need to take a look at four key areas. These areas include your critical voice, your unhelpful thoughts, beliefs in the form of labels, as well as incorrect assumptions you might be making about yourself. Here are some questions to help stimulate your thoughts in these areas:

How do I tend to talk to myself throughout the day?

When things go wrong, what’s my internal dialogue like?

Am I mostly critical or encouraging?

Given the outcomes I would like to achieve are my thoughts mostly helpful or unhelpful?

How do my thoughts tend to distort my reality?

How do I tend to label myself?

Are my labels helpful or unhelpful?

Are these labels rational? Does it even make sense for me to label myself in this way?

What assumptions do I tend to make about myself?

How are these assumptions potentially hurting me?

Working through these questions will effectively help you get a better understanding of how your critical voice, unhelpful thoughts, beliefs, and assumptions are shaping the picture/idea you have of yourself that effectively builds your self-image.

If you discover that you tend to be overly critical of yourself that your thoughts tend to be unhelpful that your labels are negative and that you tend to make assumptions that lead you astray, then it’s important to work through these areas one by one in order to solidify your self-image.

For instance, if you’re constantly being critical of yourself, then this is an indication that your self-image isn’t as healthy as it could be. It’s therefore important to reel in that critical voice and begin using more encouraging words.

Changing your language patterns in this way will help settle your thoughts and help you think more clearly and effectively. This subsequently means that you will be less likely to make negative assumptions or label yourself in unhelpful ways.

I will provide you with more details on how to strengthen your self-image within the final section of this article — to help you better manage all these areas.

Step 4: Create an Accurate View of Yourself

The final step is to create a more accurate view of yourself that you can use as the foundation for building a healthy self-image. This view of yourself must be built upon all the positive qualities and strengths you outlined in Step 2 of this process. Take those positive qualities and strengths and ask yourself one simple question:

How would I ideally like to be?

Take time to really have a good-long-hard think about this question and answer honestly how you would like to be starting today. There is, of course, no one right answer, but rather a variety of answers that go into building your self-image. Yes, you still have flaws and things that you might be struggling with. Accept these things. They are a part of you in the moment. You can work on improving these areas over time. What’s important here is that you’re honest, genuine, authentic and real. This is who you are and this is how you see yourself with warts and all.

In the end building, a healthy self-image is all about you. It’s all about how you and you alone — without external influences — see yourself. And it is this picture/idea of “you” that is what matters above all else. You are in the driver’s seat here you alone define how you see yourself, and that’s what counts in the end.

A simple answer to the question, “what do people think about you?” can give you the most appropriate definition of self image. Self image basically means what you portray yourself as. Not only in the terms of your physical appearance but also in terms of the experiences you have had in your life and the lessons that you have learned from them. Even the self image of an individual can be divided in three different types:

  1. The image created by the individual about himself, how he perceives himself to be.
  2. The image created in the minds of people and how they perceive you
  3. And the third image is created by the individual on the basis of what others think of him.

But we cannot overlook the fact that these three kinds of self image are not exactly accurate.

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The self image can also be divided into different two types: one is the positive self image and one is the negative self image. Creating the kind of self image that you want to create yourself lies in the amount of confidence that you feel in yourself. If you are a confident person then you will automatically create a positive image of yourself not only in our mind but also in the mind of your peers but if you are not so confident person, then you have to do a lot of work to get to the positive side.

Importance of positive self image

It will be one of the biggest mistakes committed by anyone to think that creating a positive self image is not that difficult a task. Just like developing any other skill, development of positive self image is equally tasking and takes a lot of conscious effort on part of the developer.

First step towards creating a positive self image would be to adopt a positive attitude towards you and towards the world as a whole, but keep in mind this positive attitude should be within the realms of reality. You need to appreciate yourself for who you are. Unless you don’t feel confident in yourself, there is no way in this world that anybody else will feel confident in you.

Positive image is not created for anybody else but for making your life easier. The motive behind improving self image to create a self-accepting attitude of the individual and making them strive towards out-performing themselves. You need to work inside out. You need to change your way of thinking before you change the circumstances if you really want to create a positive self image for yourself. Once you have enough confidence in yourself, there is no problem big enough in the world that will stop you from achieving your goals and our ambitions.

Steps to create a strong positive self image

Your guide to create the positive self image for yourself is here! All you need to do is to follow some simple steps written here and you are good to go! It is not really that much of a work! Just some little changes that you need to bring in your lifestyle to get that positive self image!

Stop criticizing yourself:

STOP CRITICIZING YOURSELF! No good will come out of you if you keep beating yourself up for the little mistakes committed by you. You are after all a human, you are programmed to commit errors and learn from them. That is how it is going to be. Criticizing yourself is not going to help anybody. It will only make you feel less confident and hence make you look negative on the outside. No one believe in you if you don’t make them believe in yourself and that starts from forgiving yourself for the mistakes committed by you and learning from those mistakes for your future references. After all these are the experiences that makes up a person’s self image. If you keep holding these ‘experiences’ in the negative light then how can you expect to get a positive result out of them. Learn to forgive yourself. Trust me this is the best thing that you can do to yourself.

When you look in the mirror, smile:

a simple gift of smile from you to yourself can do wonders on your self image. This will not only make you feel more confident in yourself and make you work harder for your goals. This will not only help you in making to look good on the outside, who doesn’t like a smiling person, but will also make you feel good on the inside. This smile, will portray a good image of you in others eyes but also make you look good in your eyes as well. And how hard is it to smile, even if it is a fake smile. Even a fake smile can do wonders in lifting up your bad mood. Do try smiling, it is a wonderful gift to be given to anyone plus it is free.

List ten things that you like about yourself before going to bed:

there are a lot likable things in a person, all you have to do is to recognize them, write them down and remind yourself about them each day. This will help you realize that you are not as bad as you perceive yourself to be. And hence it will improve your perception about yourself, therefore creating a positive self image. There is nothing worse than not realizing your own self-worth. Just take a pen and a paper and list down all the things that you like about yourself. It can be as small as your haircut that looks good on you or as big as some recent show of confidence in yourself, just write down. Thinking about these things will give you the much needed boost of confidence and morale. Come on, you can find ten things that you like about yourself. From your eyes, to your smile, to the way you dress anything and everything will do. The important thing here is not what it is but how it makes you feel. If you feel good then consider is mission accomplished!

Get lots of sleep:

what is better for your confidence, getting enough sleep and feeling fresh and happy when you wake up or to be under slept and wake up cranky and irritable? It wouldn’t take a genius to answer that. So sleep well, sleep right, sleep enough so that you can have that perfect mood and perfect amount of confidence to go through your day. And not just confidence, but willpower to get through the day.

This can do wonder to your image in others’ eyes. No one likes to be around a cranky or a frustrated person, who does not have the willpower to complete the task at hand. This does dual damage, one affecting your image in others’ eyes and hence affecting your image in your eyes. Like it is said, well begun is half done so if you have begun your day well then the battle is already half won.

Wear flattering clothes:

Imagine two girls sitting in front of you, one is wearing the clothes that are suiting her body type, which she is able to carry of well and which look good on her even if she is wearing a simple t-shirt and a jeans and the other girl is wearing most fashionable clothes and wearing everything that is in trend but does not know how to carry them off who would have a better image about? Of course the one who wears flattering clothes!

Here let me bring to your attention the meaning of term flattering, it doesn’t just mean the trendy clothes but it means what looks good on you, what you feel comfortable in. So wear the clothes that you feel good in, that look good on you, even if they are not particularly in fashion. You need to impress yourself first more than anybody else. Why wear something that you don’t like and don’t feel confident about and hence in turn bring down your image instead wear what you love and turn your image in the positive direction.

Make your hair look good, wear make-up if you want to:

Want to dye your hair, get them dyed! What to get your hair cut really short, go for it! Want to wear that really nice dress that you bought, get up and wear it! Don’t stop yourself from doing anything that will make you happy. Instead do exactly those things! You want to wear make-up and look good, and then don’t stop yourself. Stop worrying about how people will think! They will think exactly what you want them to think! What you feel about yourself! So feel confident, feel good!

Do the things that interest you:

All your life you have done things that others wanted you to do. For once do things that you have wanted to do! Be the person that you had always dreamed of becoming! There is not going to be a better time for becoming that! You are changing yourself inside out, what could be better than this? Go on the road trip that you have always wanted to! Do something that you have always wanted to do! These are the experiences that can make a real difference in your confidence level. You need to break all limits that you set for yourself!

Be yourself:

you are crazy and stupid, be that! You are smart and sophisticated, be that! You are calm and composed, be that! Be the best version of yourself! I know it is very clichéd sentence but it makes much more sense when you think about it as a lifestyle! There is only one you available! Don’t try and fulfil someone else’s idea of perfect. No matter how hard you try you will never be one and always fall short of something because you are not that! It will only bring down your confidence! Quite the opposite of what you want! Plus you will never feel confident wearing someone else’s skin! Be your idea of perfect! You won’t even have to try that hard to fulfil that idea! And also, you won’t have to be conscious all the time of the things that you are doing! Be yourself! Be at ease! And just imagine the confidence boost that it will give you!

Write down all your traits, good and bad:

we all have something good and bad in ourselves. No one is perfect but writing them down will help us in recognizing them. Writing down good things in us will help us feel confident in ourselves! Help us recognize our worth! And writing down the bad things will help us change those things in us for good! You just need to recognize them and accept them and make a conscious effort towards changing them. The new found confidence will help you realizing the talents in yourself that you have never thought you had or you had long forgotten.

Just let loose and have fun:

you will only get one life to live, and if you do it right then one is enough!’ we have all heard this but never really gave much thought to it! Well now will be a good time to do that! Now since you are doing all that you can to change your image, and then why not just have fun while doing that! Go all crazy and do whatever you have always wanted to do! Tick off all the things from your bucket list! This will in still a never seen before confidence in you. And that is exactly the kind of thing you want. Exactly the kind of image you want to portray about yourself! That you are a confident person who is not fearful of doing the things that they love! They are ready to take risks!

These steps might seem trivial and might seem like something that don’t need much hard work, but when you get down to doing them, they are quite some work, trust me! But all you need to do is be persistent in what you are doing! The results might be slow but they will definitely show! Come on, you can do this for yourself! You should do this for yourself!

How the ‘Frog-Pond Effect’ Distorts Your Self-Image

F or a 2012 study in PLOS One, researchers invited a young woman into a laboratory at Ohio University.

The woman learned that she would be taking part in an “aesthetic judgment” experiment. The researchers took a photograph of her face and then asked her to sit at a table that held two objects: a computer monitor and a mirror.

On the monitor, the woman viewed a series of headshots of what the study termed “attractive professional models” — all of them women. Following this barrage of beautiful faces, the woman’s own photograph appeared on the screen. But it wasn’t just a single photo the woman saw 13 pictures of herself scattered across the monitor. Looking closely, she could see that each version of her face was different from all the others.

Using a specially designed photo-editing program, the researchers had taken the woman’s photograph and created “morphs” — copies manipulated to make the woman appear either more or less attractive. Along with her original headshot, the woman was now looking at eight photographs that airbrushed and otherwise enhanced her appearance — dramatically, in some cases — and four photographs that marred her looks.

With the mirror to guide her, the woman was instructed to pick out her true image from the false ones. Even though the complimentary headshots outnumbered the adulterated ones by a two-to-one margin, the woman selected one of the unflattering photographs as the most authentic representation of what she saw in the mirror.

The researchers repeated versions of this experiment with roughly 70 other men and women. Over and over again, the people who looked at lineups of beautiful faces tended to select self-portraits that had been manipulated to look less attractive.

On the other hand, when the researchers flipped the script and showed people unattractive faces, those people tended to view their own faces more favorably.

S ince the inception of social-comparison theory in the early 1950s, psychologists and sociologists have piled up evidence that human beings form opinions of themselves — their looks, aptitude, intelligence, and achievement — based in large part on the qualities they see in the people with whom they identify and associate. When those comparisons lead to inaccurate self-representations or appraisals, this distortion is sometimes referred to as the “frog-pond effect.”

The phrase stems from a 1966 paper that found college students at elite universities who had low GPAs tended to view their own academic abilities less favorably than students at lower-tier colleges who had good GPAs. “It is better to be a big frog in a small pond than a small frog in a big pond,” the author of that paper wrote.

The “frog-pond effect” continues to show up in research today.

“We use the term ‘frog-pond effect’ as shorthand for this tendency of people with a high rank in a low-rank group to evaluate themselves more favorably than people with a low rank in a high-rank group,” says Ethan Zell, PhD, author of the PLOS One study and an associate professor of psychology at the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.

“These effects are magnified when we’re comparing ourselves to people we view as peers.”

In other words, we look at other people as a frame of reference when we are evaluating ourselves. While “upward” social comparisons can make us feel less attractive, less capable, or otherwise inferior, “downward” social comparisons tend to have just the opposite effect. “These effects are magnified when we’re comparing ourselves to people we view as peers, or those in a similar situation to ourselves,” Zell explains.

It’s difficult to overstate the role that social comparison plays in our lives, perhaps especially when we’re young or vulnerable.

Research has found that all of us engage in social comparisons — consciously or unconsciously — dozens and perhaps hundreds of times each day. To one extent or another, these comparisons influence every facet of our well-being and behavior, from our confidence and self-regard, to our willingness to take risks, to the likelihood that we’ll develop anxiety or depression.

Upward social comparison is not inherently harmful. “It can inspire us to take better care of ourselves, or to be ambitious in positive ways,” Zell says. But like anything else, too much of it can cause problems.

Unfortunately, modern life may overwhelm us with comparisons that distort our self-image and so threaten our well-being.

In the context of social media, the “highlight reel” effect describes people’s tendency to put only their best, most-flattering selves online. There’s mounting evidence, especially among young people, that the more time we spend looking at these glamorized depictions of others, the more the frog-pond effect and upward social comparisons do a number on our egos.

“Social media and technology have really expanded the reach of comparisons,” Zell says. Like the young woman in his study whose self-assessment took a hit after she viewed beautiful faces, many of us can’t help but feel inferior when we’re exposed to image after image or post after post of people who seem cooler, more interesting, funnier, prettier, or more stylish than we are.

“When we’re surrounded by people we view as somehow better than us — even if objectively we’re above average — that can be really demoralizing or deflating,” Zell explains.

Social media influencers may be especially damaging to our self-appraisals. We tend to view these people as peers, rather than what they really are — minor celebrities who are often paid handsomely to project a certain image or lifestyle. We may hear about their bad days or insecurities, but the overall message our brain is receiving is “this is a better version of me.”

“Changing our attention from the things we do not have to an appreciation of thing we do have may protect humans from the dangers of social comparisons.”

Before social media, most of our comparisons were based on face-to-face interactions with friends, schoolmates, co-workers, and those who occupied our real-world social spheres. We saw the good and the bad — the features and the flaws — in something closer to equal measure. And this helped properly calibrate our self-assessments.

There’s also evidence that, in offline contexts, we frequently downplay our shiniest attributes. Research has found that being the target of an upward social comparison is unpleasant for us, and so we tend to shift our behavior in an effort to better mesh with our peers. “We can sense when other people feel bad because we’re better off than them and we adjust, but that doesn’t seem to be the case on social media,” Zell explains.

All of this suggests that limiting your exposure to online sources of upward social comparison may pay all sorts of dividends. In the infinitely large pond that is the internet, almost all of us are going to end up feeling like small frogs.

There’s also evidence that gratitude practices are an effective countermeasure against negative self-appraisals.

Research has found that while social comparisons often trigger a sense of deprivation and all the negative feelings that attend it, gratitude has just the opposite effect. “Changing our attention from the things we do not have to an appreciation of thing[s] we do have may protect humans from the dangers of social comparisons,” wrote the authors of a 2019 study in Frontiers in Psychology.

Two gratitude practices seem to be especially helpful.

First, write down in a journal what you’re thankful for. Focus on people and positive social interactions, rather than personal achievements or possessions. “Reflect back on your day and think of the people you met and interacted with and are grateful for,” counsel the authors of a 2017 study in the Journal of Clinical Psychology. Doing this three times a week was associated with measurable improvements in well-being and positive affect, that study found.

Second, take time to tell the people in your life why you’re grateful for them.

“Expressing gratitude is really, really important because it helps us to overcome self-serving bias,” says Robert Emmons, PhD, a professor of psychology at the University of California, Davis, and a leader in the field of gratitude research. “Grateful people are absorbed by the good that others are doing for them, and they don’t keep silent about it.”

We can’t switch off our social-comparison tendencies. But with a little effort, we can recalibrate them.

The Impact on Employee Performance

Anne Ward, a doctoral candidate in NCU's PhD in Business Administration with a specialization in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, asserts that the ties between self-image and performance are more important to your organization than you might think. "Employee performance is important to improving bottom line revenue," she explains. "Someone with high self-esteem will be satisfied with work performance and be more productive."

Leaders within your organization may understand the importance behind this link, but in an environment that proves difficult to manage your own self-esteem on a daily basis, how can leaders help their team members struggling to overcome hurdles?

Ward emphasizes that leaders should remember to be sensitive to the fact that there are a variety of factors both inside and outside of work that may be affecting self-image in the workplace. "[Remember], low self-esteem can harm the unit or organization, as these team members do not respond well to stressors, which makes them feel even worse," she explains.

"When you have a team member that has low self-esteem, find an area where they have high self-esteem and try to emphasize that area to help them be successful at work," suggests Ward. "Increase their self-esteem through [providing opportunity for] real accomplishments and positive feedback." This exercise may include opportunities both inside and outside of work.

Tips on Improving Self-Image

Looking for ways to improve your own self-image or ideas on how to help impact employee performance? Henrik Edberg provides these tips (and more) in his blog, How to Improve Your Self-Esteem: 12 Powerful Tips:

  • Say stop to your inner critic.
  • Use healthier motivation habits.
  • Write down three things that you can appreciate about yourself.
  • Stop falling into the comparison trap.
  • Spend more time with supportive people (and less time with destructive people).

Visit the Positivity Blog for more tips and details on how each of these can help you and your team members make positive change in your personal and professional life. Ultimately, a positive self-image contributes to your level of contentment both inside and outside the workplace. Remembering to take each workplace or life challenge in stride can help you achieve a work-life balance that promotes happiness as well as productivity.

21 Self-Image Examples and Activities to Use the Theory Today

Our self-image is all about how we see ourselves. It gives us a sense of our personality and helps gives us clarity and understanding about our life.

Our self-image is also about how we perceive ourselves in terms of our life. Self-image also determines what kind of person we think we are and what we believe others think about us.

It really boils down to how much we believe in ourselves and in our self-worth. If you hesitate to do things because of what others might think or have thoughts about yourself that you continually want to change, you may have issues when it comes to a healthy self-image.

In this article, we will review what self-image theory is, some examples of it, as well as ideas to improve your self-image.

Self Image Formation

Let's consider for a moment how a person's self image is formed.

When we are born, we are totally helpless. All our needs have to be taken care of by someone else. And we soon learn that by raising our voice and making a bit of noise (in a normal household), our needs are attended to.

Self Image

As time goes by, we find that this is no longer enough. We have to wait for our wishes to be granted. We are surrounded by these mighty giants who, in comparison to ourselves, are all powerful.

An accurate image of ourselves at this time would be, I guess, small, powerless and dependant on other people of outstanding power and influence. And that is what we learn.

Pretty soon we get a lot of things under our belt. We learn an element of self-care, how to use the toilet, how to get food into our own mouths, but this never quite seems enough to keep the giants happy. They always seem to want us to learn more.

Before we know it, we're in school. We learn and achieve even more. We even master a few elementary social skills. After a while, and with practice, we gain more and more control over our lives.

Then, as we move up through the school system, we encounter older kids. More capable kids. In comparison we are somewhat clumsy, unaccomplished, and in many ways inferior. Quite an accurate assessment. So that is what we learn. Another blow to our self image.

Eventually we become better at things, and become one of the bigger kids ourselves. Our self image at this stage may even begin to improve a little - then disaster - puberty.

Just as we're getting it all together we hit our teenage years. Hormones on the rampage, maybe spots on the face. Feelings of awkwardness and embarrassment as strange, powerful, unexplained feelings sweep through us. Our bodies, ever dependable before this, start to change in ways we may not even understand.

We want to be treated as adults because childish things no longer interest us, but compared to the adults, what are we?

Inadequate, clumsy, socially inept. And certainly not in control of our lives no matter how much we'd like to be. The final nail in the coffin of our self image.

Then, we grow up. Suddenly we are one of those mighty giants. But it doesn't feel like it does it? Most of us move through adulthood with a self image formed of a series of restrictive beliefs about ourselves which were generally accurate at the time they were formed, but which now form a core of inadequacy inside us.

And this can have a significant effect on how we deal with the circumstances of life.

Remember that family I mentioned? The eldest, brought up with a heightened sense of danger, rarely takes risks as an adult. He's unlikely to be killed crossing the street. But then, all progress in life involves some risk. And his self image has been built in such a way that any sense of risk unconsciously sets off all the alarms and leads to paralysing indecision.

In contrast, the youngest takes these risks because he is confident he is special and whatever the outcome in this particular gamble, he sees himself as clever enough to come out ahead in the long run.


  1. Kurihi

    The amusing moment

  2. Cecilio

    Yes, really. So happens. We can communicate on this theme. Here or in PM.

  3. Eilig

    Well done, you were visited by the simply magnificent idea

  4. Fabien

    In my opinion, you are making a mistake. I can defend my position.

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