In last month’s post, Low Self-Esteem Could Impact Your Personal Brand, I wrote about how a lack of self-love can derail careers and hold people back from achieving their goals. This month, I want to take a look at a related issue that can make or break the development of a stellar personal brand: self-image.
What Is Self-Image?
Self-image is an extension of the beliefs you hold around your abilities, personality traits, and physical appearance. When you look at yourself in the mirror, what do you think about the person looking back at you? Are you happy with what you see or do you focus on what you don’t like and assume that other people do the same when interacting with you?
Whatever you believe about yourself, those ideas didn’t come from out of thin air: you picked them up from your family, friends, siblings, and the culture at large. As children, we internalize the messages we get from others until they become hard-and-fast beliefs. When the messaging is positive, we develop a healthy self-image. When the people around you nitpick and criticize, your self-image takes the hit.
Common Signs of Poor Self-Image
I have an exceptionally tall client. She believes that her male colleagues don’t like her because she towers over them and that the women in her office judge her because her “big feet look ludicrous” in the stylish stilettos they’re able to wear effortlessly. “They don’t take me seriously,” she said. “They don’t think I’m worthy of being in their company.”
My client is projecting her beliefs about herself onto her co-workers, which is one of many ways that poor self-image manifests for people. When you don’t like the way you see yourself, you may:
- Constantly look in the mirror or avoid mirrors altogether.
- Obsessively primp, apply and reapply makeup or wear too much of it.
- Over-exercise if you believe you’re overweight.
- Change clothes all of the time because you don’t feel good in anything or hide behind baggy clothing.
- Compare your body, face, or clothes to other people.
- Take steps to “fix” the problem surgically.
- Begin to pick on others who have the same “faults” you ascribe to yourself.
Seven Ways to Conquer Poor Self-Image
It can be challenging to shift the deeply ingrained beliefs that we have about ourselves. However, it is possible if you use the following practices:
- Write out positive phrases: “I’m beautiful, I am successful, I’m unique”, for example. Put these statements where you can see them and reflect on them each day.
- Pay compliments: This is especially important when dealing with someone who criticizes you. Paying them a compliment will wake them up and help them to see you as a person.
- Step into your authenticity: Take time to discover who “you” really are, and then embrace that person whole-heartedly.
- Surround yourself with positive people: Fill your community with people who lift you up, pay you compliments, and feel good about themselves.
- Meditate: Take time each day to check in with yourself, do some deep breathing, and connect with the version of yourself you want to see.
- Read books: There are so many beautiful books about how to improve your self-image. Read them, make notes, put their suggestions into action.
- Take action: If there’s something you don’t like about yourself and it weighs on you every day, take steps to change it. If this means surgery, then that’s your choice. It’s no one else’s business.
Don’t Let Poor Self-Image Be Your Calling Card
Remember, self-image is the projection of how we perceive ourselves. While you may have developed your poor self-image as a result of early childhood experiences, as an adult, you have the power to alter your thoughts and move in a new direction.
Ask yourself, “What can I do to be happy with who I am today?” If you need help answering that question, contact me. Together, we will find a way to create a personal brand that reflects your healthy self-image.