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Self image and self esteem are very closely connected. Self image is important as it affects your self esteem and confidence. In this article we will look at the relationship between self image and self esteem and discuss how you can develop a more positive self image to help yourself move forward with more confidence.
You may be confused between the terms self image and self esteem. I have much experience writing about the topic of self esteem, (including one published book Self Esteem Secrets), and many articles. On this page I will clear up any confusion you may have in your understanding of self image and self esteem.
The difference between your self image and your self esteem is that self image is how you “see” yourself. The picture you have of how you look and how you behave. It includes how you believe others see you. Self esteem is how you value yourself and is more about the kind of person you think you are.
Let’s look at this in more detail and I know that your understanding will guide you towards improving your self image. It should be obvious that both self image and self esteem are based on your judgment and opinion and are not reality. Others may see you very differently compared to how you believe you look and act.
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What Does Self Image Include?
Self image includes:
- 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.
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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!
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What can you do to Improve your Self Image?
- List things you like about yourself – include appearance, personality and skills
- Change negative thoughts to positive ones by focusing on the things you are grateful for right now
- Note down kind things people say to you and the compliments they give you
- Try the natural and powerful technique of self-hypnosis: Building your self esteem – hypnosis download
- Question your own understanding of who you are. How real is it?
- Make positive changes that will help you with your confidence; for example, your clothes, hair style and behaviour
- Honestly accept things about yourself that are true and learn to think about them in a positive way
- Get exercise – you will look and feel better! Your health and energy levels will also improve!
- Take yourself less seriously and lighten up!
- Accept criticism constructively so you can move forward and improve yourself
- Break free of your own limitations, they don’t have to control you or keep you down. Act more confidently and change how others respond towards you. Change your attitude towards yourself and your potential
- Step out of your comfort zone, take on challenges and surprise yourself!
- The most successful people in the world read inspiring books often – here’s a selection of my favourite self esteem-building books available on Amazon, most I have read several times and others I dip into from time to time as a constant source of help. Start reading today!
Remember, you are only limited by your efforts and confidence! Believe in yourself!
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One of he most effective methods for overcoming problems such as low self esteem, anxiety or depression is usually a combination of therapy and medication. According to this article in World Psychiatry (2014), a treatment for these problems including both therapy and medication is more effective than medication alone. Also, the American Psychological Association states that of the two treatments, psychotherapy is more effective than medication. It also confirms, though, that both treatments combined can work for many people.
Are there things in your mind you just can’t seem to sort out no matter how you try? Everybody needs help sometimes, whether you are just in need of direction or help with an emotional problem. Maybe counseling might help?
Final Words about Self Image
So there we have it. We’ve looked at the differences between self image and self esteem and hopefully you have also learned how to start improving your self image so that you can build your self esteem and self confidence.
I hope this page has helped you and you can now move forward on your journey of self discovery. I hope you will begin to understand that you are a unique individual, with unique talents and strengths. To see yourself in a positive light and to value and respect yourself as a person is the most important step towards self improvement.
Please share this page on social media and with others if you have found it helpful. I’ve enjoyed having you here.
- Wrenn, C. (1980). The Importance of Believing in Yourself or Building a More Positive Self-Image. The School Counselor, 27(3), 159-167. Retrieved May 23, 2020, from www.jstor.org/stable/23900136
- Kenealy, P., Gleeson, K., Frude, N., & Shaw, W. (1991). The importance of the individual in the ‘causal’relationship between attractiveness and self‐esteem. Journal of Community & Applied Social Psychology, 1(1), 45-56.
- Cuijpers, P., Sijbrandij, M., Koole, S. L., Andersson, G., Beekman, A. T., & Reynolds, C. F., 3rd (2014). Adding psychotherapy to antidepressant medication in depression and anxiety disorders: a meta-analysis. World psychiatry : official journal of the World Psychiatric Association (WPA), 13(1), 56–67. https://doi.org/10.1002/wps.20089
Website Author and Editor Bio
Karl Perera is a fully qualified Life Coach (DipLC), Teacher (MA) and author of Self Esteem Secrets. He has taught at various universities including Durham, Leicester and Anglia Ruskin, Cambridge. He has run More-SelfEsteem.com since 1997 and is an expert in Self Esteem and Self Confidence.