Who Do You Believe You Are?
By Dr Jill Ammon-Wexler
If I asked you to describe yourself, what image would you paint? Another way to put this is: Who do you believe you are?
Your self-image is exactly what the term says - an image consisting of the mosaic of ideas you hold about your own self. In short - how you view your capabilities and skills, your body, your mind and your personal potential. While almost everyone agrees that it's important to have a good self-image, very few people seem to know how to acquire one - or even how they got the self-image they now have.
The History of Your Self Image
You began to form your self image and sense of "worth" as a very young child. As you interacted with the important people in your life, you received messages from them about yourself - their responses to your actions. These messages settled into your impressionable subconscious mind. As these messages collect, they seem to take on a life all their own - creating what will become your self image.
Then "belief" moves in, and sets those messages into mental cement. In short - we come to BELIEVE that we actually ARE that subconscious collection of other people's impressions of us. This process has continued even to this day in your life - but largely as a reinforcement of what you already believe about your self.
Wow. Think about that for a moment. The interesting thing about "beliefs" is that they are usually NOT open to question or reason. We just BELIEVE them to be so. So if you BELIEVE that you lack self-confidence, are a poor public speaker, don't know how to lead others, will never be successful, don't have the capability to create a good relationship, and so on - guess what. You will defend that belief even to yourself!
This occurs because the intense emotional component attached to a belief automatically causes our brain to resist any attempt to question it with "reason." And in the meantime your subconscious mind, which has a photographic memory of every event that went into the making of your self-concept beliefs, will make SURE your actions reflect your beliefs.
How to Overhaul Your Self-Image
Your self image determines what you will (and will not) achieve in your life. So if you are not who you want to be, or are not living the life you want to live, the place to start is with an overhaul of your self image. Anything else will just create more of the same.
After over 30 years in the field of psychology, there is one thing I can absolutely guarantee to you. That one this is this: YOU ARE ABSOLUTELY *NOT* WHO YOU THINK YOU ARE! Your self image does not mirror who you really are today.
You are NOT that collection of painful or limiting memories. You are not that kid who was always told to speak only when spoken to. You are not that "clumsy" Girl who fell a lot only because she needed corrective glasses. You are not "stupid" because you had more interest in drawing than reading and math. You are not "a failure" because your first lemonade stand (or MLM business) was a total bust.
You are none of those things. You are *not* your past history. So stop *believing* that old stuff - and stop acting as though it were true. Here's a reminder of what you REALLY are:
1. You are Totally Unique
There is literally no one else like you. No one else thinks like you, has your ideas, or does things the way you do things. No one else has your unique set of talents and abilities. Your brain is as unique as your fingerprints. No one has your mind and memories. No one! You are NOT "ordinary." Actually no one is! Stand up and carry yourself with dignity, because this IS your life. You and only you live in your skin - and it is your unique right to decide how to best do that.
2. Your "Limits" are Not Real
It is today an accepted truth that we really create our own reality. You have a choice to simply REACT to what is happening to and around you - or you can choose to RESPOND. There's a big difference between reacting and responding. Reacting is an automatic knee-jerk response to life - while responding involves a conscious choice.
You can respond to your desire for a better self-image by taking conscious action to replace those old beliefs. Simply begin to challenge those old "beliefs" about yourself. Drag them out of your dark subconscious into the sunlight of conscious examination.
3. You Have Unlimited Personal Power
Here's something else I can guarantee: Most of those old limiting beliefs about you will NOT hold up under conscious examination! And once you begin to challenge this old stuff, you will discover that what you thought were your "limits" do not exist.
The greatest personal power you have is the power to choose your own thoughts. Read that sentence again! The late Earl Nightingale said: "You become what you think." The truth of this is so powerful it is almost overwhelming. You and you alone decide what you will think -- and what you will believe your limits and potentials are. And you and you alone will decide what to do with this awesome power.
The fact is: YOU can recreate your self, and build and strengthen virtually any aspect of your being or area of your life. Just choose to consciously BUILD YOUR OWN BELIEFS and take action! What I like to say is this: Just stand up and roar like a lion!
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