If you have ever seen the movie 'The Matrix', then you will be familiar with the expression "residual self image". It is basically the image of ourselves that each of us holds in our heads, and it is such a familiar image to us that trying to envision ourselves in any other way is downright difficult, if not impossible.
And therein lies the problem! Unless the residual self image that you have of yourself is exactly who you WANT to be, then changing that self image is the task that is now before you.
The term "self image" conjures up exactly that - an image. However, whenever we think of ourselves, it is not just our actual appearance that comes to mind. Other factors that are part of that image are things such as our health, our wealth, our state of mind or level of happiness, our relationships, our careers, our hopes and dreams for the future, etc.
All of these concepts make up our total "persona"- the sum of our past, present, and future selves. In addition, there is the persona that you perceive yourself to have, as well as the persona that other people consider you to have.
Would it come as a surprise to you that as human beings we frequently "imprint" our personas onto other people by way of our own residual self image? If we think of ourselves as successful, attractive, happy, and confident, then most people will also perceive us in a similar way. However, if we think of ourselves as desperate, unworthy, or without solid plans for future success, then that impression will also come across to others.
All of us have met people who instantly affected us in either a positive or a negative manner, even if we didn't really know the person that well. That first impression is the power of their self-projected persona imprinting itself upon us. In the case of powerful, happy, or confident people, this exchange of vibrations is usually a good thing. On the flip side, if the person exudes sadness or "dark" feelings, then we normally don't want to be around them.
Take a moment to think about the image that YOU are projecting to other people. Do others consider you to be fun, confident, and ready to take charge of life, or do people see you as meek, quiet, and vulnerable?
Now, don't get the wrong impression. You do not need to be loud and boisterous in order to be perceived in a positive manner. Think of some of the people in your own life who have been a positive influence on you. Were they loud and obnoxious, or were they simply confident and helpful?
Now, if the residual self image that you have of yourself is not what you want it to be, you have the power in your grasp at this very moment to change that self image, as well as the persona that you imprint upon others.
For the purpose of this exercise, we will only focus on negative aspects of your self image, since the assumption is that you want to keep the parts of your persona that you consider positive, or parts of your strength.
In order to start cleaning up the negative aspects of your self image, you must first determine which parts of your self image that you would like to change. Do you have a negative self image because you feel that you are overweight? Do you think that you don't make very much money, so you don't have as much value to add to the lives of others? Do you consider yourself to be of sub-standard intelligence or lacking in worldly experience?
Those are just a few examples of possible negative thoughts that you can have about yourself, and you should take a few minutes to take inventory of your own self image so that you can decide what you would like to improve. In order to change your residual self image, you must change whatever it is that YOU believe will improve your situation, not what others believe!
To use the examples listed above of weight loss, wealth, or intelligence/experience, the obvious answers would seem to be that you need to lose weight, get more money, or gain more intelligence and experience. The question that you have to ask yourself is if YOU believe that by making those changes that your self image will change. If so, then you are 100% right. Our perception is literally our reality - both figuratively and scientifically.
So, if you believe that the "status quo" solutions to cleaning up your self image are what you need to do, then you are correct, because it is what you believe. However, if you personally think that your value in the world is determined by things other than what the mass majority thinks, then you are also right!
The moral of the story is that in order to Perfect Your Persona, you need to do the things that you personally believe will make you into the person that you want to be. Those actions may or may not be in line with what everyone else thinks. However, by determining your own beliefs, then you will empower yourself to take action and to make your residual self image - as well as the persona that you imprint upon others - exactly what YOU want it to be.
Give no consideration whatsoever to what everyone else wants or thinks that you need. You are the only person in charge of your life, regardless of how life in general will try to teach you otherwise!