Self-image refers to how we see ourselves on a more global level, both internally and externally. What you see when you look in the mirror and how you picture yourself in your head is your self-image.
Although there is no widely agreed-upon framework for the aspects of self-image, there are some proposed types and dimensions.
The three elements of a person’s self-image are:
- The way a person perceives or thinks of him/herself.
- The way a person interprets others’ perceptions of him/herself.
- The way a person would like to be (his ideal self).
The six dimensions of a person’s self-image are:
- Physical dimension: how a person evaluates his or her appearance
- Psychological dimension: how a person evaluates his or her personality
- Intellectual dimension: how a person evaluates his or her intelligence
- Skills dimension: how a person evaluates his or her social and technical skills
- Moral dimension: how a person evaluates his or her values and principles
- Sexual dimension: how a person feels he or she fits into society’s masculine/feminine norms (Oltmann, 2014)
These elements and dimensions offer a framework through which to view self-image. But remember that this is not a known and widely accepted framework; rather, it is one possible way of thinking about self-image.
Positive vs. negative self-image:
A positive self-image is having a good view of yourself, for example:
- Seeing yourself as an attractive and desirable person.
- Having an image of yourself as a smart and intelligent person.
- Seeing a happy, healthy person when you look in the mirror.
On the other hand, a negative self-image looks like this:
- Seeing yourself as unattractive and undesirable.
- Having an image of yourself as a stupid or unintelligent person.
- Believing that you are nowhere near your ideal version of yourself.
How to make a positive self-image
We’re all going to be challenged, both personally and professionally. You may even find yourself in compromising positions that make you question your values or second-guess who you are. That’s when having a positive self-image matters most. It’s what helps us avoid getting crushed by rejection and motivates us to keep pushing for our dreams.
As with most changes in the way we think and feel, there is no quick fix to improving self-image; however, there are things you can do. Try the tips below to give yourself a boost in your self-image.
1. Write 10 things you love about yourself
This can be harder than it seems, but actively seeking out the positive in yourself will make it much easier to see yourself in a positive light.
If you reach 10 and have more to list, keep writing them down!
2. List 10 skills you possess
Building a better self-image isn’t just about loving ourselves though, it’s about building ourselves up in each of the self-image dimensions. This exercise can help you boost your self-imagine based on the skills you have.
3. Write 5 achievements of which you are proud
These achievements can be big things or smaller things. The achievement itself doesn’t matter as much as the key point of the exercise—reminding yourself of what you are capable of and challenging yourself to rise to the occasion the next time you run into an obstacle.
4. Just compare yourself with yourself
The point that you must keep in mind is that the only factor that you should compare yourself to is your last version, not anyone else.
If you want to lose weight and need a positive self-image as a motivation, compare yourself in the moment version with yourself that was in shape.
You can use the Habitomic application to record your progress and you can compare your achievements.
5. Be present
People with a positive self-image are present and at the moment. They don’t focus on regrets, nor do they spend time longing for a future.
6. Take time to be grateful for what you have
Practicing gratitude can immediately lighten your mood and improve your outlook on life. Daily practice can have lasting effects on your self-image.
To sum up, having a positive self-image is the foundation for being truly happy in life. But a positive self-image goes far beyond what you see in the mirror every day. It’s having a positive view of your entire self, from your thoughts and feelings to actions and capabilities.
Try these tips to change your self-image and transform it into a more positive one.