Working On Your Self-Image

Self-Image is the package you have assigned yourself.It is built on your life experience-How you have interpreted what others said. How they treat you,what you told yourself.

Your self-image may or may not be accurate,yet it forms your personal beliefs. A belief is anything we hold to be true. Most of our beliefs are formed in childhood,when our life experiences and knowledge is limited. During that time we looked up to significant people-parents,teachers,and others in authority and mostly believed what they told us. Over the years,these beliefs formed our attitudes and created our life experiences. Some of our beliefs go deep,to our core,while others lie just below the surface. Some labels-you ‘re a loser! may be surface deep in one person and cut to the core in another. If the second person has low self-esteem,he could clearly interpret this statement as ,” I’m not worthy.”

A self-image of negative core beliefs can become increasingly negative as you grow older,unless you challenge and change them.

Care about what others think and you would always be their prisoner

Lao Tzu

As an adult,you have the beliefs about everything including your intelligence,competence,image and lovability. Unfortunately much of what you believe is false. To help you better understand, consider this analogy. Have you ever worn someone else’s prescription lenses? When you look through them ,everything is distorted,badly out of focus.The same is true when you adopt false beliefs. It’s like you are wearing someone else’s glasses-they distort the true image of you and your life.

Whose perceptions are you wearing?False beliefs limit you. They become the glasses through which you see your world.You don’t see things as they are,you see things as you are. The glasses acts as a filter screening out anything that does not match your beliefs.

We don’t see people as they are,we see them as we are.

Anaïs Nin

Cindy says, “I would like to meet someone nice,” but her belief says, “Men can’t be trusted.” When she goes out to the world,she attracts men who can’t be trusted. Her glasses let her see only what she believes. Oneday,if a great trustworthy guy shows up,she won’t even notice him. The glasses of her beleifs will only filter him out and Cindy will carry on looking for Mr Right in all wrong places. Beliefs create your experiences. They must be constantly examined and challenged.

Sometimes,if you experience a dysfunctional, critical environment, your self-esteem is more likely to be eroded by harsh words and putdowns. Becoming aware of the critical voice gives us a chance to change and stop the old destructive programming that can limit us. When we are aware of this negative voice,we can learn to talk back to it. Practice replacing the critical words with a positive phrase,or use your own affirming statement. “I am incredible! I am more than enough!”

To fall in love with your self is the first secret to hapiness.

Robert Morley

Establishing good communication When Setting Boundaries

Whether at work or at home,good communication is important when you are setting healthy boundaries with others.This technique will assist you in being clear when expressing what you want.

When… (describe the behavior)

I feel…(describe your feelings)

I want…( state what you want)

For example,

  1. When you come home from work you disappear into your office downstairs.

I feel ignored and unloved.

I want you to ask me about my day.

2. When I have an urgent deadline

I feel pressured

I want you to become more sensitive about this by not adding more to my already full workload.

Note: If you are expecting total cooperation when you first set up a new boundary,think again. You may be setting yourself up for a major disappointment. Let’s face it,we know it takes time for people to adjust to a new situation. Some people are really ticked off when their brand new boundary is ignored,but unless the situation is absolutely intolerable,consider giving the other person a little wriggle room. Old habits die hard when it comes to adults. And teenager,some have selected hearing. Often they don’t remember what you said yesterday.

Boundaries are to protect lives not to limit pleasures.

Edwin Louis Cole

Obtaining agreement for a new boundary is a form of negotiation. To maintain healthy integral relationships,adults need to regularly negotiate boundaries between themselves. Focus on making it a win-win.One thing you don’t want to do is isolate your family and friends by being too rigid. Like the willow tree,you need to be flexible. Getting everything you want some of the time may be sufficient. Check your position by asking these two questions:

  • How important is this?
  • How far do I want to take it?

Curfew Consequences

Consequences are often the only way we can get cooperation and have our needs met. My nephew was late again. Infact ,it was well past his curfew. Being a typical aunt,I was sleeping with one ear open,listening for his safe return. By the time he noisily entered the house in wee hours,I was tired and angry. ” You are grounded for a month!” I yelled.

Be careful what you set up. That consequence didn’t affect him nearly as much as it affected me. Having a crancky,moody,teenager in my space for thirty-one long days was nearly unbearable.

When you set consequences,make sure that you are willing to enforce them. Be certain the impact on the other peeson is greater than on you. Don’t threaten to leave a relationship if you’re not ready to do so. Don’t say you ‘ll quit your job if that isn’t your intention. Making hollow threats can backfire on you later. Think through your consequences first,don’t make them in the heat of the moment. Consequences often take creativity. Remember,your goal is to change the behavior. If you aren’t prepared to follow through,the other person will not be motivated to change. The secret is in the follow through.

When people set boundaries with you,it’s their attempt to continue the relationship with you not an attempt to hurt you.

Elizabeth Earnshaw
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