Research Paper By Eric Ludeke
(Transformational Coach, UNITED STATES OF AMERICA)
It has been said that perception is reality. In no way is this truer than in the way you perceive yourself. The underlying beliefs you hold about your appearance, your health, your learning ability, your memory, your destiny and even your value as a person will determine the way you behave, the level of your performance, your expectations of how people will treat you, and the results you will experience in virtually every aspect of your life. You may desire a certain outcome with all your heart, but until you believe that a thing is possible, your disbelief itself will tend to stand in the way of its achievement.
Two major aspects of the self image are self-esteem and self-efficacy. Self-esteem is all about your sense of your own value as an individual; your worthiness to be loved, respected, and accepted, whether you do in fact like and approve of yourself. Self-efficacy, on the other hand, refers to your level of confidence in your own ability to achieve some goal, complete a task, or succeed in life in general.
Though related, these two factors are largely independent. One person may like and respect herself, yet have a low level of expectation in her ability to succeed in a new venture. Another will have a great deal of confidence in his abilities, but deep in his heart does not feel worthy of love.
A person with a poor self image may develop a habit of speaking negatively about himself in an effort to elicit affirmation from others. He fears both success and failure, because either will expose his perceived inadequacy. He cannot accept correction or criticism from any source and is therefore unable to learn from it. He cannot love freely because he does not trust or believe that others love him. This individual can only benefit by increasing his confidence level, self respect and level of expectation.
An individual who expects to win in life, who feels worthy of the fruits of his labor, and is free of guilt and feelings of condemnation is likely to be a happier and more successful person than one who does not. He is able to take a stand not because he thinks he is always right, but because he is unafraid of making a mistake. If he does make a mistake, he freely admits it, repairs the damage and moves on. He isn’t afraid of looking foolish, of trying new things, or asking for help. He avoids the spotlight so that it shines on others, listens more than he speaks, and seeks approval only from those who are truly important to him. He loves with passion, fights with abandon, and worships with gratitude.
Many people have confused this concept with egotism, or with entitlement, and as such have rejected it as selfish, greedy or vain. The truth is that although a person with a healthy self image may be greedy or self-centered at times, he does not feel the need for others to constantly validate him, thus is more likely to find his value in life by helping others in some way. Egotism, on the other hand, is typically a front for a poor self-image.
You may have heard the cliché: ‘Be the best you.’ It was good advice. If you’re trying to be someone else, you will always be the second best. Too many people are trying to be what Aunt Shirley or Coach Bob or Cosmopolitan Magazine expects them to be. If you’re a duck, be a duck! You can be awesome as a duck. Don’t try to be an eagle.
When you feel glad and good about yourself, you can give it to others. If you know that humans are made in the image of God, everyone gets treated as such. For example, learn to accept a complement and say thank you. Then give a sincere complement in return. By doing this, you lift up both yourself and the other person. What most people do is to reject the complement (“What-this old thing? I got it on sale ten years ago!”) This puts yourself down and at the same time insults the other person.
The difference between conceit and confidence lies in one word: humility. People often put themselves down in an effort to appear humble, but true humility comes from recognizing the value of others.
Do the right thing. A good conscience creates a good self-image.
Before others will put their trust in you, you must learn to trust yourself. Make promises to yourself, and keep them. Start with something small, such as what time you will get up in the morning. Yes, I’m talking about the snooze button! Decide the night before, then keep your promise to yourself. Once you know that your word is good, it will be time to give it to another person. Then you must be fanatical about keeping your promise.
If you have destroyed the trust of another person, you cannot force him or her to trust you. What you can do is:
- Tell them (without making excuses) how you were wrong.
- Tell them how important they are to you; that you want to rebuild their trust in you.
- Ask them to watch your life.
Now it’s up to you to change your ways. You may one day earn the person’s trust; or you may deserve it but not receive it. It’s worth doing, though, because even if he or she refuses to admit that you have changed, you will know it yourself.
Your self-image and your daily habits are closely intertwined. It’s hard to change one without affecting the other, so you must work on both of them.
There are things you believe about yourself that are not true. Other people have said them to you, and you have come to believe them. Perhaps you have even spoken them yourself. In so doing, you may have imprinted these beliefs so deeply on your mind that you have caused them to become reality.
The first step in personal transformation is to change the words you speak. This will allow you to begin to think differently, which in turn will cause you to act differently. In changing the way you talk, it’s very important that you don’t try to fake yourself out (you know when you’re lying to yourself, and it does no good). Say, for instance that you believe that you are stupid. The first thing to do is to stop saying that you’re stupid. Instead, say something about yourself that you know to be true, perhaps that you have a good memory. If you have been telling the world that you’re bad with names, start saying instead (to yourself) that you know 75 names (count them; it’s probably more) and that you’re going to work very hard to learn another one right now (cheating is permitted on this one).
You may not feel good about yourself right now, but regardless of how bad you think you are, you deserve to be your own best friend. Join your own team!
Carl Marx was dead wrong when he wrote about the value of goods being set by the cost to produce them. The value of any item is ultimately determined only by what someone is willing to pay for it. If somebody is willing to part with thousands of dollars in exchange for Elvis’s toothbrush, then that is its value (you may object to that, but would you throw it in the landfill with other toothbrushes?).
When you find yourself doubting your own value, remember that someone was willing to pay the ultimate price for you.
For God so loved the world (that’s you) that he gave his one and only son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. John 3:16
Think about it.