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The Self-image is built up from remembered images

The Self-image is built up from the remembered images one has of oneself plus the inner images one has consciously or subconsciously made up for one's future ("future memories" - these are stored in one's memory as well.)

The awareness about oneself, that one experiences here and now, is an "me-experience". One is aware of the fact that one thinks, feels and receives sensory input. Persons that have become victims of total amnesia, for example after an accident, have in most cases still a "me-experience", but they lack self-image: "what has happened ... and who am I?", which indicates that self-image is intimately connected to the memory function of the brain. In a case like this, one does not know who one is, neither does one know which personal traits one has, what one likes or dislikes.

If one has placed the positive memory images in "the foreground", this makes up a positive self-image, and in the future one "sees" oneself handle situations, succeeding, getting what one wants, etc.

If one on the other hand subconsciously has placed the negative memory images (including the future-memories) in the foreground, this makes up a negative self-image. If one on top of this suffers from poor self-esteem and poor self-assurance one may even have suppressed positive memories of oneself, as these do not match what one feels about oneself.

The Self-image is not a result of what one is, it is something one does

As the self-image is a subjective filtering of all the memories one has of oneself, the self-image is not a function of who one really is. It is the result of something one does - one "filters" the images, and one lets only those come forward that correspond with the self-esteem and the self-assurance one experiences. Självbild

If one does not filter at all, one probably has a reasonably realistic self-image, where one sees oneself in an objective way, and where one sees and accepts both strengths and weaknesses.

But many perform a "selective filtering", where one only "sees" the negative images, and through this inner process one makes up a negative self-image, which one over time reinforces by suppressing positive experiences like acknowledgement from others, which one instead interprets as that they feel pity for oneself or that they are just trying to be kind.

Unrealistically positive filtering is more rare, but can be observed in persons suffering from personality disorders of the type narcissism, mythomania and sociopathology.

You have a negative self-image if

  • You focus on your shortcomings and your negative traits and you remember the negative things you have done more than the positive.

  • You don’t think you can contribute with anything of any worth.

  • You take criticism personally and you feel bad, as criticism always reminds you of your earlier mistakes.

  • You see yourself as one that does not deserve respect,
    and you loathe seeing yourself in a mirror.

The self-image is possible to change

Through coaching and/or therapy one in most cases works with one's self-esteem and one self-awareness. By learning new ways of acting one increases one's self-assurance and changes one's self-beliefs. One becomes aware of what one values the most, and one learns to respect one's basic needs.

All this naturally changes the self-image in a positive direction, and this change is often sufficient.

But, sometimes a negative self-image can be the result of deep conditioning during a long period of time, and in these cases we work with methods that more specifically influence the self-image itself.

Examples of tools, methods and exercises aimed at improving the self-image
(in alphabetical order):

  • Coaching on the level Sponsoring.

  • Elementity is a model for describing the basic personality. The course about Elementity includes group exercises where you will understand how others see you, and where you are invited to explore whether this corresponds with your self-image or not.

  • Life Track Therapy. This is based on the fact that we organize our inner images, both memories and images of our future, by placing them in our inner visual space along a line, in chronological order. This "Life Track" is different for each individual, but it has certain general properties shared by all. By different visualization exercises the Life Track can be altered, and this leads to changes in the self-image, in how one is influenced by one's memories, and it changes how one looks upon one's future.

    A specific exercise in Life Track Therapy is Repair the Past, where one in a visualization changes one's experience of negative things that have happened and where one changes how one sees one's younger self, or even how one sees one's Inner Child.

  • Stutterers often have a very negative self-image, and the treatment program and the e-course include work with the self-image.

  • Subpersonalities are connected to the self-image. In most cases, one identifies oneself strongly with a small number of one's subpersonalities, and the self-image is the result of this identification process. By discovering, accepting and developing other parts of one's personality one can change and "broaden" one's self-image.

Further down in this guide, on the level Self-Mission, an e-course will be described, in which there are specific exercises aimed at creating a positive and supporting self-image.


The level SELF-IMAGE

is OK when


  • You focus on your strengths and your positive traits.

  • You regard yourself as one that contributes and
    you often feel valuable.

  • You take criticism in a constructive way,
    as valuable feed-back to learn from.

  • You respect yourself, and when you see yourself in a mirror,
    you feel that you like yourself.

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