The great psychologist Carl Jung once said, “The things that worry us the most are the things we don’t understand.”
As women, we get confused about all the things we’re supposed to be or have. We don’t always know what self-esteem and self-image look like.
I have been sucked into looking toward Hollywood and the music industry countless times to teach me what these things were.
It’s probably not surprising that I didn’t find my answer.
When I finally understood what a healthy self-image and self-esteem were, I realized I already had the power within myself.
I was able to dedicate my time to things that were important to my personal growth and toss out all the things that weren’t serving me.
Understanding the importance of self-esteem and self-image is crucial for your development.
But are they the same? Not exactly. And knowing the difference has helped me, so I believe it can help you too.
The Difference Between Self-esteem and Self-Image
According to Morris Rosenberg’s article” Society and Adolescent Self-image,” self-image is what you think about yourself and what you tell yourself about what and who you are. But most importantly, it’s affected by how you think others view you.
One of the things people can create out of thin air is self-image. You never quite know the validity of how you think other people see you. This can cause a false self-image that many women find themselves dealing with.
Abraham Maslow, a famous psychologist, defines self-esteem as one of the primary human motivations. Maslow suggests that people need esteem from other people and inner respect to grow and reach their full potential.
Self-esteem describes your overall sense of self-worth or value. It is the ability of a woman to admire and appreciate herself.
Without healthy self-esteem, women feel defeated and depressed, leading to unhealthy life choices. She may land herself into destructive relationships and will fail to live up to her full potential.
The Movie Screen: Self-image
Imagine you are seated in a theater awaiting a movie to begin.
You sit anxiously wondering if the rest of the audience will be moved to tears or laugh at a comedy. Will they feel the beautiful waves of love and compassion or surges of resentment?
You ponder their pleasure because the movie you are about to see is a movie about your life. It is a movie where you are the director, producer, writing, and actor.
What critique will the crowd have? How will they view your film?
This is all you can think about as your eyes bounce nervously from person to person. How you think they are viewing your movie, your life, yourself – that is your self-image.
But what happens when you mistake their reactions? When you mistake how they view you?
Trying to Adjust Your Script
You think that the move goers despised the entire movie. So, you go and try to revise the script. Make the leading character thinner, prettier, more successful just to appease the crowd.
The beauty of being your own production cast for your life is being able to edit your movie accordingly.
The ugly side of this is editing it in accordance with the wrong ideas in mind.
You may build a picture of yourself from all your past experiences and how other people react to you that is false. You might end up writing yourself to be the villain when you are really a hero.
But I need you to know that you power to change this. To make a success story that is heartwarming and will enrich the lives of all who you know. To do this, you must first have a healthy self-image.
Four Steps to Form A Healthy Self-Image
- Forgive others with no strings attached. This isn’t to satisfy them. This is for your own peace of mind.
- See yourself through kind eyes. Forget all the silly and embarrassing things you’ve done. They only built your character.
- Choose confidence every time. Start your day with faith that it’ll be a great day. See yourself at your best every single day.
- Just like track runners focus on their own lanes, you need to do the same. Don’t worry about what others are saying and doing. And don’t feel guilty for having more success than your mates.
The Mirror: Self-esteem
Self-esteem is determined by how we view ourselves.
Who do you see when you look in the mirror? How do you feel about the woman looking back at you?
Self-esteem is just as crucial as self-image. Poor self-esteem can cause a ton of problems in a woman’s life.
Personally, she’ll find herself in unfulfilling relationships and not taking care of herself, which can lead to depression. Professionally, she will suffer too. She won’t be able to reach her goals because she won’t feel good enough to do so.
So, what aspects impact low self-esteem?
A Streaky Mirror: When Negativity Clouds Judgement
A few actors that influence poor self-esteem are:
- Self-limiting beliefs
- Illness/physical limitations
- Negative environment
I can’t ask for that raise. What if my boss doesn’t think I’m good enough?
My chronic illness makes me less valuable to my friends and family because I can’t do all the activities they want.
Maybe the negative things my friends keep saying about me are right.
These are the thoughts that can race through your mind and cause your self-esteem to plummet. Feeling so inadequate causes you to look at life through a negative lens. What’s the point of trying if I’m just going to fail?
Besides negative self-talk being destructive, it’s also false.
You may consistently be surrounded by overly critical peers. But what they say about you isn’t always true. And when you learn what healthy self-esteem looks like, you will be able to handle these situations a lot better without beating yourself up.
Five Signs of Healthy Self-esteem
- You avoid dwelling on your past, negative experiences
- You express your needs
- You feel confident
- You have a positive outlook on life
- You say “no” when you want to
Having healthy self-esteem means cleaning the filthy grime of negativity off that mirror, to reveal the beautiful woman that is lurking underneath.
I know what it’s like to search outside of yourself for things that can only be found within.
But maintaining a healthy self-image and self-esteem throughout all the difficulties you face in life will keep you moving forward.
This will help you reach your maximum potential without losing who you are.