Self-image can have a powerful influence over our life choices, often without conscious thought. Have you ever wanted to achieve something but can’t seem to get out of your own way? Maybe you’ve tried everything but still can’t seem to silence your own inner critic to breakthrough. While you might think it’s something externally that is stopping you it could be your own inner critic. As Dr. Maxwell Maltz said, “A person cannot rise above how he sees himself.”
If you want to change your life in any area you need to start with introspection. You need to be aware of your thoughts and feelings you experience about yourself. If you want to achieve new levels of success you might need to retrain how you see yourself. As Dr. Wayne Dyer said, “As you think, so shall you be.”
Here are three life-changing lessons from the personal development classic, Psycho-Cybernetics, to help you think better and create a positive self-image.
Avoid Worrying at All Costs
Our brains are thousands of years old and sometimes that can be a problem with achieving your goals. It actively strives to help you avoid pain or fear at all costs. Pain used to mean avoiding wild animals and was a helpful mechanism but today fear comes in different forms. This could be fear of failure, disappointment or embarrassment.
But sometimes you need to experience these emotions to leave your comfort zone and grow. A common way to experience these types of pain in today’s world is worrying. As Jack Canfield said, “Worrying is just negative goal setting.”
In the book, Dr. Maltz discusses how worrying can have negative, long-term effects on your self-image. When you worry about an undesirable future you create a negative image in your mind. This might lead you to attach negative emotions such as fear, disappointment, or anxiety to the image. If done consistently you will create a negative limiting belief about yourself without realizing it.
The next time you find yourself worrying stop and focus on turning the situation into a positive one with your imagination.
Use Your Imagination
The opposite of worrying is using your imagination to create a new, positive self-image.
Have you noticed as you grow up your imagination seems to dwindle with age? As a kid, I’m sure you had an incredible imagination. But as you get older and go through life it’s easy to let heartbreak, disappointment, and failure get in the way of using your imagination. It’s easy to get stuck in the “practicality” of the real world.
Dr. Maltz says that you must continue to visualize and use your imagination regardless of your age. He recommends a technique he created known as “Theatre of the Mind.” With this method, you set 15-30 minutes per day to visualize your ideal future.
Start by closing your eyes and relaxing in a comfortable environment. Now, imagine some of your best memories from the past. Think of anything that makes you feel happy, accomplished, or joyful. Once you experience this feeling look ahead to your future. Spend five minutes and imagine three different goals as if they have already had been achieved. Get specific and imagine how it will feel, smell, and taste when you reach your goals.
Practice on a Consistent Basis
Learning to visualize yourself completing your goals might not be easy at first. You might hear your own inner critic giving you all the reasons why you can’t accomplish these goals. Choose not to listen.
Let those negative thoughts pass and focus on a positive future for yourself. The main key to turning the visualizations into reality is to make it a habit. Studies have shown that habits take anywhere from 21-35 days straight to create a new habit.
By replacing worrying with positive visualizations you can reshape your self-image over time. You can eliminate negative beliefs and become the person who can accomplish anything you want in life. Start making this a daily habit and watch your life change forever.