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Your self image: How does it influence your ability to change?

Are you wanting to make a change in your life but no matter what you do you seem to be stuck in those destructive habits that are forever bringing you to your knees?

There are countless stories of people trying to lose weight; give up smoking, quit the drug habit, all of them using, tried and tested methods such as smoking patches, dieting pills, supplements for drug use. Do these substitutes really work? Or does change only occur when you change how you perceive yourself?

Your self-image
The topic of self goes back thousands of years throughout all cultures and belief systems. Throughout the last hundred years, The “sense of self” has been a topic of discussion amongst the great thinkers such as Sigmond Freud, Carl Rogers, Carl Yung. Between their work we can now conceptualise the “self” in psychological terms, referring to three concepts within us:

  • Real self – The reality of who we are (often told by our actions).
  • Perceived self – How we believe other people perceive us (as seen by others).
  • Ideal self – How we would like to be (if we could just make those changes).

We all have an ideal self. It’s the thing inside you that every now and then says “You should really stop doing this.”

We all have things in our lives that we want to change. We all have potential inside us that we can see. Inside all of us lives true potential and we often express this as new years, making resolutions and planning to make the changes we know we need in our lives. Why wait until the end of the year, why can’t we take control of our lives right now?

Carl Rogers, a famous humanistic psychologist from recent times argued that for a person to feel satisfied (he used the term “self-actualization” or to become “self-actualized”), they’re actual-self and their ideal-self must be congruent (that they must be aligned with one another, how you perceive yourself to be and how you actually act).

One change could be all it takes.

To increase your chances of making a change in your life, why not consider the following:

  • Think about the life you desire. Put together a long-term plan. In the ideal situation, where do you see yourself in five years?
  • Look at the things you do every day. What are the consistencies? How does each of those actions contribute to your long-term success?
  • Think about how your habits and behaviour needs to alter in order for you to be ready to take on the responsibility that is required within your ideal life.
  • Always remember the saying; ‘Good habits are hard to form and easy to live with. Bad habits are easy to form, but hard to live with.’ In the long-term, the hard work it takes to develop those positive, life-affirming habits will pay off.

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