You have probably heard of self-image, self-esteem and self-confidence before. You’ve probably even used them interchangeably in your vocabulary, thinking they all have the same definitions (I know I have!).
But what if I told you they have different definitions?
And what if I told you that when they are aligned it can bring even more tremendous shifts in your life?
Okay, let’s not miss out on anything else, here are the 3 definitions.
Self-Image (“I think”): represents the way you THINK about yourself and your world. From day one we are programmed through our environment with thoughts regarding our worth. Another word to associate this one with is IDENTITY.
Self-Esteem (“I feel”): is the reputation we have with ourselves and others. Basically, how you FEEL about yourself and your BELIEF in yourself. Both of which impact how you trust yourself and others. For example, you have made thousands of promises to yourself, from waking up earlier, to working out more, to eating healthier, etc. If you’re honest, you’ve broken a lot of promises to yourself and have now taught yourself that it’s okay to let yourself down.
Self-Confidence (“I act”): the way you ACT. How confident are you in your ability, skills, and habits? How confident are you in your ability to perform your roles, functions, and tasks in your life? Can you act with no doubt? How SECURE are you in your skills?
Personally, I have struggled with self-image. A few years ago I got certified as a dance instructor! And I loved teaching others. However, as time passed I didn’t pursue it at all. So many people would ask me if I was teaching or when I would be teaching. I didn’t know what to say.
I realized I wasn’t actively searching to become a teacher because I didn’t upgrade my self-image. I had the skills and I even believed that I could do it, yet I didn’t think of myself as a dancer. I continued to think of myself as an accountant (which I went to school for). And as such this continued to be my identity.
Eventually, I began repeating the phrase, “I am a dancer, I am an artist, I am a dance teacher.” It helped me add on to my identity. Soon I wasn’t just an accountant but I was an accountant and a dance instructor!
Sounds simple but it was profound for me! The idea of upgrading my self-image felt like I was running free through a meadow. It felt like I had so much more personal power! And I eventually did become a dance teacher!
Now the next step is the process of recognizing what part of the triangle is out of balance specifically for you. Here are a few scenarios to help you get started.
Example One: You know those people who self-promote constantly? They are seeking attention from anyone or anything. They are the living definitions of the phrase, “talking the talk but not walking the walk.” Those types of people have high self-esteem but lack self-confidence and self-image. They are most likely seeking admirations rather than actual results and transformation in their life.
Example Two: What if you have a high self-image but lack self-esteem and self-confidence? Then taking action will be difficult for you. You could even start to deceive yourself, asking why am I not seeing results or getting clients? You continually work on your identity not letting that sink deeper into your body and manifest itself as change or opportunity in the world.
Example Three: Finally, when you have high self-confidence but low self-esteem and self-image you will unintentionally self-sabotage. For example, you might start a website. You knew how to get it done, however it still didn’t work out. Because you didn’t believe it would. And you didn’t change your identity to be a business owner or CEO.
Ensuring all three are aligned and balanced is critical to being successful in anything in life. And working on all three continuously is paramount.
Self-image starts at the core. Work on your identity, use “I am” statements. Self-confidence is taking action and practicing. Self-esteem is continuous follow-through. Keyword is continuous. You take consistent action which develops trust in yourself. This could be through daily affirmations, meditations or just keeping those promises with yourself. It’s not about identity, it’s about trust.
P.S. If you have a skill gap, don’t take it as a personal issue or a self-image or self-esteem issue, just improve your skills.
What is one side of the triangle that is overworked in your life? What’s one side that you can revisit?
I challenge you to take an area of your life that you are struggling with and apply the three ‘selfs’ to it. What “I am” statements can you tell yourself daily? What skills need improving? What promises do you need to keep with yourself?