How Your ‘Self Image’ May Really Be Just An Excuse

The past few months we’ve been reviewing chapter 6 of Louise Hay’s best seller, “You Can Heal Your Life.” Last month we looked at blame and how we use blame in our lives to resist even the most positive changes. This month we’re taking a long, hard look in the mirror. We’re looking at how our self-talk and the image that we hold about ourselves affects our resistance to change.

Greta was a working mother of 3 who decided to go back to school. Greta had a passion for helping people and the medical field called to her in such a way that she could think of nothing she would rather do in her life. She decided that she would become a medical imaging (x-ray) technician. A very significant part of her education was successfully completing and passing anatomy and physiology courses. (Anyone who has ever taken these courses in high school or college can relate: the courses are tough!) Greta spent every available moment studying, she even made arrangements with her husband to carve out extra time to spend studying. Her first exam came and she was nervous but knew she had prepared. When the grades were posted, Greta was floored! She had gotten a D.

“What’s wrong with you? You studied so hard! You must really be stupid to study so hard and just get a D!” Greta suddenly realized that she had been having this same conversation with herself for years. Her self-talk revealed the true image she had of herself. She saw herself as so stupid that no matter how hard she may study, in the end a D was all she could hope for. At some point when Greta was a child someone had told her that she was stupid and she believed them. At the moment that Greta believed that she was stupid, she began to see herself as stupid. The more she made even silly little mistakes, the more those mistakes reinforced for her the idea that she must be really stupid. No matter what anyone else ever said to her or about her, it wouldn’t matter. Greta’s image of herself was the only image she believed in, and so to her the truth was that she was stupid.

Greta recognized this pattern of limiting self-talk and began to re-write years of programming. One day she called me, quite out of breath, and proudly announced that she had not only passed her anatomy class, she got a B! We were both overjoyed. She hadn’t had to study any harder or learn any new tricks, all she had to do was to see herself differently — to see herself as she really is — powerful, whole, complete, divine, and SMART! Once Greta accepted just how smart she really is, like magic she broke the spell that had been holding her captive for years and her entire life changed. She stepped into her truth.

We all carry around with ourselves these mental images of ourselves that at some point in our lives we bought into. If you look at just one of the negative images you have of yourself, I assure you that you can begin to dissect your life and see all of the tiny little and great big ways in which a negative image of yourself has interfered with your life. In fact, if you really look, you can see that these negative images of self have seriously crippled you in your life. So why do we hold on to these ideas we have about ourselves if they cause so much trouble?

In life, we choose things which really don’t serve us very well because they DO serve a purpose. In this case, we usually hold on to limiting beliefs about ourselves because as long as we have them, we have plenty of excuses to play safe, not to risk too much, to keep to ourselves, to protect ourselves, to hide. At some point in life we’ve been faced with choices and those choices have been scary. Our negative self images have been just the thing to “bail us out” in the past. They allowed us to avoid doing anything too risky or putting ourselves “out there”.

Let’s take a look at all the ways in which Louise Hay identified that we use our limiting self-image in order to resist change.

Self Concepts:

“We have ideas about ourselves that we use as limitations or resistance to changing. We are:

  • Too old
  • Too young
  • Too fat
  • Too thin
  • Too short
  • Too tall
  • Too lazy
  • Too strong
  • Too weak
  • Too dumb
  • Too smart
  • Too poor
  • Too worthless
  • Too frivolous
  • Too serious
  • Too stuck
  • Maybe it’s all too much.”

As you can plainly read, we can find almost ANY reason for or against a choice in life. We can make anything into an excuse. However, when we are living out of harmony with our soul’s purpose, life is unfulfilling, painful, and hard. The best remedy for a life that feels hard is to begin to align yourself to living your soul’s purpose. Even if you’re not sure what that is, holding the intention that you now begin to look for ways to live life according to what your soul wants for you is the best place to start.

This month look at Louise’s list above and write your own list. Look for the physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual judgements you have about yourself. Write it all down, the good, bad, and ugly. Now take a look at your list. Maybe even look at it from the perspective of a friend. Would you want your best friend to say all of these things about themselves? Probably not. Even if you can’t see evidence that outright proves each of these limiting self-images wrong, make a commitment to yourself to begin to look for evidence to the contrary. For instance, if one of your limiting beliefs is “I’m too fat.” Begin to look for evidence that being fat has nothing to do with whether or not you enjoy your life and live it to the fullest. Maybe each time you look into the mirror, you still see yourself as fat, but maybe you begin to see other opportunities to enjoy life that have nothing to do with how heavy you may or may not be. See where even a willingness to believe something different might take you!

Do you find yourself reading these articles and making some progress, then find yourself stuck? That’s not uncommon. I offer a no-cost introductory session to see how we might work together. You don’t have to go it alone and it doesn’t have to be this hard. Contact me today!