Visualizing a Better Self-Image
By Wendy Betterini
Improving our self-image may seem like a daunting task at first. How do we overcome years of negative reinforcement that has convinced us we are not skinny enough, smart enough, or rich enough? How do we reverse our belief that we don't possess the characteristics needed to become successful? We have to change what we think of ourselves, literally.
Where did our negative self-image come from exactly? Our subconscious minds believe what we tell them. Especially during our formative years, we may have been taught to see ourselves in a negative light. Anyone who has gone through high school knows the pressures our peers put on us with regard to dress, social behavior, and academics. Add to that criticism from teachers and parents, unrealistic portrayals of beauty and success in the media, and it's easy to see why we feel we're not good enough.
But it doesn't stop there, does it? What begins as an external influence then becomes internal as we pick up the trend of negativity and berate ourselves with negative self-talk. We call ourselves stupid, hopeless, or a failure. We try to force ourselves into an impossible cookie-cutter mold of what we think we should be. We berate ourselves for not being good enough, strong enough, beautiful enough, and successful enough.
Over time, this results in a negative self-image that can prove difficult to change. Difficult, but not impossible! There are tools available to help us turn it around, and one of those is creative visualization.
Creative visualization is a process that can replace our negative beliefs with positive ones. This process does not happen overnight, but neither did the development of our negative self-image. The key to creative visualization is to stay consistent with the practice. The goal is to prevent new negative thoughts from entering the subconscious, while eliminating the ones already present.
Implementing creative visualization is simple. First, find a quiet, safe place where you can sit, or lie down, for an uninterrupted period of time. You may choose to create a soothing atmosphere by lighting candles and incense, or putting on some relaxing music. Take a few minutes to do some slow, deep breathing and release all stress from your body and mind. Close your eyes and visualize your true self, the "you" you are deep down inside. See yourself as a strong, beautiful, vital creation of God, glowing with light, love, and happiness. Really zoom in and see yourself in glorious detail. Don't allow negative thoughts to enter your head and tell you it isn't possible. Simply push those thoughts aside gently and know that if you can see it mentally, you can create it in your physical reality.
Take your time with this exercise, and make an effort to do it at least once daily, preferably twice. At the same time, begin making a concentrated effort to turn your negative self-talk into positive self-talk. Praise yourself, encourage yourself, build yourself up with your thoughts and words.
Be patient! Remember that it took years to build up your negative self-image, so you can expect it to take time to replace it with a more positive one. But because you are going about it in a purposeful, conscious way, your results will be much more powerful.
Consistently imagining yourself as you want to be will create a new "truth" in your subconscious, and as your mind replaces the negative with the positive, you will begin to see the shift in yourself. A new, more confident you will emerge, giving you the courage to succeed at whatever you desire.
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