Some of you will ask what self image is. The easiest way to explain it would be to say that it is a way you see yourself. This may be how you see yourself physically and also your opinion of who you are. Self image includes what you think you look like, how you see your personality, what you believe others think of you and the status you feel you have. Lets look at why is the Self Image that important.


What is Self Image?

Based on Wikipedia:

Self-image is the mental picture, generally of a kind that is quite resistant to change, that depicts not only details that are potentially available to objective investigation by others (height, weight, hair color, gender, I.Q. score, etc.), but also items that have been learned by that person about themself, either from personal experiences or by internalizing the judgments of others. A simple definition of a person’s self-image is their answer to the question “What do you believe people think about you?”.

Self-image may consist of three types:

  1. Self-image resulting from how the individual sees themself.
  2. Self-image resulting from how others see the individual.
  3. Self-image resulting from how the individual perceives others see them.

These three types may or may not be an accurate representation of the person. All, some or none of them may be true.


Why is it important?

Your self image dictates how you feel about yourself and dictates the level of confidence in what you can achieve in life. It basically influences your self esteem. If your self image is strong and positive than you have a better chance to succeed in life. If faced with the adverse challenges, you could easier deal with them as you believe you can do it.

In his bestselling classic book “Psycho-Cybernetics”, Maxwell Maltz explains the phenomenon of self-image and explores possible ways to improve it. As a plastic surgeon seeing many patients during his carrier, Maltz noticed strange thing. While most of his patients’ lives changed after the cosmetic operation, some of them didn’t. He observed that it seemed as the changed patients completely modified the view of themselves, as if they become different, better people. The physical transformation lead a to bigger and deeper transformation- self image was positively enhanced. Some people though, couldn’t be changed just by cosmetic surgery (sometimes they didn’t even need it)- they needed to change their limiting self-image to really experience their true potential. Psycho-Cybernetics connects psychology of people behaviors and cybernetics- the science of communication and automatic control systems. In his Philosophers Notes about this book, Brian Johnson explains: “Think of how a guided missile works. First: You need to set a target (or “goal”). Then, you launch the missile (take action!). From there, the missile uses its mechanical “senses” (whether that’s radar or sonar or heat or whatever) to stay on target (they call that “positive feedback”). When it’s not on target, it gets “negative feedback” and simply adjusts its course so it’s BACK on track. REALLY powerful stuff. And a GREAT parallel to how WE operate.” Think about it, it does make sense. Constant feedback and adjustments.

What can we do about it?

One of the main way we introduce changes into our life is by setting goals and consequently following steps to achieve them. The self image can either block or help the way we deal with it. In “Psycho-Cybernetics” Maxwell Maltz believe that the person needs to have an accurate and positive view of themselves before setting goals otherwise one can get stuck in a limiting beliefs pattern which will sabotage the outcome. One of the ways to overcome it is visualizing one’s goal and working on changing self image into positive, strong and supportive one. The self image is a foundation of of all the changes that take place in a person and somebody’s ability to do new things. If you visualize yourself doing new things, be strong and confident, and achieving what you want in life you will automatically slowly change your self image.

Your nervous system cannot tell the difference between an imagined experience and a ‘real’ experience.” Maxwell Maltz

Knowing that, you should train your mind to believe that you can do everything. We are what we think about!


So remember- What matters most is how you see yourself!


Quotes about self image:

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
― Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind

“Our self-image and our habits tend to go together. Change one and you will automatically change the other”
― Maxwell Maltz

“If you spent your life concentrating on what everyone else thought of you, would you forget who you really were? What if the face you showed the world turned out to be a mask… with nothing beneath it?”
― Jodi Picoult, Nineteen Minutes

“What is opportunity, and when does it knock? It never knocks. You can wait a whole lifetime, listening, hoping, and you will hear no knocking. None at all. You are opportunity, and you must knock on the door leading to your destiny. You prepare yourself to recognize opportunity, to pursue and seize opportunity as you develop the strength of your personality, and build a self-image with which you are able to live — with your self-respect alive and growing.”
― Maxwell Maltz

“It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power!”
― Robert T. Kiyosaki

“It is no exaggeration to say that every human being is hypnotized to some extent either by ideas he has uncritically accepted from others or ideas he has repeated to himself or convinced himself are true. These negative ideas have exactly the same effect upon our behavior as the negative ideas implanted into the mind of a hypnotized subject by a professional hypnotist.”
― Maxwell Maltz, Psycho-Cybernetics, A New Way to Get More Living Out of Life

“The image that concerns most people is the reflection they see in other people’s minds.”
― Edward de Bono

“The ”self-image” is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self image and you change the personality and the behavior.”
― Maxwell Maltz


I hope you enjoyed my post! Please leave your comments below 🙂

Thanks for visiting my blog!


Related Posts

16 thoughts on “Why is the Self Image important

  1. Hi!
    Very powerful post, I must say! 🙂
    Since I started to learn more about myself quite some years ago, I found out that my self-image is actually not based upon the way I look. In my more labile days it can change very quickly. But I like the stable times more, when I feel powerful, confident and healthy in every way.
    I’ve learned that achieving a better self-image with the help of sports and being creative in many fields, works for me. Makes any sense?
    So this is why I couldn’t agree more with the quote of Maxwell Maltz, talking about self-image and habits. 🙂

    Thanks for making me think about myself again.


    1. Thanks Špela, I think all of us battle sometimes with self-image. Stick to things which work for you and improve. When you have a good self-image days 🙂 try to push yourself further to try new things and explore new ways to grow. Good luck!

  2. Hi, Elektra. Honestly, this is the 5th sign I have received in 7 days that I need to improve my self image. They say (whomever they are) that we are our worst critics, and that is truer than true for me! The messages we feed ourselves or that we allow into our thoughts really does matter. I have to put up affirmations around my home because I suffer from depression. Let me tell you it is definitely a daily battle! Thanks so much for the article.

    1. hahaha good sign! Looks like its a sign you need to focus on that area of your life 🙂 Affirmations are great to work with, enjoy positive statements and believe everything gets better and better. Good luck!

  3. Interesting read, Elektra!

    Self-image can indeed be very deep rooted and/or subconscious as well. For instance, a person may have a particular opinion of themselves because of something that happened during their childhood, but they are not aware of it. In this instance, I suppose that self talk and honestly asking oneself questions is very therapeutic, wouldn’t you say?

    1. Hi Andrea! Self-image can be deeply influenced by events from childhood or things we learned and were told then. I guess it will help to just have a moment to yourself and ask a valid question if the thing/event/lessons is still beneficial for you and if serves any value.

  4. Hello, Elektra.

    It was an interesting post about self-image. I have been working with my self-image since 1999 and have experienced ups and downs. I agree totally with you when you talk about how to be able to change our self-image by starting to explore ourselves and do new things, the sort we don’t know so much about and get more and more self-confidence when we see we really are capable of changing ourselves to something better. I have experienced that myself and this is the way to learn and grow.

    I have a question for you. How long do we need to change our self-image?
    Thanks for a great post.


    1. Hi Tove, thanks for your comment! About your question- it depends on the person. It is very individual as everybody is different and process things different way. One person can change quickly just by understanding how the self-image works and suddenly realizing their potential, others can take longer as they battle their self-limiting beliefs.

  5. Train your mind to see yourself as you want to be seen. Your self image is very important to all aspects of your life, as well as what you project to others around you. Your life depends on you self image. Thank you for the great article Electra. Keep up the good work and may you have great success.

  6. Psycho-Cybernetics is my favorite self development book and I’m glad you mentioned it. So interesting how our self image controls so much of our lives. I found it especially interesting when he says that retiring from a job isn’t what actually kills people. It’s retiring from life. People hold their job as their self-image and once they are done they don’t know what to do with themselves. If you are still working for yourself or if you have a bigger goal in life other than your 9-5 then you will live a much longer, happier life.

    1. Hey Matt. Indeed, it is very interesting how many people have their self-image so closely connected to their 9-5 work that when they loose it or retire they also loose their goals and become lost and depressed.

  7. Hi, and thanks for sharing this post with me.
    I always love to read about personality and self-image. I have been learning about myself for many years now and find it intriguing.
    I agree with you, that if you can see yourself doing new things where you at the same time feel strong and confident, you can achieve what you desire in life. I have experienced that myself.
    First, when the book The Secret came out I thought it was enough just visualizing what I wanted. Now, I know that I have to act upon it to get what I want. It’s quite interesting.


  8. Love it, a subject dear to my heart and something I am teaching my clients all the time. Great post and I love the quotes, bookmarked to read again in the future. Thanks for sharing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.