Self image is a combination of who, and what, we think we are. It is a mixture of pictures, thoughts, feeling, beliefs and ideas that we have about ourselves. Self Image is the way we habitually think of ourselves.

Self image can be both positive and negative. We may see ourselves as good at sports, but not good with computers. This would mean that our Self Image in regard to sports was positive, but my image of myself about computers would be negative. Whether each of these images are really true or not is another story, but such a Self Image would make us more eager to participate in sporting activities than computer related activities.

Trying to maintain a rigid and fixed Self Image would also be unwise as we will have opportunities to grow and change over time and our Self Image needs to match those changes. Wisdom and discernment are needed when reshaping or re-inventing ourselves in this way to to get too far ahead, or too far behind our level of development. Ideally our Self Image will be accurate and we will know our strengths and weaknesses fairly clearly without arrogance or false modesty.

One of the things which causes changes to our Self image are the changing roles we play in life (daughter, son, father, mother, worker, business person etc.). Such roles are expressions of our Self Image and our Self Image is shaped by living out such roles, so we find ourselves adapting how we think of ourselves to fit in these new roles. A man or woman becoming a parent often goes through major changes in their Self Image in adapting to their new role.

If we can fit in with a new role in life successfully that reinforces our new self image. If we find fitting in with a new role to be difficult that can cause us to re-evaluate at our attitudes, beliefs and behavior so that these fit better with our new self image.

If fitting the new role proves too difficult we face the challenge of having to 'downgrade' our self image. Failing to live up to what we feel we are capable of can be a blow to our image of ourselves. We become like a car with one or more blown tires and we may really feel 'flat',

Our Self Image can be too low or too high about a particular part of our character. If we have the skills to match the level of our Self Image, that is well and good. But, if we build our Self Image around things where we do not have skill or where the chances of success are low, that is fraught with risk.

We pick up ideas from other people about what we want to build into our Self Image. Depending on our skills and abilities, some of these may work and some may not. Perhaps we see someone who is a great singer and want to sing like them (a common occurrence in these days of quick fame). Perhaps we want to hold the image 'I am a great singer' and perhaps well-meaning friends and relations encourage us. However, deserving to be a great singer is not the same as actually being one. Building our Self Image around things for which we little skill, but high hopes, is just asking for disappointment. Watching American Idol or any such TV program shows lots of examples of these.

It is also true that having a high quality Self Image can have its plus side. It can cause us to aspire to greater things and even to become a better person. It can cause us to look deeply at our motives, attitude and behavior and to make radical changes for the better. This is possible if we have the honesty and integrity to face life squarely. To do this we have to resist the temptation to get into denial and avoidance of anything which shows up the disparity between the kind of person we really are and the kind of person we like to think we are.

Your Self Image is you, and the 'you' you aspire to be. It may also be the 'you' you limit yourself to being if you deny some skill or ability which you have because the idea of acknowledging it makes you feel uncomfortable. Your Self Image is the bits of you which you value enough to develop from the range of options which are available to you.

Author's Bio: 

William Fergus Martin, has no expertise which should cause you to believe anything he says. If what he says rings true for you then take what is useful. For more of his stuff go here: