How To Develop A Positive Self-Image

The kids were intrigued and enthusiastically volunteered their wild kingdom identities. Our son told us that he would be a bat. When he saw our puzzlement, he explained that bats are stealthy, agile, and have unseen abilities like supersonic hearing. One of our daughters preferred a cat because they are graceful and you must earn their respect. Our youngest daughter’s choice was a giraffe because she is tall and likes looking over the crowd.

Then it was my turn. Without hesitation, I blurted out that I was a sloth. “A what?” everyone exclaimed. “A three-toed sloth,” I said. They looked bewildered. I explained that since my foot was narrow and had only three toes, it resembled the foot of a sloth with its three claws. When I was a child, we had been studying pictures of animals in school. The teacher showed a photo of a sloth, and some of the kids started saying that I had a sloth foot. The less-than-flattering nickname stuck: “Super Sloth.” “Roger!” my somewhat biased wife objected, “I disagree,” she said. “Your physical challenge reminds me of an animal that you often emulate – an eagle! An eagle has three talons. You’re strong and determined, and when you grab hold of something, you never let go.” I said, thanks, honey! You’re right, I am an eagle!

The conversation reminded me that, our self-image is not defined by who we are rather who we think we are. We could perform like an eagle, but still, believe we are a sloth. I love what Denis Waitley says, “It’s not what you are that holds you back, it’s what you think you are not” This quote helped me to understand that our self-image is a collection of our thoughts. As a result, by harnessing the power of our own thinking and beliefs we can change how we feel about ourselves.

Increasing our self-image does not happen automatically; it is intentional. As you look at your past experiences, what evidence do you find that supports a positive self-image? In my work as an inspirational speaker, I have met several people discouraged about their circumstances and feeling negative about themselves. During our conversation, it is evident they are dwelling on evidence that erodes their sense of self-worth and overlooks evidence that supports a positive self-image. The next time you say to yourself, “I can’t-do that” Ask yourself, “what evidence do I have to support that thought”.

All of us are a unique blend of abilities and disabilities. Sixty-five billion people have walked this earth and there will never be anyone exactly like you. In the words of Forest Gump, “If God intended us all to be the same; he’d have given all of us braces on our legs.”

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