I deviated from my own self-image for explaining this subject. I’ll try to recover by summarizing the basics about these often-confused terms: self-esteem and self-image.
· Self-esteem means how one likes oneself as a person. It’s also used to compare one’s apparent value to that of others. Self-image is the picture one has of oneself and their place and importance in the world around them.
· The infant’s brain wires itself with self-esteem according to parental, family, and caregiver treatment. With actions, self-talk, and dreams, we continually program and reprogram our self-image throughout life.
· Development of self-esteem begins and ends in roughly the first three years of life. Self-image blooms after a child’s conscious mind opens and the child can make decisions about himself. The toddler’s picture of Self builds under the influence of personal accomplishments, real and imagined, good and bad, failed and successful.
· As a child ages beyond toddlerhood, self-image blossoms in the tweens and teens. Development accelerates and grows from conclusions about successes and failures. Also, a child’s dreams and imagination foster gigantic expansions of beliefs and convictions for the years to come.
· When your self-esteem takes a hit, you’re limited to temporary pick-me-ups. When you deviate from or violate your self-image, your attitude and outlook on life can change permanently.
· Three things develop self-image the most: (1) Accomplishments enlarge and improve it. (2) Imaginative dreams of the future stimulate expansion. (3) Self-talk explains, compensates, rationalizes, and otherwise makes everything all fit together in one acceptable picture of Self.
There remains one question that probably lingers in readers’ minds. When one’s self-image makes one like oneself, why isn’t that self-esteem? The question introduces tomorrow’s post.