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The crucial role of the self concept in getting unstuck

How do you see yourself right now?

The Self-image (and self concept) are often overlooked where considering people’s mental health, however research has demonstrated that this is a critical part of what drives people’s beliefs and behaviours that often leads to them getting stuck. It’s impact is on more than just how we ‘perceive’  ourselves; it’s the lens through which we view our entire existence, what we are capable of and what could be possible for us.

Recent studies have shown that we construct our self image in the ventral-medial portion of the pre-frontal cortex.  This is an area associated with cognitive processing, creativity and thinking, as opposed to fixed constructs like emotions or memories that lie in deeper brain structures.

This becomes important in helping people understand and deal with what is keeping them stuck and how they perceive their current mental health status.  Consider two people in the same circumstance -one considers themselves, capable, lucky, in control and unafraid.  The second person is fearful, feels out of control, sees themselves as weak, incapable and unlucky.  How do you think these self assessments will affect the effort that they will make, how resilient they will be in the face of challenge, or what outcomes they will accept or even expect?

The location of the self image concept in the brain is entirely good news.  If it is not fixed and simply recreated from parts of previous experience, knowledge, beliefs, skills and processes that the person has, it should be possible to modify how the brain chooses to create this view, and therefore be open to massive change.

Imagine if the second person mentioned above could face into the world with the self image of person one?  How different would the lived experience off this person be?

Using advanced strategic methods integrating modification of individual’s self image, it is possible to achieve massive shifts in people’s sense of self – and therefore creates massive opportunities to positively impact their mental health.

The Importance of a Positive Self-Image on mental health can be seen in a number of important dimensions:

>Emotional Resilience: A healthy self-image acts as a buffer against life’s challenges. When we see ourselves positively, setbacks become opportunities for growth rather than personal failures.

>Relationships: Our self-image influences how we interact with others. Confidence and self-assuredness attract healthy relationships, while self-doubt may lead to withdrawal or unhealthy dynamics.

>Decision-Making: A positive self-image empowers us to make choices aligned with our true selves. Conversely, negative self-perceptions may lead to self-sabotage or indecision.

>Physical Health: Believe it or not, self-image affects physical health. When we feel good about ourselves, we’re more likely to engage in self-care practices.

>Mental Health: A negative self-image can contribute to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues. Conversely, fostering a positive self-image promotes mental well-being.

By including work on the self image in personal change work (coaching and clinical work), the opportunity exists to make powerful shifts and create better personal patterns of beliefs and behaviours.  By making such changes with empathy and self compassion, the concept of the self image can be addressed without shame and with rewarding personal outcomes.

How do you see yourself?

  • What are you capable of in a challenging situation?
  • What are you in control of?
  • What do you expect?
  • What beliefs do you have about yourself which could influence your outcomes?

If you want to enjoy the process of changing up your self image and creating a positive, resilient, powerful and capable version of yourself to tackle what lies ahead, then get in touch to see what might be valuable for you.