Have you ever looked at yourself in the mirror and thought to yourself… “I wish I was better looking”, “I wish I was skinnier”, “I wish I was as smart as (enter whoever)”? If you have ever looked in the mirror, you have made some type of judgment about yourself. Whether this judgment is good or bad, is not the point. Today I will talk to you about the myths about the “ideal” self-image. Something I think we ALL need to learn more about to become happier.
What is Self-Image?
Self-Image can be very easy to understand. According to Random House Dictionary, self-image is, the idea, conception, mental image one has of oneself.
Again, good, bad, or indifferent. So basically, over time, we create these ideas or judgments about ourselves, internally and externally. Self-image is how we perceive ourselves but it goes much deeper than how you “see” yourself.
You may start to think about your own self-image so go ahead and do that for a second.
Now come back here…
How was it? Good? Bad?
The answer to this will vary from person to person but I bet you that almost every single person said “I wish” at some point when evaluating themselves.
Trust me when I say I do this too. Its not easy to look at yourself and say, “wow! I am very good-looking!” or “wow, I am very intelligent.” Its not easy to say that because many people do not truly believe that.
Studies show that when we evaluate ourselves, we tend to say, “I wish I was …”. You fill in the blank. Moving forward, I will explain what the “ideal” self-image looks like. But you should already have an idea of where I am heading.
The “ideal” Self-Image – Social Comparison
If you have never heard the term, “Social Comparison”, I suggest you do some research. I will explain what social comparison is very briefly.
Social Comparison Theory was first proposed by Leon Festinger in 1945. This theory has since then coined many other famous psychologists as contributors of this same theory. This theory suggests that people have an innate drive to evaluate themselves, often in comparison to others.
Can you see where I am heading with this?
The “ideal” self-image is simply an assumption of what we “should” look like, how smart we “should” be, how we “should” act in situations, and how we “should” react to whatever experience.
Social Comparison is at the core of “ideal” self-image because do to the external influences in our lives… we think we should be someone else.
There is a BIG difference between our “ideal” self and our “TRUE” self. Ideal self is an IDEA. True self is who we TRULY are!
I want to give you a PERFECT example of “ideal” self-image and how social comparison plays a SIGNIFICANT role.
You are scrolling through Facebook, Instagram, or whatever social media platform you scroll through.
You see a friend or a famous person while scrolling. You see them with skinny legs, or big muscles, or living a lifestyle that you wish you were living.
You then think to yourself… “I want to look like that.” “I want that car, house, dog…” whatever it may be. So after doing all this, you start to want these things for whatever reason. You may think its cool or its “what everyone is doing”, so you think you need to be whatever “that” is.
Essentially you are comparing yourself to other people. Whether it be what they look like, how they talk, what they got on a test, what job they have, or house, or car, or how that person talks… I could honestly go on FOREVER.
Social media platforms are GREAT for communicating with others from around the world but something they can also do is DESTROY your self-image and influences social comparison on a DAILY basis.
Myth behind “ideal” Self-Image
Sometimes we need to read something or watch something that brings us back to real life. Key word… REAL!!!
The simple myth behind “ideal” self-image is that it is an idea. Each person creates their own “ideal” self-image and it comes in many forms.
THERE IS NO “IDEAL” SELF-IMAGE!!!
Stop comparing yourself to other people. Stop judging yourself for the bad and replace that with appreciation for who you are… internally and externally.
I wish that you can take this article and apply it to your life and your thoughts on your self-image.
Remember that there is NOTHING wrong with you and that you are good enough. Smart enough.
YOU ARE ENOUGH.
If you want to improve a specific aspect of your life then do so! But you should never look at yourself in the mirror and compare yourself to someone else…
Do you know why?
Because you will NEVER be that person. Nobody will ever be that person. There are billions of people on this planet… each one is different in some form or another.
Love yourself and BE YOU!!
Thank you for taking the time to read this article. If you have any questions, comments, or concerns, do not hesitate to leave them in the designated box below. I would LOVE to hear from each one of you!