The Power of Our Self-Image and Why We Do, What We Do

Larry Olsen July 27, 2020

As humans, we’re prone to imperfection. We make mistakes. But the difference between high performers and the rest of society is they have a different filter; they have a vision. Not only do they have a vision, they have a purpose! Your purpose is the reason why you do what you do in all areas of your life. It’s your motivation, it’s your passion. Vision is what you want to accomplish because of it.

The power of purpose and what or who created your self-image.

For instance, I chose my self-image of feeling valued, loved and inspired because I look for the best in others and treat them that way. This brings out the best in myself, and that’s directed from my purpose to raise the self-esteem of the human race, one person at a time. When I’m focused on that and something bad happens or I’m set back, that’s a learning experience for me, not the end for me. I’m not going to let go of my purpose or my vision, just because I ran into an obstacle. Now this is so important; if I don’t have the right self-image in alignment with my purpose, then enough obstacles will begin to create my self-image. It’s so important that we create our self-image (how we choose to see ourselves in all areas), because as you’ve probably heard, if we don’t know what we stand for, then we’ll fall for everything. There is a lot of information out there and many people that would love to tell us what we need to stand for, and how we should behave and see ourselves.

Just how powerful is our thinking about ourselves and how that makes us feel?  I want to tell you a story about how powerful self-image is because I want to make sure that you have chosen to have a very high opinion of yourself. Not to the point of arrogance, where you tell everybody, because that’s a low self-image, but that you choose to feel good about you with your strengths and your weaknesses.

A quick story on self-image

Years ago, I was teaching English and my class was a group of seventh graders. I asked them to do a paper on ideas. They were to write on an idea that they have of themselves or life and turn it into to me at the end of the class. I told them it wasn’t about their grammar, sentence construction or anything else. I wanted to see how creatively they could articulate their idea on paper in just 45 minutes.

I gave the grades out the next day. At the end of the day as I’m getting ready to go home, a young student knocks on the door and says, “Mr. Olsen, can I talk to you for a minute?” And I said, “Of Course, what’s on your mind?” He replied, “There’s something wrong with this paper.” I said, “Well, what’s that?” Their reply, “Well, you gave me an ‘A’.” And I responded with interest, “Well, let me take a look, it looks great to me”.  I shared, “I didn’t give you an ‘A’, you deserved an ‘A’.” The response touched my heart, “Well I’ve never gotten an ‘A” before, I’m a ‘D’ student in English.” And I said, “Well, congratulations, welcome to your first ‘A’.”

He looked at me, looked at the paper, then walked about four steps towards the door, turned around, tore the paper up in front of me and put it in the garbage. Just as he were about to open the door he paused, looked at me and said, “Don’t try to make me feel good about something I don’t deserve” and left my room. Wow, what just happened? Things happen to us in life that our self-image won’t allow us to accept. Whether it’s a compliment from somebody, a “hey, you were amazing”, or, whatever it may be, if it’s doesn’t match how we see ourselves, we just can’t accept it.  Since he knew in advance that he was a ‘D’ English student, the grade didn’t change his mind. What’s your self-image letting you accept or reject. Remember; define yourself first, or others will.

What had happened to that young man up to that point in his life is another story. His acceptance of being a ‘D’ in English was not something he was born with. But, guess what self-image all his English work up to that point formed in his mind at the age of twelve? Once we make our mind up about anything, that’s all we will see and accept. What I’m sharing has happened to every one of us, and we all have a story attached to it to prove its truth.  We need to start recognizing that was then, this is now. If it doesn’t bring out the best in you and in others, then it’s not the truth. Any other belief is false. The moment you choose to see yourself differently, that’s the moment your life will change.

How do I show up now in this moment?

What’s your self-esteem right now? Are you the type of person willing to take steps toward the vision of who you want to be, or are you doubting yourself? Doubt is dangerous. You have to be careful not to open that door, but to keep your vision continually in front of you. Filter life through it. Remember this; the next time something doesn’t work, simply say, ‘that didn’t work’ rather than the self-esteem crusher, ‘I don’t work.

It doesn’t get any better than you and your no better than anyone else . . . we are all magnificent!

Power of Self-Image