What is self-esteem? Self-esteem is the opinion we have of ourselves. This opinion can be good or bad and is usually influenced by many factors such as our previous experiences in life, other people's opinion about us etc. People with high self-esteem have good opinion of themselves whereas people with low self-esteem have poor opinion about themselves.
What is self-image? Self image is the image or picture in our mind that we have formed about ourselves. This picture or image can be a positive one or a negative one. Negative self-images can give rise to negative thinking.
The difference between self-esteem and self-image is that the former is just an opinion about ourselves and the latter is an image of ourselves.
If we are afraid of doing any activity, then chances are that we have formed a negative self-image of that activity. For example, suppose somebody has stage fear, then it is likely that the person has negative self-images of himself performing badly on the stage, people laughing and making fun of him etc. These images have a negative impact on the person and make him fearful of going on the stage and facing the people.
Therefore it is important to get rid of negative self-images. But the problem is that it might be very difficult to rid of such negative images. The harder we try, the more difficult it seems to get to banish the negative images from our mind. We have all heard the importance of positive thinking, but the negative self-images make it difficult to maintain positive attitude.
How then, are we going to get rid of negative self-images? Here I am going to present a simple technique for overcoming negative self-image:
This technique is called "Burning The Negative Images". In this technique you imagine burning any negative images you have till they fade away. Let me explain the technique with an example. Suppose, you have stage fear, you might be unconsciously making an image of going on stage and not being able to speak, your legs shivering, people laughing at you.
All these images would make you feel uncomfortable with the idea of walking up to the stage. Make a note of all the negative images that come up when you think of going on stage. Then deal with each image one by one.
Now take the first image, picture it as clearly as possible in your mind. Imagine that image is in the form of a photo or snapshot taken from a camera. Imagine holding that picture in your hand, taking a lighter and burning that image. Imagine as clearly as possible about the fire burning the edges of the negative picture, then after the edges the fire burns the entire picture and turns it into black ash. Then imagine throwing away that ash.
After you do it one time, try to imagine the negative image again. You may see that the image is not as strong and vivid as it was earlier. The negative image and its effect seems to have dimmed in your mind.
Repeat what you did the first time, burn the negative image again and throw away the ashes. Then again try to recall the negative image. If you feel difficulty in recalling the negative image, or the image seems to have dimmed considerably then that means you have been successful in your attempt. You can feel that the image now does not have much effect on you, you do not feel nervous or afraid while recalling that image.
If you still feel a little bit of negative emotion while recalling the image, then burn it a few more times until the image does not have any effect on you. Then move on to the next negative image that you get while thinking about going on stage. Burn that image till it no longer affects you.
keep doing this with all the images that you get. Soon you may find that you no longer fear walking up to the stage and giving the much dreaded speech.
Initially you may find that there are a lot of negative images associated with your fear and dealing with all of them may seem to be a very difficult task, but believe me this should not be as difficult as it seems and if you persist then very soon you may rid yourself easily of your lifelong phobia.Try it on any fear, phobia or any area of your life where you do not feel comfortable doing something.
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