What is self image? Different people give different definitions. Psychologist rightly says that it is our own 'self scheme', our own information of the different traits that we perceive of ourselves that we have already stored in our memory. As the literary meaning says, it is one's personal view of oneself in regard to the physicality and personality traits. It can have three dimensions like one's personal opinion on oneself, how other's perceived him or her and how he or she wants them to be perceived. Some people have positive self image of themselves while some may have negative self image. People with negative self image can be very unfavourable leading to poor self esteem; failures and can lead to many mental disorders like depression, pessimism, self victimization and even self abuse. My intention of attempting this topic is to know how well we can improve our self image, develop a positive aura around ourselves, love ourselves and also be loved by others.

Self conception is a wholesome combination of our self image, our self esteem and our idealistic self image. In simple words, it's our own belief about our physical and mental abilities and our uniqueness. This is an image that we have developed about us over a period of time perhaps from childhood onwards. This conception can change towards positive or negative outlook with time. A part of our self conception is always dynamic and keeps changing over a period of time. Therefore, self image is an image that we perceive about ourselves. But strangely, our idea of self image about us may not necessarily be same with the other people's perception of us. Like, we may think that we are good or may be better in something which we actually aren't. Sometimes, we can think that we are worst in something but in reality, we are not. Again, self image is closely associated with self esteem which is how well we respect or value ourselves and how well we are responded by others. Another term, is our idealistic self, what we want ourselves to be or try ourselves to be one.

Self image can be positive or negative. A positive self image is how positively one thinks about oneself. One's own positive traits, his or her uniqueness, physical /body image and social role. How well, we appreciate about ourselves? This self image develops from one's childhood, interaction with one's social environment and one's own physical image. A positive self image can have the feeling of self acceptance, boost our self esteem, our self confidence, love ourselves the way we are and can make our life less complicated and en route to the ups and downs of life. At the end of the day, every individual strive for respect, dignity and happiness. And with a positive self image, one can be sure enough to experience these good things in life. But sometime, some individuals can have too inflated image of themselves, conceited opinion and a high self esteem. Such vices can lead to over confidence, unable to accept the failures of life and unhappiness. A positive self image is learning to accept ourselves as the way we are, a positive attitude towards life and a positive self regard. It also means being accepted and loved by others. Building a positive self image realistically based on our strengths and limitations is wiser than based on our idealistic views because nobody is perfect in this world. Many people confuse "Perfectionism" from doing things perfectly or trying to be perfect. Perfectionism means just putting ourselves more pressure to perform or do things to meet the high standard that we have perceived. But Psychologists says this can be helpful but at times very harmful. As long as we are satisfied with our achievements, it is fulfilling. But, perfection can lead to anxiety, depression and unhappiness. In the process of trying to be perfect and meet the' so called' standard, can resist us from enjoying the fruits of achievement in life as a result of which would lead to shallowness and insecurities. So, whatever success and good things, life has offered, we should always enjoy to the fullest, built up more positive energy and move ahead. This can help us perform better, climb our ladder of success and come closer or achieve our goal or standard that we have aimed for.

A negative self image can be self hurting and self destructive. This is mostly developed in course of time due to low self esteem, poor physical appearance, negative criticisms and even low social status. This mental picture can start developing since childhood following negative criticisms, pessimism and negative outlook of elders and social environment. This kind of self image can be entirely destructive to the person concerned. In such a case, the concerned person develops low self esteem, low self confidence, dissatisfied, unhappy, depressed, and is unable to perform any activity properly. Hence, failures come very easily and this can exaggerate the state leading to drugs, alcohol or even suicidal tendencies. Therefore, it is utmost important for a person to have self acceptance and self regard for himself first. This trait should be taught from very childhood or from a very tender age. We need to love ourselves and accept the way we are. Every person has his share of strengths and weaknesses. We need to focus on our strengths and understand our weaknesses. Because, life is always happier if we learn to balance both the positive and negative sides. Again, there are both ups and downs in our life. We need to accept both and evolve ourselves as a better person.

It's easier said than done. But then, it's always wise on our part to keep a level of self awareness and make a continuous effort to evolve as a better person to experience peace and happiness in life. In today's competitive world, it's always I, me and myself. Every individual has a self image of 'success and perfection' in his mind. We keep chasing for it unendingly. We keep comparing our present state of self image to that 'so called' image of success and perfection. As a result of which, we become judgemental and self critical. This gives us a feeling of unhappiness and unworthiness. Then, it starts affecting our present state of self image. In the process of achieving our goal of "so called success and perfection", sometimes, even if we achieve them, after an instant euphoria, we tend to feel again unfulfilled and unsatisfied. We set ourselves even higher goals. There is no end to it. So, the problem actually exists in our emotional state of mind. It's good to chase our materialistic goals but at the same time we need to experience our emotional state of self achievement and fulfilment. Again, talking about personality, there are certain things on us which we do not like. Yes, we can make efforts to change them for better. But then, no one is perfect. We are all human and need to accept our faults. Therefore, I believe, our self image is just the image that we perceive on ourselves which can change time to time. I can always change for the better as my life is not only about loving myself but also being loved by others. It's not only about accomplishments but also about giving and sharing. Therefore, the feeling of self achievement is not only being happy and successful for ourselves but also being able to share it with others.

About Author / Additional Info:
An experienced Medical Professional, interested in writing articles on health related issues.