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According to the Cleveland Clinic, self image is defined as “the mental picture we hold of ourselves.” This image we hold of ourselves defines what characterizes us and sets us apart from others. In other words, the different characteristics we use to describe ourselves come together to form a collective self representation that is the culmination of our strengths and weaknesses as seen from our own perspective.
Here are three major ways that our self image can impact our moods, decisions, and priorities:
1. Having a positive self image can increase our wellbeing on a mental, physical, social and emotional level.
2. Having a negative self image might lead us to constantly focus on our weaknesses and faults, making any imperfections or failures seem more significant than they actually are.
3. Having a positive self image might allow us to recognize and acknowledge our strong points and potential while maintaining a realistic attitude towards any limitations we might have.
Here are specific steps you can take to help foster a healthy self image:
It is important to remember that the image we hold of ourselves is the culmination of years of learning. For example, people who had an influence on you in your early childhood–such as caregivers or your parents–will have a major impact on your self image. This is because they can be seen as mirrors that reflect an image of us.
Furthermore, our experiences as we navigate relationships and interactions with those around us will add to the image of ourselves we see in the “mirror,” because relationships tend to reinforce the way we see ourselves. Remember, however, that at least certain aspects of our self image will be dynamic and subject to change.
If you struggle with an unhealthy self image, the good news is that you are completely in control of your own reality and fully capable of reinforcing a positive self image. Fostering a positive and healthy self image can help us make better decisions for ourselves and create healthier relationships with others in the world around us.
Dialectical behavioral therapy, or DBT, is a type of therapy that seeks to provide people with new skills that can help them decrease conflict in their interpersonal relationships as well as manage their emotions. This type of therapy can help you make significant strides in your self image for a better, healthier future with stronger relationships. DBT works to equip individuals with skills in four primary areas:
1. Interpersonal effectiveness: Equips individuals with techniques that can help them better communicate with the people around them in ways that strengthen their relationships, make them more assertive, and help them maintain their self respect.
2. Emotion regulation: Teaches individuals strategies that can help manage and potentially even alter intense emotions that are causing issues in their lives.
3. Mindfulness: Zeros in on helping individuals accept and remain present in the moment at hand.
4. Distress tolerance: Helps increase tolerance of negative emotions (instead of reacting intensely or trying to escape them).
You can learn to practice DBT skills in group therapy through the online services available at Grouport. Grouport Online Group Therapy offers therapy solutions from the comfort of your own home led by licensed mental health providers who really care about your present and future happiness. Find a list of FAQs about group therapy here.