Published on October 19th, 2012 | by Nathaniel


3 Tips for Healthier Self-Perception

There’s something we do every morning; something that’s been embedded into our routine. After snoozing the alarm clock a couple of times, we drag ourselves to our feet, go to the mirror, and realize we have some work to do. Now ladies, the amount of time you spend in front of a mirror significantly outweighs the amount of time we do. But believe it or not, men use mirrors too. Truth is- we are all surrounded by mirrors. We have mirrors in cars, bathrooms, elevators, hallways, hotel lobbies- I could go on! Is a mirror dictating how much self-worth you have? How can you develop a healthier self-perception? Let’s start by acknowledging that our self-worth should not come solely from what we perceive in a mirror. Here are 3 tips to develop a healthier perception about yourself:

1.                   Stop Listening to the Headlines

“Sticks & stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” Lies! Developing our self-perception on the basis of what other people say about us is a dangerous route- regardless if they are praising us or tearing us down. If we base our self-worth on the number of compliments or insults we accumulate, how we see ourselves is ultimately tied to how others see us. We see this happen with celebrities that rise or fall. Case and point: Whitney Houston. She was glorified as a diva in 80s and 90s but after the media learned of her alleged drug use, they tore her apart. Don’t let people build you up to tear you down.

2.                Affirm Who You Are

Rather than relying on the world to tell us who we are based on their perceptions, we need to tell ourselves who we are. Affirming is the act of positively stating or validating. When we tell ourselves who we are based on the kind of people we desire to be, we are speaking those characteristics into existence. Sometimes we think we’re being humble when we say “I suck at this” or “I’m so stupid” or “I’m horrible at math” but all we’re doing is negating ourselves and contributing to a poor self-perception.  Trust me; I’ve done it before- especially    around the ladies… By creating a list of positive affirmations we recite to ourselves daily, we are starting a process that allows us to see ourselves more synonymously to the people God designed us to be.

3.                Invest in Others

When we feel bad about who we are, we throw pity-parties. We mope around in trenches filled with “My life sucks”, “I’m not good looking enough”, or “I’m not smart enough”. If we really want to feel good about who we are, we need to stop downing the Haagen Dazs, maxing the Visa card    on Armani (or Wal-Mart), and watching reruns of “Honey Boo-Boo”. We need to make a difference in someone else’s life. It could be as simple as a kind word. Example: I had an audition and a callback for a feature-film this week. The audition process often brings out every insecurity I have. Well today, my agency called and said I didn’t book the part but the casting director called them personally to say how much she was impressed by me. She didn’t have to make that call but I think she realized how those words might impact my pursuits. While my self-worth isn’t determined by those words, I do recognize the investment she made in me by sharing her positive remark.

Moses as an Example

I thought I would end this with one of my favorite examples from the bible. In Exodus, Moses is at crossroad with God. “But Moses pleaded with the Lord, O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled. Then the Lord asked Moses, Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the Lord? Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.” Exodus 4:10-12

Moses saw himself poorly and even negated himself. But God is so good that asked Moses, “Who makes a mouth?” Through this question, God was asking Moses who gave him the license to think with such a low self-perception? God is saying I created you, Moses. I created all that you are. Don’t you think I know what you can and can’t do? Who made you? Who made your body, your eyes, your mind, and your soul? It’s time to stop listening to the voices that are telling us we can’t, we don’t, and we’re not and start listening to God.

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