First consideration: The healthy self-image as a basic prerequisite
I’ve mentioned self-image in many of my blog posts, e.g. in the post Outdated. I am sure that the self-image is a highly complex, multidimensional phenomenon. Two levels are obvious: the physical and the psychological. The temporal component, which is also influenced by the respective causal setting, makes it even more complex for us to deal with. For a long time, I have been convinced that the correspondence between the reality of what and how we are and how we perceive ourselves differs greatly. This is further complicated by another component, namely: how we would like to be! I love to associate the term self-image with self-deception. The possibilities of fooling ourselves and others are limitless: we humans are incredibly inventive when it comes to it. Narcissists valorise themselves on all levels, depressives devalue themselves, dependency sufferers flirt with sacrificing themselves, etc., etc…. In order for us to communicate with each other, we have to form a common social reality. This is only possible if we can develop a minimum of authenticity. If our own reality deviates greatly from our idea of self-image, it becomes problematic: for ourselves and even more so for our fellow human beings.
Ideally, a person’s self-image should largely correspond to his or her actual abilities, physical and psychological possibilities. That this is seldom the case, I assert here with full conviction. What’s so bad about it, you might ask, if it’s not like that; well, it’s worshipful because a strong deviation affects people’s behaviour as well. Especially in relationships it becomes problematic. This in turn has a decisive influence on our social order. I would like to put it this way: the greater the discrepancy between the person as he or she is and how he or she perceives himself or herself, the more problems it will cause. If the self-image largely coincides with reality, then we are dealing with an authentic personality with integrity.
Back to self-realisation. It is therefore quite clear that successful self-realisation requires a suitable, healthy self-image – only then will I get the chance to realise myself.
But beware! By a healthy self-image I do not mean a perfect match between reality and perception. If that were the case, we would not evolve. We would probably be brimming with complacency, full of inner satisfaction, resigning ourselves to the fact that we are great the way we are and should not strive for further development. I am convinced that we need a healthy discrepancy between our self-image and reality so that we feel the pressure to do something for ourselves. Becoming better, growing and making something of our lives is a desirable quality as long as it happens to a healthy degree. It can and should fulfil us. The discrepancy of self-image is the engine of development, because it promotes conflict within us. What, are conflicts supposed to be good? Yes, absolutely. I have also drafted various articles on this.
Boundaries in everyday life, how to protect myself /Part3 “will be delivered later”
The power of change “will be delivered later”
Conflict – how to deal with it “will be delivered later”
In the next post I will write about longings and desires, the second reflection. A few more levels are to follow.