The Power of Self-Image
(The foundation for change.)
When it comes to what you expect (and will accept) from yourself, “self-image” is like a master control. It sets the guidelines for your behavior. And if for some reason you cross one of those lines, your mind will immediately let you know about it. Regret, embarrassment, a sense of insecurity (or any number of other unpleasant feelings) is what you’re sure to feel if you act beneath your established self-image…and this is a good thing. It’s your “better self” stepping in to say: “Hey, wait a minute, is this really who you want to be?” Oddly enough, acting “above” your established self-image can also lead to problems. (Start doing “too well” without an adequately adjusted self-image, and don’t be surprised if you start sabotaging your own progress.)
If you’re looking to make a big change in your life, it’s very important to begin drawing a new image of who you are. As a matter of fact; I believe it’s even more important than addressing the images / associations tied to drugs and alcohol and here’s why: The strongest barrier a person can build between themselves and self-destructive behavior is a healthy self-image.
People who truly respect themselves don’t spend time disrespecting themselves. (And if you’re engaging in self-destructive / counterproductive behavior, you are disrespecting yourself in a very real way. You’re not only robbing yourself of your best, you’re actually injuring yourself emotionally, physically, intellectually and spiritually…probably financially and socially as well.) “Effortless” and permanent changes in our behavior occur when we change inside...when we “become” a new person. The process begins in our mind.
For this reason, I strongly recommend you begin with creating a mental image of yourself that is in line with the kind of person you want to be. It will require sustained effort and no, it is not likely to be easy. If you’re anywhere near as messed up as I was, it’s going to take some real determination. You must find the courage to admit what you truly want. Decide what you DEMAND from yourself and then draw a clear image of the “version of you” that can (and will) comply with that demand.
From there, it’s just a matter of honestly assessing the gap between the “new you” that you’ve created in your mind and the “old you” that’s been undermining your potential all along. From these comparisons, new guidelines will be drawn and you’ll be well on your way toward lasting change.
The importance of this exercise cannot be overstated. By deliberately visualizing a new self-image (and experiencing the corresponding “positive associations”) you will be giving your mind a map to follow. I’ve covered the importance of visualization pretty extensively in “The 1-Hour Guide to Successful Thinking.” I’m going to end this section on “Self-image” with just a few words (and audio) borrowed from The 1-Hour Guide:
"Visualization prepares our mind and body for the future by allowing us to experience the future in the present. This not only makes it easier for us to move confidently toward what we see, it also increases the likelihood that we’ll recognize (and eliminate) behavior that undermines the vision we’ve created. (Counterproductive thoughts and actions become far more obvious and less acceptable when they’re held against a productive image that we “look at” regularly for guidance.)
A good time to develop your “visualization skills” is when you’re lying in bed, just prior to going to sleep. Take a few deep breaths. Suspend all doubt, cynicism, or other unnecessary distractions. You might find it helpful to remind yourself that this image has nothing to do with your current self-image. Let yourself experience a day in the life of the “best you” imaginable. See yourself responding to foolish ideas the way the “stronger you” would respond. See yourself tackling challenges with the same clear mind and confidence the stronger you has developed. Experience how good it feels to be your best.
It should be noted that you can shape this vision just about anywhere at any time. While you’re cooking dinner, cutting the grass, in the shower, while you’re stopped at a train, etc. Keep your mind pointed toward that “new you” and it will begin the work of getting you there."
Click the icon below for a short audio clip on "Visualization" (Taken from the 1-Hour Guide to Successful Thinking) or, ----->Continue to: "Destroy Your Desire to Drink"