We would all want a high self-image for ourselves and for the people who are important to us.
Most parents see this as part of their educational responsibility to encourage their children’s self-image. So too many teachers want to do their best to strengthen the self-image of their students.
If everyone wants a high self-image, why is it so hard to get it? Why do many of the older people and the children say that they have a lower self-image than they would like? … And why does not a small proportion of parents and teachers feel that despite their good will they can not help children improve their self-confidence? … When a parent or teacher feels that he Can not help the child as he wanted – his self-image is damaged. And again we went back to the beginning – the difficulty and complexity of strengthening self-image. For yourself and your children / students.
In the following article I will explain what ‘self-image’ is, how it is created, what influences it, what are the actual meanings of low and high self-image. I will then recommend possible ways to strengthen your self-image. Of the children, and indirectly of the adults as well.
In the article, I based my educational and clinical experience on many years of work with children, parents and members of the education system. I used the chapter on ‘Listen to Me a Minute’ (Ah, 2003), which used major psychological and educational theories. And of course I listened to myself, and to the dialogue I have with my self-image, and others … hope that things will be relevant to you as readers. My recommendation is that you take what suits you, that can contribute to you, and strengthen your personal safety …
Let’s begin by defining the ‘self’:
It is a ‘image of the self’, how the self ‘feels’ itself.
The self is not like any organ in the body, like the heart or lungs or liver, and you do not see it even with an X-ray or a sophisticated scanner. It is possible to define that the ‘self’ is the structure of the soul. Like a skeleton, on which a building is being built. Like the spine, which holds the body so that the self is the ‘skeleton of the soul’, and its spine. In the language of computers, one might say that the self is like an infinite Hard Disc that contains all your knowledge of yourself. Your self is what you are.
Within the ‘self’ there is all the knowledge of the person about himself – how his body looks (tall, thin, and beautiful), his qualities (ability to sing, creativity), strengths (stooped, willing to help) Personal love and inclinations (love for poetry, cinema, sports). What is pleasant for a person (to feel relaxed) and what is not (to feel stressed). What frightens him (when he does not understand anything), everything that feels inside him (joy, sadness, jealousy, hate). His opinions (political, social, personal), what he prefers (the company of certain people), and what not (irritating and critical people).
‘Myself’ has all the ‘activation software’ of the person. His own ways of influencing others (in pleasant ways or in manipulations) have all the knowledge needed to deal with problems (to hold back, to be angry, to give up). I myself have the abilities to regulate emotions. The ability to self-calm, to encourage oneself.
There is ‘internal’ an internal representation (internalized) of all the important figures of a person in his life.
The inner representatives are figures that truly exist in a person’s life – parents, siblings, spouses, children, authority figures and more. (People who died or left) or fictional characters from films or books (Superman, for example). These significant figures are introverted into the inner world of man, to his own self, and thus he feels them “from within”. He ‘puts in’ their qualities and their opinions, and these become ‘inner voices’ that affect him from his self as part of himself.
For example, a child has a real mother who takes care of him. Inside there is a representation of a mother who is ‘like’ his real mother. There is a ‘mother, who is good and caring for him’ and ‘like’ a mother who is angry and insulting him. Because of internalization, the child can hear, and feel the mother inside him even when she is not right next to him.
The boy has more internalized characters, the teacher’s voice, and the voice of his favorite series star. Everyone influences him out of his ‘self’. They teach him how to respond to himself.
For example, if a mother always tells the child, ‘Do not cry, it will be all right,’ so the mother who is internalized in the ‘self’ also says it. In fact, it is the child himself, who tells himself in his inner voice the text of his mother: ‘Do not cry will be okay.’ If the real mother was angry at him, and says: “Why are you doing nonsense ?!” So the introverted mother was angry with him, too, and he would ‘come down’ to himself with an angry inner voice saying, “What nonsense are you doing?”
The internalized characters teach the person how to respond to those around him. For example, if the child’s relationship with his mother was good, pleasant, and supportive, then he would have within him the internalization of ‘good relations’. The model of the relationship with mother will affect the relationship that will be built later in life. If the child experiences neglect or damage to the relationship he Japanese the feeling of evil into the ‘self’. In the future it would be difficult for him to trust new people. His ‘object relations’ model, the representation of his relationships, is internalized in the ‘self’ and influences his conduct