Self-Image: Amazingly 99% of the population doesn't understand this.
In the world of sports, phrases like "self-image," "self-esteem," or "self-confidence" are often thrown around by coaches, parents, and mentors. These terms are frequently part of mental toughness training. But what do they mean? In this blog, we'll offer some explanations and overlay how, unfortunately, misguided meanings can become barriers to our cultivation of wellness:
ARE YOU PART OF THE 1%?
BE A REALITY ADVOCATE
Whether "self" phrases point to the requirements of being a champion or uncover why athletes sabotage their success, these descriptors play a role in our human identity, and we should recognize their malleable tendencies over time.
Let's use some simple definitions to describe these ideas.
SELF-IMAGE is how you 'see' yourself. Self-image is your idea of your talents, appearance, and personality. Your self-image is not permanent; however, it is resistant to change.
SELF-ESTEEM is how you see your behavior. Self-esteem is your overall opinion of yourself — how you feel about your abilities and limitations. Self-esteem is how you value yourself and is more about the kind of person you 'think' you are. Low self-esteem can be remedied, but it takes attention and daily practice to boost self-esteem.
SELF-CONFIDENCE is an attitude or feeling of trust in your qualities and reasoning. You accept and trust yourself and have a sense of control in your life. You know your strengths and weakness well and have a favorable view of yourself.
To be clear, SELF-ESTEEM and SELF-CONFIDENCE are often conflated. Confidence is about knowing what we can and can't do and trusting our abilities. If confidence is a matter of trust, esteem is an assessment of value.
Interestingly, all of these are primarily based on judgment and opinion. And they may not match reality. Some individuals hold an inflated perception of one or more of their characteristics. These inflated perceptions may be positive or negative. An individual may have a more positive view of certain aspects of the self and a more negative view of others.
Other people may see you quite differently from your self-image. We have no way of truly knowing how others view us. This reality should propel us toward becoming more "self-aware." SELF-AWARENESS is the ability to focus on yourself and how your actions, thoughts, or emotions do or don't align with your internal standards. It is not to be confused with consciousness. While consciousness is being aware of one's environment, body, and lifestyle, self-awareness is recognizing that awareness.
Coach's sidebar: Self-awareness should never be confused with "selfies." We all know that selfies help people portray a version of themselves to the world. Selfies say, "Look at me. This is who I am." Overuse of this behavior leads to another "self" definition: SELF-ABSORBED.
Most people believe they are self-aware; however, accurate self-awareness is a rare quality. Although everyone has a fundamental idea of what self-awareness is, we don't know exactly where it comes from, what its precursors are, or why some of us seem to have more or less than others.
The human mind rarely operates rationally, and our judgments are seldom free from bias. Contrary to popular belief, studies have shown that people do not always learn from experience. Self-awareness isn't one truth. It's a delicate balance of competing viewpoints.
ARE YOU PART OF THE 1%?
If 99% of Americans don't understand "self," let's consider moving into the realm of the 1%-ers – those who think differently. What I am about to describe may be controversial for some, but I challenge you to ponder this possibility. It could be a game-changer for you.
Self-image, self-esteem, self-confidence, self-awareness, and the many other "self" words are inadequately understood and ineffectively utilized by our culture. Consider that most of us believe these "self" defining phrases as being 'inside' us— in our minds or part of our chemical pathways and neural connections firing every second. However, think about the fact that your neurological make-up may indeed be "inside you," yet it is not "of you."
We have a lifetime of experiencing the conventional belief that our consciousness shares the limits and destiny of our body. You and your uniqueness go far beyond the physical workings of your body and brain. Perhaps consciousness will continue to elude us scientifically. Still, it's comforting to appreciate the distinction between "inside me" and "of me."
Some people may believe their self-image is of their design. Sadly, this could not be further from the truth. Our self-image comes from millennia of genetic wiring. It comes from the various bits of information we've been exposed to from birth. Every thought is woven from threads of data we've been told. It's how we attempt our reality.
Each of us plays a minuscule part in developing the "self" attributes we've discussed. Our genetics, environment, experiences, other people's opinions, advertising, society's expectations, laws, religion, and laziness can contribute to the absence of reality within which most of our population survives. This is the elephant in the room that we avoid or don't even acknowledge.
Let me give you an example that may hit close to home. As loving parents, we try to open doors and bring opportunities to our children. Thus, these actions become part of our self-image: loving, responsible parents. In the case of athletic opportunities, we understand how ubiquitous sports are in our country. As good parents, we believe that sports will help bring our children a positive self-image and self-esteem.
This is where it gets blurred. In one fell swoop, we've allowed little league, high-school, and college athletics to 'program' our children. One truth is missing regardless of the skills they acquire on the court or field. And we, as parents, aren't self-aware enough to grasp it. It's the truth about our children's health. Consider that in athletics, your child will be compelled to guzzle down sugar water touted as a sports drink or gobble junk food masquerading as protein bars.
Here is where I speak to the 1%-ers, who will listen, ponder, and act. Most of us are not in charge and are not self-aware. While some parents may be succeeding, I contend most are failing because we've let profit-seeking corporations sabotage our health and the health of our children. The reality is that much of our children's food and drink will not help them become the best athletic version of themselves. I contend it is harmful to their health. And what might this do to their self-image?
Our child's faulty self-image may be telling them they are athletes. And, despite their eating habits, some may rise to the level of talented athletes. However, when anything that does not promote well-being is consumed, it lowers their potential. It diminishes an accurate self-image. Without knowing it, our children are pretending to be 'real' athletes. But it's not real…
BE A REALITY ADVOCATE
I have great news. It's the fact that we can become truly self-aware and help our children as well! Be an advocate of that which is truly healthy. Understand the reality. We must focus on teaching authentic nutrition and do our research – which as a parent is our innate responsibility, not that of unethical advertisers and profiteers. As we understand stronger and healthier ways to raise our children, our culture will evolve.
Body Helix has been committed to creating the finest sports compression gear for several years. We do so as part of our own company's self-image. Our goal of providing the best products is strictly focused on serving those injured or who want to prevent injury so they can enjoy sports and an active lifestyle.
I realize that Big Food and Big Sugar industries are ruling our planet today. Big Profit wins at the expense of our health. However, I want my voice to be heard. Will you join me? I'd like our 1% club to gain momentum and increase in numbers. I want us all to be able to go the extra mile to be our best. It's time each of us becomes a reality advocate!
We launched our new Hydro Helix as a healthy non-sugar option for athletes of all ages. We know that many injuries or illnesses come about because of inadequate self-care. Our salutogenic philosophy commands us to bring truth to the market to benefit those striving for optimal health.
Having an accurate self-image is heavily dependent on self-awareness. Step back and reflect on your food and drink consumption. Getting to know ourselves better enables us to make changes, develop new habits and learn new skills. Look for small ways to improve continually. Doing so will bring our lives and those we love to a much healthier place.
I write these blogs because I care. My desire is to help us all improve our healthspan.
Learn. Share. Inspire.
Be well, my friends.