4 Sure-Fire Ways to Improve Your Self-Concept

I have worked many years with young adults as a college professor and youth group leader. I found a majority of their concerns, and possibly with all age groups, stemmed from the issue related to self-concept. That is, their belief, opinion, attitude about their existence. The problem arises when an individual holds beliefs that are negative and frequently self-destructive. Improving your self-image has the potential to change all aspects of your life.

I have plagiarized an article from http://oureverydaylife.com/improve-selfconcept-2303047.html (I could have not said it better) and added a few of my own comments.

Use Self-Affirmations

Self-affirmation exercises can boost self-esteem, according to clinical psychologist Guy Winch in the Huffington Post article “A Simple Self-Esteem Boost That Improves Emotional Strength.” Choose a few of your positive characteristics and write them down. For example, you might be creative, insightful, intelligent and giving. Then write a paragraph describing how these traits are meaningful, how you have benefited from them in the past and how you see them benefiting you in the future. You may also choose to use verbal affirmations such as, “I am a creative person who will go far in life.” When you do so, your brain hears the message as truth and can’t help but respond positively by reshaping your self-perception.

Adopt a Realistic Set of Expectations

Setting realistic expectations can help to protect your self-esteem, asserts psychologist John Grohol, Ph.D. in the Psych Central article “6 Tips to Improve Your Self-Esteem.” For example, if you set an expectation that you are going to learn to speak French by the end of the year, you may find yourself quite disappointed when the end of December arrives and you are still struggling to master past tense. As a result, you may label yourself “stupid” or “slow” — an action that will hurt your self-concept. Instead, reframe your self-talk to focus on the positive things you have accomplished, such as learning an additional 250 French words in the past three months.

Avoid Unflattering Comparisons

Grohol also advises people to avoid comparing themselves to others. Your self-concept is battered every time you think thoughts such as, “I’ll never be as thin as her,” or “I’ll never be able to write as well as he can.” The only person you should be comparing yourself to is you. Everyone is on this journey of being human to learn and grow — simply working to become an even better version of you is enough. When you learn to value yourself for who you are, including your squinty right eye and tendency to forget the answer to 8 x 7, your self-concept will improve immeasurably.

Tap Into Joy

Find your joy, suggests Harvard psychologist Nancy Etcoff in the article “How to Love That Woman in the Mirror,” published on Oprah.com. Instead of basing your self-worth on a large house or a size four designer wardrobe, find out what you are good at and what is meaningful to you. You may find that volunteering to foster kitties for a no-kill shelter is just the thing that makes you feel amazing about yourself. Or perhaps it’s time to finally put aside the time to create the paintings you’ve had floating around in your head for the past year. When you tap into life’s joy, the negative thoughts that lower self-concept recede and you attain a healthy perspective.


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A New Beginning

We are at a point in time when there is urgent need for change. The old ways are just not working. We have global problems involving wars, security, refugees, overpopulation, deforestation, hunger, poverty, global warming. Worrisome national problems centered on the populous movement with political undertones of hatred, terrorism, animal rights, aging population, unemployment. Individual issues like cyber bullying, social acceptance, physical appearance, peer pressure, drugs, even information overload. These stresses produce a state of anxiety, stress and depression. These types of issues have arguably been around in the past, but unfortunately, they keep appearing and at an accelerated alarming rate. What can we do?

In the past, we had enough time and financial resources to cope and make necessary changes. The recurring issues mentioned not only require enormous resources which are diminishing rather than increasing, but also demand urgent and immediate responses. We need to take individual responsibility and re-engineer our thinking, in order to solve these problems.

Psychologist Ken Wilber writes “Whatever the process of evolution was, it seems to have an incredible intelligence – from matter to life to mind to conscious awareness. But it is strange that the very mechanisms that allowed evolution to become conscious of itself were simultaneously working to engineer its’ extinction.”





Reality & Truths

“Most truths exist for a small period of time, until they are proven to be fallacies.”

Why does injustice, poverty, pollution, hunger, over-population, economic and political disorder still prevail in our world? Why does humanity have so many problems? Are we incapable or do we lack the desire to solve these irksome problems? What can we possibly do to rectify the malaise? We can follow the mainstream, and join a foundation which advocates administering to these problems. But doesn’t it seem obvious that any group is simply an extention of similar like-minded individuals, most of whom have failed in the past? And is it possible, that by creating disparate groups, we propagate division and fail to unify humankind? How then, can any organization solve our issues, no matter how well intended? Is there a better solution to our problems?

A plausible alternative would be a holistic approach. Let me explain. We and everything around us exist in space. We are humanly connected to all matter limited by the dimension of space and time. Currently we do not live life from a ‘connected foundation’. The diagnosis is that our perception of life is misaligned because of our fragmented view of reality.

Possibly, you can accept the concepts presented here, but are skeptical about a prescriptive holistic suggestion. Consider the following (hopefully) convincing fact: A billion or so years ago the earth orbited the sun – thus there was a necessary connection between the earth and sun. Yet at that time, before our human evolution, there were no truths, simply a physical reality abiding by natural laws. This is very important, as libraries are full of books written about truths. Most of which have been proven to be incorrect (Wasn`t there a time when we believed the sun orbited the earth, that the earth was flat?). Human truths are mostly conjectures, assumptions based on our limited knowledge—merely concepts that we make up, an illusion of the mind. Einstein explained it in these terms: “A human being is part of the whole called by us a universe, a part limited in time and space. We experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as something separate from the rest: A kind of optical delusion of consciousness.”

We must be optimistic that we can eventually resolve our inadequacies; not based on organizations, systems, religion, beliefs, or ideology, but moreso, on individuals like you and me. Yes, the future must start with each one of us. We cannot depend on others to solve our own problems, let alone rectify the more complex world problems. The hope is that we will embrace the whole of life, and in doing so, ultimately recognize what is right and good, follow a path of truths, and reconcile our differences. It is imperative that we make the changes from within, immediately, with seriousness.