When someone spends their time with people who affirm their worth, it will be possible for them to feel good about themselves. This is because human beings are interdependent, and this is why the responses of others play an important part in their self-image.
However, although one’s self-image is influenced by how others respond to them, this doesn’t mean they have no control. The reason for this is that one can decide who they want to be, and as a result of this, they can choose who to spend their time with.
Sense of Self
In order for someone to realise this, it will be important for them to have a sense of self. If this is something they haven’t developed, they can end up being defined by how other people respond to them.
Yet, when one has individuated, they will be in touch with who they are, and they won’t get caught up in the lives of others. It will then be possible for them to affirm themselves, and this is why they won’t always need to be affirmed by others.
During those moments when one is affirmed by others, it won’t just come down to what they say; will also come down to the other person’s ability to be present. Through this, it will be possible for one to receive the kind of responses that will support them.
Whereas, when one is around people who are not present, one can begin to wonder if what they have to say is important or if the other people want to be there. And as it is so important for one seen and heard by others, this will have a big impact on their self-image.
The Right Nutrients
This is then the equivalent of one getting the right nutrients as opposed to putting anything in their body and then wondering why they feel the way they do. When one is able to affirm themselves, they are going to want to be around the kind of people who affirm them.
Yet, if they are unable to do this, not only are going to have a greater need for others to affirm them, they can also end up being drawn to people to who are unable to affirm them. This is going to show that they don’t have a strong sense of self, and as a result of this, their self-image is also going to suffer.
Ideally, one will be affirmed by others and as this happens, they will be able to affirm themselves. This is something that can take place during their early years, and through receiving this kind of care, one will be able to develop into an adult who accepts themselves.
The Real World
However, this is not something that always takes place, and one can then grow into an adult who doesn’t accept themselves. One option would be for them to find people who can affirm them, and this can take place with the assistance of a therapist or a support group, for instance.
In this case, one will be receiving what they didn’t get all those years ago, and this will also allow them to individuate and to develop a sense of self. And as part of this process, one may also need to engage in some kind of emotional work; which may include grieving their unmet childhood needs.
Another thing that someone can do is to affirm themselves, and this is something that can take place through using affirmations. When this happens, one will find things to say to themselves that go against their current outlook.
One can use what other people have created or they may decide to create something for themselves. And once one has something to say, they can keep saying it until their self-image begins to change.
After they use an affirmation for a certain period of time, there is the chance that they will end up transforming their self-image. They will then end up treating themselves differently, and how other people respond to them will also change.
Yet, when one uses affirmations, it will be important for them to find the right ones, and not to use ones that are unrealistic. If they choose ones that are realistic, for instance, it will be easier for them to accept them.
If, on the other hand, they end up using affirmations that are completely unrealistic, there is the chance that they will end up deluding themselves. When this happens, one can end up going from one extreme to the other, and they are going to be out of touch with realty.
And while they might be able to feel better about themselves for a short while, they can end up feeling worse in the long run. This is because one will be trying to achieve things that are not possible to achieve.
For example, if one was to say to themselves ‘I am wonderful and everybody accepts me’, they are going to set themselves up to suffer unnecessarily. No matter how ‘wonderful’ someone is, it is not going to be possible for everyone to accept them.
In this case, one will be trying to achieve something that they can’t achieve, and if they do end up believing this, they can end up feeling even worse than they did before. This is because if one was in a position where they believed that it wasn’t possible for anyone to accept them and then they believe that everyone does, it is only going to be a matter of time before they have to face reality.
And if one does end up deluding themselves and they block out the evidence that goes against how they sees themselves, their life will suffer in one way or another, and it may also cause other people to keep their distance.
When it comes to the affirmation above, it will be important for one to realise that there will be people who accept them and people who don’t. But the most important thing will be for one to accept themselves.
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Oliver J R Cooper
Oliver JR Cooper
Author of 25 books, Transformational Writer, Teacher & Consultant.
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That which is contained within these articles is based on my own empirical understanding and is true for me at the time they were written. However, as I continue to grow, what I perceive as the truth will inevitably change and as a result of this - parts of these articles may not reflect my current outlook.