Did you ever wonder how your self-image came about? Did you ever wonder where you got it?
I’ve had a lot of time to think about self-image during the pandemic with being sequestered and not having contact with people and the world outside the home. I had to find ways of using so many days alone. Learning from the teaching that vital interest was an advantageous state of being, I centered my days around cooking new recipes, exercising, learning difficult songs, and transcribing Dr. Bob’s workshops on the computer. I tried to keep my mind busy. If I didn’t, I would get in a “down” mood because of boredom and what I saw myself as missing the fulfillment I get from playing for audiences, especially in the nursing homes. I’ve discovered it feels better to have the attention directed outward rather than on myself. Doing something creative uses the mind in a healthy way.
While watching Byron Katie’s program each day, I’ve seen many young people with a poor self- image that was an obstacle to feeling independent, capable, and in charge of their choices in life.
I, too, find myself “in and out” of feeling inferior. One method of creating this “up and down” syndrome is to compare myself to others. Mostly I compare the qualities “they have” that I like and don’t see myself as having. I’m less likely to see myself as superior to what I can do that they can’t.
Another find for this self-image issue was when I was in school. My papers came back filled with red pencil marks blaring out all my mistakes.
I have often felt that “looking down on myself” came from all my father’s criticism while I was growing up – therefore blaming him so I didn’t have to be responsible for how I see myself. Through the years, I realized he was only projecting on me how he felt about himself.
We are conditioned. Dr. Bob gave us another hint of where to look so that we could see the truth of the matter and transcend beyond.
The teachings reveal the four great games which you can find on the website; but I’m going to approach it from the results – when we sometimes feel “ugly, abnormal, bad, and out.”
Those labels are so subtle that we don’t even realize it’s going on within us. There is a link at the bottom of this document that goes into a little more detail about those games, though most of us don’t look at them as games.
The suggestion of feeling “ugly” arises from advertising and big business. We need to have the “latest” in clothes, homes, cars and whatever is being sold. This costs us a lot of money to keep up appearances and feel good about ourselves.
The suggestion of feeling “abnormal” comes from the Medical Arts. They have standards for everything having to do with the body – Dr. Bob mentioned when he began college for the healing arts that they studied what was “normal” for quite a long time. He realized that each body is different and doesn’t fit the “norm.” Therefore, everyone is a patient, because they don’t fit the “standard.”
The suggestion of feeling “bad” comes from Theology. It sets ideals of how we should think and act, which is impossible to attain. Even if we do attain an ideal for a short time, challenges come along, and we fall short of what we’ve tried to be and do.
The suggestion of feeling “out” comes from Power Policies. I have a friend who was really into politics. He had five children, so he put flags on the wall telling his children who to hate and who to love. Of course, that all changes through wars and who is in power.
Then there is another source for the poor self-image. If you check out School Talk #35 entitled “I” (awareness) on the website, Dr. Bob talks about being a child and being told “No!” to everything we want to do. With everything out of reach, we toddled around seeing only butts because we were little.
You see, “one of a kind things” become very priceless in the collector’s market. You can’t get enough money to pay for it. So every one of us is priceless — there’s just not enough money to buy us. Would you be for sale for any price?
We’ve all been exposed to these misconceptions. If you can begin to see these suggestions of being “bad, ugly, abnormal and out” as a fallacy, you have given yourself a great gift.
[My afterthought: As I was reading and writing about being a unique work of art, I thought about the people and animals I’ve known and loved through the years. When they have died or passed away, I can readily see that there was no other person or creature that could have been so valuable to my spiritual, physical, and mental well-being. By the way, those who I didn’t like and consequently judged were also part of this “Life school” we’re all in. Everyone is or was a unique work of art. So maybe I can remember that I am, too. I want to drop the poor self-image of worthlessness and begin to see value in what I can do and how I feel about myself.
See also https://www.marshasummers.com/innerman/selfimage.htm]