Your Image

Posted on August 25, 2011


As we finish up the series of challenges this month in the Self-Worth Challenge, there is one area left that we need to tackle: Your Image (otherwise known as the way in which you choose to present yourself to the world.)

There is probably no faster way to communicate to others who you are and how you feel about yourself than the two-second first impression you will invariably make when you meet someone.

Are these quick, somewhat superficial impressions always accurate? Of course not. No one can really know who you are until they take the time and energy and effort to get to know your values, beliefs and personality. Are the impressions we give others about ourselves unavoidable? I’m afraid not.

The truth is, no matter how much you may yearn for someone to love you for what’s on the inside, (and we all yearn for this), the way in which you present yourself to the world on the outside speaks volumes about your levels of self-worth.

You already know this. Think of the guy who shows up for an executive corporate job interview in jeans and a wrinkly shirt. No matter how qualified he may be, he’s probably not going to be offered a second interview.  Or the woman who wears a mini-skirt to a black-tie wedding. She’s definitely sending several messages, one of which is that she has not respected the wedding couple’s dress code on their important day.

Now, both of these people may be wonderful, kind, loving people. They may be funny and smart. But no one is going to give them a chance to show who they are because a set of assumptions have already been made about them based on the image they’ve chosen to give to others.

Don’t fool yourself and don’t be naive. Your image matters and it matters a lot. And your image is a lot more than just the way you dress. Even though you may be wise enough to wear a suit to an interview or a longer dress to a black-tie wedding, have you thought about the messages you are sending about your self-worth to others every day?

Your image is not something that comes out only on special occasions. It is a conscious and active choice that you make each day. It is an advertisement of your self-worth (and in some cases, your lack of it).

Although you may really resist this uncomfortable truth, it exists: the way you dress, your body language and the shape you keep your body in sends a loud and clear message to others about your levels of self-worth even before you have the opportunity to introduce yourself.

When you really care about yourself and value yourself, you take good care of your physical body. You exercise, you eat healthy and you make sure to get regular check-ups. You don’t starve yourself nor do you allow yourself to risk the health problems that accompany obesity. You don’t engage in risky behaviors that could hurt you or others (such as excessive alcohol use, drugs and unprotected sex).

When you have a great deal of self-worth, your inner confidence shows through your body language.  Before you even speak, people know that you are a person who values herself because of the ways in which you hold your posture. Your level of eye contact and your gestures also send a clear message about your levels of confidence.

When you value yourself, you dress in a way that both fits your personality and is both flattering and appropriate for your body type, age and career aspirations.

Your image is actually much more than the aforementioned. But for this month’s set of challenges, we’re going to focus on three challenges that relate to the first impression of your self-worth that you are sending to others.