Everyone has a self-image, but how does a self-image get built? And what does your self-image have to do with who you are, and how you react in strange or unusual situations?
Your self-image, or your idea of who you are, is a package you put together from how others have seen and treated you, and from your conclusions as you compare yourself to others. Primitive people built homes from available materials – blocks of ice, animal skins, adobe, and logs. In this same way, when you were a child, you built your self-image from what was available.
Your construction materials were the reactions of significant others toward you. So, your self-image is simply a belief system you created. It is manifested in how you respond to the world around you – the people and situations that fill your days. However, these beliefs may or may not be accurate.
Now, your essential nature, the “real you” that exists apart from your behavior, your opinions, your habits, etc., is really quite wonderful because it is a storehouse of energy and potential that can do and be great things.
But if people, who didn’t have much self-esteem themselves, raised you around constant put-downs, you will not be able to use much of this amazing potential. You see, your behavior always matches your inner picture of yourself. In this, it makes sense to look at your beliefs, get rid of those that hold you back, and learn how to affirm and tap into your potential.
This same story applies to teams, departments, and entire organizations. In their beginnings, organizations defined themselves by the situation they were in and the lessons learned from interactions with the rest of the world. As time wore on, those definitions were tweaked when necessary, or didn’t change at all because of the core beliefs and values of the organization. Today, these same beliefs and values may be limiting the potential of the organization to change and grow.
The good news is that with a little self-reflection – whether by an individual or a group of individuals – old, outdated beliefs can be identified and either modified or completely changed. All it takes is a little bit of time and effort.