Seven Steps To Self Discovery – Familyvision Column

Paula is the most popular girl in high school. Only people who meet the criteria can join her social circle. The school seems to revolve around her. Her rival is Eva who is another snob. Eva hates Paula (and the feeling is mutual). One day Eva follows Paula home, hoping to find some dirt. Finally, Paula arrives at a homeless shelter. Eva becomes unhappy because she feels Paula is performing community service (just another medal on Paula’s chest). However, Eva is startled. Paula enters the food line and takes soup. She then sits her books on the bed and kisses two dirty old bums. Paula glances up and sees Eva. Paula is overcome with fear. One of the dirty bums looks up at Paula and says, “Tell momma who’s your little friend?” Paula gets hysterical.

The Major Question

How are you going to handle another crisis? Do you really understand yourself? If you don’t, how are you going to move forward in your life? These lines of questioning may appear strange until you look around and see people pretending to be something that they are not. In our daily living, online discussions, and seminars, we converse with many people on a very personal level. Some people appear totally together on the outside, but sadly enough, they are decaying on the inside. They are so obsessed with portraying the right public image that they fail to achieve their purpose. Images are the roles people play in life, like actors, to help them jointly co-exist with their personal needs and the demands of society.

Having the right image is natural and a part of you, unlike performing a role on stage. On stage, an actor recites lines, but when a person has the correct image, he or she writes the lines instead. Unfortunately, some people are only interested in what others think of them. Why else would people a) buy cars and homes they can’t afford, b) get in relationships with people they don’t love, c) join organizations that contradict their beliefs, or d) maintain friendships that are quite shallow? Are people really that lost? According to one study, 36% of people surveyed viewed their bodies as the most critical aspect of their self-esteem.

The Focus Point

Understanding how you feel about yourself is key to your success. Self-concept is a combination of beliefs that interpret how you feel about yourself and your environment. These beliefs start when people are children and continued to develop, as they become adults. Brian Tracy, goal-setting expert, says, “Whenever you have a high self-concept, you perform well.” The self-concept has three ingredients: self-ideal, self-image, and self-esteem. First, your self-ideal is a combination of all of the attributes and qualities of people that you most admire (an aunt, father, Michael Jordan, etc.). The self-ideal sets the course for your life. People are always measuring themselves against this model. Secondly, the self-image is the way you see yourself and think about yourself. Lastly, self-esteem is the single most important element that will determine your attitude and personality. Self-esteem is defined, as how much you like yourself. The more you like yourself, accept yourself, and see yourself as a valuable person, the higher your self-esteem will be. Here are some things you should consider:

1. How do I really feel about myself?
2. Do you have a vision of who you want to be?
3. Who am I trying to be like in my life?
4. What image am I portraying to my family & friends?
5. How positive is my self-concept?
6. Am I in negative surroundings? If so, can you change?
7. Are you willing to move toward your vision?

The Move Ahead

Your attitude is a good place to start changing your self-concept. Success begins in the mind. Your self-ideal determines your direction. Your self-image determines the way you will perform. Your self-esteem determines your energy level, motivation, and enthusiasm about life. The more you perform consistently from day-to-day in the way you want to perform, the higher your self-esteem will be. A good attitude provides a positive filter through which you can shield your self-image from all of the negativism. “Doing your best” simply means you recognize that success starts with doing your best with whatever tools God has given you. Start today!