> Spirituality > Personal Growth

Building Your Self-Image

May 9, 2009 | by Zelig Pliskin

Tools for banishing those negative perceptions of self.

Based on Rabbi Pliskin's newest book, "Building Your Self-image and the Self-image of Others".

When the author of the classic Talmudic works, Chazon Ish, was three years old and knew the Hebrew alphabet, he said to his father, "I know the entire Talmud. Let's open up any volume and I will tell you what each letter is."

He didn't yet understand the content of those pages, but his self-image was that he was in possession of the building blocks of all that knowledge and wisdom. This positive sense of self was the foundation upon which he built an awesome personality.

By upgrading your self-image, you can upgrade your way of speaking and acting. This improves character traits, emotional states, and your ability to make and reach worthwhile goals.

Building your self-image is a lifetime process. Every positive act that you do builds your character. Every positive goal that you set -- and reach -- raises your identity.

Of course, it's possible to do many positive actions and reach many worthwhile goals -- and still be highly self-critical. It's possible to self-talk your way to a negative view of yourself.

Right this moment, make a commitment to omit negative statements about yourself -- both from your thinking and from your speaking. Focus on your lifetime goal of becoming a better and greater person. If you ever catch yourself needlessly putting yourself down, say, "Next." From there, go to thoughts that will bring out your best.

The Five Affirming Attitudes

What are some of the attitudes that will help us in our journey to 'unlimit' ourselves?

[1] "Every positive word that I say and every positive action that I do is part of my process of building my self-image." Keep a self-image building journal. Commit yourself to writing down at least 10 self-image building actions that you did every day. These can be moments of self-mastery, kind words and actions, and/or doing what is difficult for you to do.

Carry positive brain patterns wherever you go.

[2] "If I can do something once, I can do it again." Every positive pattern of speaking and acting that you have applied even once is stored in your amazing brain, with its 100 billions neurons. Therefore you take along every positive pattern wherever you go. Identify with your positive patterns. The more frequently you choose those patterns, the easier it become for you to apply them often.

[3] "If someone else can do something, I can learn to do it, too." Is this totally accurate? No. There are skills and talents that others will have, that you might not. But there are tremendous amounts of skills and talents that you can learn from. "Who is wise? The one who learns from everyone," the Sages teach. This attitude will help you develop in every area of life. Find teachers and role models for all of the patterns of speech and action that you wish to have for yourself.

[4] "I will constantly picture myself as I wish to be." Don't needlessly limit yourself by identifying yourself with past limitations and faults. Mentally visualize yourself speaking and acting in the ways that you wish to be. Each time you do this, you are upgrading the picture of yourself in the archives of your brain.

[5] "I will consistently speak to myself in ways that encourage and inspire me." Being around someone who is constantly negative and puts you down is highly debilitating. It's bad enough if this is an outside person, but when the enemy of your potential excellence is your own inner voice, that is much worse. The good news, however, is that right this moment, you can intensely commit yourself to speak to yourself the way a master self-image builder would speak to you.

Water on the Rock

When Rabbi Akiva started studying Torah at the age of 40, he studied and forgot, studied and forgot. He became discouraged and was ready to give up. He passed by a rock and observed that dripping water had made a hole in the rock. He said to himself, "Each drop of water has only a miniscule effect on the rock. But when water persistently falls on the rock, it eventually makes a major impact. I will persist in my Torah studies and will eventually make a breakthrough."

This perception transformed Rabbi Akiva's life. At first he viewed himself as one who was incapable of studying and knowing. Now he viewed himself as one who would succeed, with patience and persistence.

Here are some daily affirmations that have proven to be helpful to those who repeat them regularly:

"My choices create me. I will wisely choose my thoughts, words, and actions."

"My immense value is a Divine gift. I have had immense value from my first moment of life and it stays with me my entire life."

"Nothing anyone says to me can take away my immense value."

"I will consistently speak to others in ways that are self-respecting and respectful."

"All needless limitations are just from my imagination. In my imagination I will see myself going way beyond these imaginary limitations."

"My thoughts are the key to my self-image and my emotions. I will focus on joyful and empowering thoughts."

I am a person who grows from each and every challenge.

"I am a person who grows from each and every challenge."

"I am building and developing my character each and every day."

"I will see the positive in other people and I will say and do what I can to help build their self-image."

"I am becoming more and more self-confident all the time."

"Each and every day I will choose to speak and act in ways that keep developing my self-image."

Intrinsic Human Value

Your self-image is your identity. Your self-image is your answer to the question, "Who am I?"

The Torah view of who you are is that you are created in the Almighty's image. You are a child of the Creator. The world was created for you to meet your life mission. In the words of the saintly Chafetz Chaim, "The Almighty loves each person more than each person loves himself."

When you are resolved to view yourself from this perspective, you know that you have immense value and worth. You don't have to prove your value and worth, it is a Divine gift. You just need to claim it with your thoughts.

Based on Rabbi Pliskin's newest book, "Building Your Self-image and the Self-image of Others".


Leave a Reply

🤯 ⇐ That's you after reading our weekly email.

Our weekly email is chock full of interesting and relevant insights into Jewish history, food, philosophy, current events, holidays and more.
Sign up now. Impress your friends with how much you know.
We will never share your email address and you can unsubscribe in a single click.
linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram