Each of us carries a self-image in mind and heart. I attach to myself certain adjectives, strengths, weaknesses, and other personality traits. I carry a particular view of how I think others see me. I automatically put myself in some categories but not in others.
Some of the toughest reimagining has to do with the way we view the self. And yet, that’s precisely the reimagining we often need the most. How many times and in how many ways have we been held back from claiming our beauty and our gifts because those aspects of ourselves did not fit the image we held so tightly?
What aspect of that self-image could use some reimagining?
Would it help for me to picture myself as the age I am rather than the age I used to be? Sometimes I think that my dissatisfaction with my physical self is rooted in my image of myself from years ago. Sometimes I’m frustrated with my lower energy because I think I should be able to keep the pace of a 30-year-old. Am I willing to carry an image of myself as the 50-something I am right now?
Can I adjust my list of strengths and abilities to fit the reality of all I have learned and developed through the years? Is it accurate for me to think of myself as mainly introspective and private—even though I have learned great people skills and function well in situations that call for conversation and networking? Should I still see myself as slow with technology even though I am now quite proficient with multiple software systems and social media formats?
Is it time to own the good work I’ve done as a mother, sibling, spouse, or friend? We are quick to remember the failures and shortcomings but too quick to forget the effective conversations, the acts of charity and forgiveness, and the love we have offered.
Dare I call myself an artist or minister—with or without a steady paycheck or a title? If I process my life by writing poetry or stories or reflections, then I have every right to call myself a writer—whether or not I’ve ever published or am known for writing. I may never have a degree after my name or become ordained as deacon, pastor, or priest; nevertheless I nurture and help the souls of others in many ways—and people recognize those gifts and respond to them.
- In what ways has your self-image changed or been reimagined?
- What makes such reimagining difficult?