The famous psychologist, William James, once said, “You’re not what you think you are, but what you think, you are!”
This quote is somewhat like a riddle. However, at its core, there’s a profound message: you’re in control of your future.
We know that it’s not always as easy as it sounds. This is what we will talk about in this post -- self-exploration. We want to know if you know who you really are. You may be surprised to realize that you might not be who you think you are.
Are you interested to know more? Then, let’s dive in!
What Power Your Mind Can Have?
The mind is one of the most powerful tools you have in your arsenal. It can affect our moods, well-being, and our overall view of life. Your mind is so powerful that you can become physically ill, even if there’s actually nothing wrong about you.
Let’s say you’re stressed out because of a job interview or an upcoming exam. Within a couple of days, all that anxiety will show itself as an actual disease.
You may begin experiencing digestive problems and your blood pressure will begin to rise. Some people even start having nausea, sweaty palms, and heart palpitations.
According to William James, if you create a mental picture of yourself—good or bad—you’ll begin to embody it. See how powerful your thoughts are!
Do You Have Positive or Negative Self-Schema?
Your schema is the collection of cognitive beliefs and generalizations of ourselves. We collect these from all our experiences and the messages we get from other people. These messages most often tell us who we are and how we react in particular situations.
In almost all cases, we develop these perceptions without us even knowing about them. Nonetheless, they still have a big influence on how we view ourselves to be. Whatever you believe is true, will inevitably become true for you.
Not all self-schemas are negative. There are many good self-schemas for your self-esteem and they inspire you to achieve more. For example:
- I’m a talented person.
- I’m outgoing
- I’m athletic
Then, some self-schemas are incomplete, distorted, or inaccurate. As a result, they compel us to look at ourselves, our choices, and our whole world negatively. They may make you feel hopeless, even worthless at times.
Some of these negative self-schemas are:
- I’m lazy
- I’m overweight
- I’m not successful
How Can You See Your True and Complete Self?
If you’ve been through any type of trauma or anxiety, you probably know by experience that a negative sense of self immediately follows. Your self-esteem is low and you begin to negative self-talk. It's dangerous to leave yourself vulnerable to these feelings of defeat and despair.
What's frightening is that anyone can have this distorted image of oneself. It's not only the experience of the weak or lonely. Even those who are resilient, courageous, or perseverant can go through this.
Always remember that you’re more than your self-schemas allow you to believe. Still, it can be difficult to see the bigger picture, particularly when times are tough.
Below are some things you can do to give support to yourself or someone you care about. They will remind you of your self-worth and help you see yourself as your true, complete self.
Don't let others determine who you are.
It’s so easy to let others dictate how we perceive ourselves, aka our schemas. The problem begins when we are convinced that that’s who we really are as individuals.
The only way to correct this is to take some time to reflect. Ask yourself, “Is this belief really true? Does it reflect who I really am?”
Remember that the picture others may have drawn up concerning you is incomplete. It may even be 100% incorrect. They don't know who you are and what you can do. Only you know that.
Control Your Own Thoughts
Were you able to question the truth of certain aspects of yourself? So, you know now that the way people perceive you isn’t always right.
When you recognize that, you will realize how unkind you had been to yourself. Don’t worry, we’ve all made the same mistakes of sabotaging ourselves or another.
Sometimes, we can be our own worst enemies. The good this is there are ways to avoid making the same mistake.
The simplest thing you can do is to focus on the positive, no matter how small you may think they are.
Begin with a few strength-based affirmations like the following:
- I welcome change.
- I’m grateful for all that I have.
- I don’t waste time feeling sorry for myself.
- Making mistakes doesn’t mean that I'm a failure.
- I am not giving up.
Let Yourself Be Whole
You are the sum of all your parts. You are not defined by one or two mistakes you made at work or even the victories either.
The real you is a combination of your strengths and weaknesses, failures, and achievements. Letting them coexist is the initial step to appreciating yourself and all you stand for. As soon as you realize that, you’ll begin to feel empowered and truly loved.
This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.