Whether we like it or not, who we think we are determines how we function. All the information on successful achievement, all the information on why we fail, all the information on realizing our potential in life, boils down to who we believe ourselves to be…our self-concept.
There are three basic ingredients that together create a self-concept. They are the ideal self, the self-image, and the amount of esteem you have for yourself. The ideal self is that toward which we move on our chosen life-path. Our ideal self might be like a personal hero, or role-model whom we emulate. Or it might be a set of valued personal qualities we want to develop. Our self-image is the picture we currently have of ourselves in our own minds. The amount of self-esteem we have for that image determines how accepting and loving we are toward ourselves.
When we mix these three ingredients into a total self-concept, we become a living expression of that mental combination. And each of us has the ability to determine the quality of those three ingredients.
Freeing your personal potential from the prison of an inaccurate, inadequate or negative self-concept is the critical foundation for achieving anything you genuinely desire in your life. When you become aware of who you really are, independent of childhood programming, you unleash your own growth and delight in being alive…in being human…in being your absolutely unique self.
It might help to describe a maximally healthy self-concept. Keep in mind, that each one of us has demonstrated the following characteristics at least once in our lives. Every one of us has all these qualities either in seed form, sprout form, developing form or in fully-mature form.
You are in control of the quality of your life. When you become aware that neither someone else nor circumstance determines how you think and choose to respond, you begin to realize your personal, creative power.
We can all free ourselves from fear, anger, guilt and negativity, by consciously choosing (and practicing) our thinking habits and our habitual responses to others or our situation. Take 100 percent responsibility for your thinking and emotions, and you begin to realize the joy of personal empowerment.
Become aware that thoughts are causes. Thoughts cause our biochemistry to change, our emotional responses to change, our attitudes to change, our behavior to change. If you think about giving a speech in front of 1,000 people, you modify all these things. If you have an erotic fantasy, you alter all these things. If you interpret events as dangerous, you function differently. Your thinking and the meaning you give to your thoughts cause your reality to form. You want different results in your life? Start by altering your thinking habits. Remember, thinking habits are usually called "beliefs."
A powerful impact
Expect everything in your life to work out well. We know that every human being responds to expectations. We know that what we expect is more likely to occur. Four decades of scientific research on expectation effects clearly demonstrate that your expectations have a powerful impact on what you become and on the relationships you have with others. People almost always live up to expectations. So expect the best from yourself, from others and from your life-circumstances.
The "law of attraction" is: like a living magnet, our self-concept and our predominating beliefs attract into our lives the people and events that best harmonize with the content of our conscious minds. We can powerfully impact the quality of our relationships to ourselves, others and our lifestyles, by controlling the content of our thoughts, beliefs, and expectations about the future. To paraphrase a 2,000-year-old adage: as a person thinketh, so he becomes. In other words, what you think, the content of your mental life, is not only what you attract to you, it is who you are and who you become.
We know the people who are most successful at living, enjoy better health, have more loving friendships, and derive great joy in being alive, are the ones who have created for themselves a positive, healthy self-concept. Have fun creating yours!