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Oct 30, 2023

One of my friends recently moved to another state to join a physician group practice. She was telling me that her hospital made a poster of her and planned to interview her. The video would be used as a marketing tool to promote her. While I expressed my excitement that she would be famous in her area, she did not think the same way. She told me how she had trouble looking at her own poster, and could not bear to see the upcoming video featuring her.

“Why?” I asked. What was she thinking about that she could not face herself?

Self-image is the perception we have of ourselves. It is subjective, and it may differ from what others think of you. How you see yourself is affected by your upbringing, what others say about you, how you internalize those information, and how you perceive you. It is partially affected by your personality. It includes the physical and mental concept of yourself.

Some people tend to have a positive image of themselves. They focus on their strengths and potentials. They understand their limitations and accept them. Other people tend to have a negative self-image. They focus on their weaknesses, their imperfections, their faults and failures.

What we think affect how we feel. We act on our emotions. If you think that you are ugly, or you look awkward talking in front of a camera, you likely will not feel confident in yourself. You may feel unworthy. You may feel intimidated or defeated even before you start doing something. You may want to hide. You may “play it safe” rather than trying your best or doing your best. How you see yourself affects your behavior and actions.

Imagine the action is related to patient care. If you have a negative self-image, you may think that you are not good enough – even though you have all the training you need. You may second guess your decision on patient care. This uncertainty vibe can easily be sensed by your patients. Who wants to have a doctor that thinks he/she is not good enough to care for the patient? The trust factor is compromised.

To have a healthy self-image is to recognize your strengths and accept who you are. You acknowledge your limitations yet you are not stuck because of them. You embrace who you are. You accept your imperfections. You work with what you have. You are willing to see your reflection and love what you see and how you feel. This does not mean you stop at that and not do anything. As we learn and grow in this world, our self-image tends to change over time. Yet we can still embrace who we are. Self-image affects our self-esteem and our self-confidence directly.

A healthy self-image is usually more positive. To be more positive in how you view yourself, first is to accept who you are. Love yourself. You are a unicorn. No one else in the world is like you. You have something special that others do not have.  

Write down your strengths. List them out. Appreciate them. Develop them.

Look at your accomplishments. What have you achieved and what does it say about you?

Other people do not think like you do. If they have a different opinion, especially if it is a negative one, do not take it to heart. Let others have the liberty to exercise their free speech and thoughts. That is something we have no control of, and that is okay.

Most importantly, practice gratitude. Be grateful for what you have, how you look, how you talk and how you think, and where you are right now. This does not mean that you are complacent; there is always room for growth and room to change.

Having a healthy self-image helps you grow. You are more willing to try new things and experiments. You are more light-hearted about your circumstances, especially when it comes to people criticizing you. You tend to be more curious in approaching things and question things or opinions which are not helpful to you.

Are you ready to stop feeling stressed and overwhelmed? Are you ready to have more time to do what you want?


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