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Self-image – Looks, But What Else?




Normally, when people speak of self-image, the first thing that comes to their mind is appearance. Although body image and appearance are a big part of self-image, however, it is not the only thing that constitutes the word “self-image”. Other things like mindset, character traits, personality traits and habits, and social roles along with physical appearance, create a complete self-image of a person.

Everyone wants a positive self-image but only a few become able to maintain it. Creating a positive self-image is not only physically healthy but emotionally, socially, intellectually, even financially is highly beneficial. As the saying goes, “change begins from within”, so is the beginning of developing a positive self-image from one’s inner change of mindset, thought patterns, habits, and practical methods dealing with life.  

According to Random House Dictionary, self-image means “an idea, conception, or mental image one has of oneself”. But thing meaning is not limited to outer appearances only, it also encompasses all the above-mentioned aspects.

From self-image to self-esteem

The deeper meaning and concept of self-image is deeply related to self-worth, self-concept, or self-efficacy. These are all inter-related terms that ultimately lead towards self-esteem.

In simpler terms, self-image is how you view yourself as a personality in toto, or how you feel about yourself when you see yourself in the mirror. 

While self-esteem constitutes the perception that you have about yourself concerning social and emotional situations. This is also closely related to self-confidence and self-respect. 

For instance, you might know and accept yourself as a poor person, but this acceptance and self-image might not allow you to opt for beggary or seeking debts. This is because of the self-esteem that you carry within yourself that has given you a perception of being poor but self-reliant.  

What constitutes a positive self-image?

Here are a few things that constitute a positive self-image, other than physical appearance:

  1. Mindset

“Mindset is the key to everything”, as they say. Anything goal that you want to achieve in life is highly related to a positive mindset about it. It is the thought process in your mind that not only perceives the goal but also shapes your habits and routines around it.

For a positive self-image, mindset is the stepping stone towards confidence, contentment, and achievement.

Change your language, change your mindset, change your actions, change your life.

– Danny Stone

2. Character traits

Character is a reflection of one’s mindset and thinking as it is a practical implementation of what is going on in your mind about a certain thing.

Some of the positive character traits that create a healthy self-image include:

  • Integrity, honesty, uprightness
  • Sincerity, transparency, accountability
  • Responsibility, acceptance of failure/mistakes
  • Justice, compassion, empathy, generosity, humanity
  • Love, respect, equality, cooperation
  • Patience, forgiveness, acceptance of diversity
  1. Personality traits and habits

One’s personality and habits in daily life say a lot about their self-image. For instance, a person with a confident self-image might have a habit of remaining clean and keeping his/her surroundings tidy as they value their “on fleek” image. 

Similarly, some personality traits reflect a person’s concept of self-worth which he regards highly. For instance, 

  • Insightful
  • Humorous
  • Lively
  • Optimism
  • Loyalty
  • Courage
  • Self-care as in physical and mental well-being
  • Adaptability, flexibility
  • Resilience 
  • Politeness
  • Reliability
  • Problem-solver
  • Socially active
  • Organized
  • Creativity 
  1. Social roles

Social roles also play an important part in shaping a person’s self-image and vice versa. Sometimes, a positive self-image and self-esteem might influence a person’s choice of social role. For instance, an artistic person would not want a 9-5 bank job because their self-image of a professional artist would not allow them. 

Thus, a person chooses to behave as a parent, professional, friend, partner, according to the self-image they carry for themselves.

When it comes to self-image, only looks are not important. Many other aspects of emotional, mental, and social levels are also considered. All these aspects combine to create a person’s self-image and self-esteem which makes him act and live in society, accordingly.


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