Your self-image is the way you view yourself. You might view yourself as a parent, construction worker, friend, blonde, sports fan, intelligent, impatient, and middle-aged. But you’re more than your career, gender, and age. You’re more than your parents’ opinion.
You’re a unique person with nuances that are unique to you!
When who you are aligns with what you do, you’re living authentically. But most of us view ourselves as one way and live another. Authentic people act honestly and congruently.
The benefits of this congruency are enormous: success, self-esteem, respect from others, and inner peace.
Those that live lives misaligned with their values, beliefs, and attitudes suffer from more anxiety, guilt, and shame. It might seem easier to live up to the expectations of others in the short-term, but the long-term costs are significant.
Follow these steps to determine your true self and live life on your terms:
1. Identify your core values. An authentic self-image is one that is aligned with your values. By knowing your values, you’ll gain an understanding of what is important to you. Once you’re aware of your values, you can build a self-image and life that are more meaningful and enjoyable. Make a list of your values. Create a long list and include everything that you think applies to you. Then, reduce your list to the ten values that are most important to you. You might struggle to narrow your list to just ten, but ten values are plenty.
2. Determine if you have any conflicts. For example, you might say that adventure and freedom are two of your most important values, but what if you also strongly favor responsibility and security, Those values could be in conflict.
- When you’re faced with an inner conflict, you’re likely to shut down and do nothing. If you’ve ever been paralyzed while making a decision, it’s possible your values were in conflict. Think back to when you’ve struggled to make a decision and see if it’s true.
- Do you have any values listed that aren’t really priorities for you, We often carry around perspectives instilled by our parents. Here’s a newsflash: they may have been wrong. Take the time to determine your values for yourself. Disregard what society says you should value. You’re an individual.
3. Create an action plan for each value. Imagine one of your values is frugality. You could create a budget and savings plan that incorporates that value. You might plan to start clipping coupons, visit less expensive stores, and search for free entertainment options available on the weekends.
4. Make a list of activities you enjoy that are in alignment with your values. For example, if generosity is a priority, you could find an enjoyable way to spend your time helping others. If health is a value you cherish, you could join a soccer team or a yoga class. Find your favorite sport and participate.
5. Evaluate yourself at the end of each day. Think about the instances when you failed to live according to your values. Likewise, contemplate the times you were able to live according to your values and self-image, particularly when doing so was challenging.
Create a self-image that is in alignment with your values. First, it is necessary to identify and choose your values. Next, construct a life that allows you to live those values consistently and to thrive. Authenticity eliminates many of the common emotional ailments in life, but it’s not always the easiest choice.
Be bold enough to choose the person you want to become and live accordingly. The benefits are enormous. What are your values,
Angela Atkinson is a certified trauma counselor and the author of more than 20 books on narcissism, narcissistic abuse recovery, and related topics. A recognized expert on narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder who has studied and written extensively on narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic abuse in toxic relationships since 2006, she has a popular narcissistic abuse recovery YouTube channel. Atkinson was inspired to begin her work as a result of having survived toxic relationships of her own.
Atkinson offers trauma-informed narcissistic abuse recovery coaching and has certifications in trauma counseling, life coaching, level 2 therapeutic model, CBT coaching, integrative wellness coaching, and NLP. She is a certified trauma support coach and certified family trauma professional. She also has a professional PTSD counseling certification. Her mission is to help those who have experienced the emotional and mental devastation that comes with narcissistic abuse in these incredibly toxic relationships to (re)discover their true selves, stop the gaslighting and manipulation, and move forward into their genuine desires – into a life that is exactly what they choose for themselves.
Along with her solution-focused life coaching experience, Atkinson’s previous career in journalism and research helps her to offer both accurate and understandable information for survivors of abuse in a simple-to-understand way that helps to increase awareness in the narcissistic abuse recovery community. Atkinson founded QueenBeeing.com Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support, the SPANily Narcissistic Abuse Recovery Support Groups and the Life Makeover Academy.
She offers individual and group coaching for victims and survivors of narcissistic abuse at NarcissisticAbuseRecovery.Online.