How’s Your Self-Image?

March 18, 2023

How do you honestly evaluate yourself?  Can you imagine as magnificent a being as the Persian poet, Hafiz of Shiraz describes?

                 “I wish I could show you when you are lonely or in darkness                                               the astonishing light of your own being.”

Most of us can’t.  Most of us use all manner of unhealthy strategies to boost our minimal self-esteem. 

Do you tend to “people please?”  This habit robs us of genuine autonomy because our actions and sense of worth are based on others’ perspectives rather than our own. 

Do you use competition as a barometer of your own success or failure?  While it can be an effective form of motivation for some, competition can have a demoralizing and anxiety-producing impact on others. 

One of the most stressful events in my preteen years was participating in a high-diving contest in order to please my father.  He was thrilled with my victory, but I never enjoyed any of the process, prize or accolades because I found the competitive experience so stressful.  Sure, I won a coveted trophy and pleased my dad, but the cost to me tainted that memory for over five decades! 

Toxic relationships can also signal marginal self-esteem.  Psychologist and relationship guru Barbara DeAngelis, Ph.D. emphasizes the following qualities when looking for a partner (and I believe these should apply to all our close relationships): maturity, responsibility, integrity, a commitment to personal growth, emotional accessibility, a positive attitude toward life and healthy self-esteem.  When I first read about those qualities in my early 30’s, DeAngelis’ recommendations felt like a dream list that could never truly materialize. But as I pondered further and started paying closer attention to my choices, I realized some of my relationships revealed a lack of self-respect and worthiness.  What do your choices in significant relationships say about your own view of yourself?   About your expectations for your own happiness and fulfillment?   

There are numerous other ways we manifest a self-image that’s lacking.  A lifestyle characterized by chaos or consistent lack of structure… an unhealthy diet… anxiety in social settings… and even a need to over-explain—these patterns can all suggest an esteem and confidence level that need improvement. 

During this one precious lifetime, we all deserve better!  We deserve to make choices based on our own interpretations of success, our own values and priorities… to enjoy healthy relationships and lifestyles… ease, contentment and fulfillment. Fortunately, there are effective ways of challenging and shifting our distorted beliefs about ourselves.  I’ve found a few, including art therapy, especially helpful in my wholistic coaching practice.   

Most recently, I’ve discovered MARI: Mandala Assessment Research Instrument.  It’s the most comprehensive psychological assessment tool available today; it’s also a fun and powerful instrument for boosting self-image and esteem! Through symbols and colors, MARI helps you learn about the amazing depth and breadth of your own being within potentially 13 life stages that all humans traverse multiple times during a lifetime. I’ve never worked with a client yet who hasn’t been inspired by the information revealed through MARI. 

If you find it difficult to imagine “the astonishing light of your own being,” please go to: to learn more about MARI.  Afterwards, feel free to text me @ 360.317.4526 so I can answer any questions and schedule your first session. 

With best wishes in the meantime…

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