Prepares you for building up your self-image. The self-image is the foundation that controls and affects your entire life and the way you respond to your universe. It is the key to human personality and human behavior. Change the self-image and you change the personality and the behavior. The title of this chapter means quite simply that you use your self-image as is (play me) or change it (trade me). In other words, don’t whine and complain about your misery, do something about it. Changing the self-image is exactly what you can and should do. In working with over 11,000 different patients since 1974, I have found that prior to completing their hypnotherapy, these patients did not have a self-image acceptable to themselves, nor were they at a level that would assure them of being able to custom design their own destiny.
Your self-image defines, for the moment, what you can and cannot do. It sets the boundaries of possible accomplishments. In order to broaden your horizons and expand your potential, you need to develop and enhance your self-image. This will now fill you with new talents, new abilities, new capabilities and the mechanism for transforming failure into success. It is this concept of self-image that explains the differences in various personalities noted in psychosomatic medicine. For example, consider these personality types:
There is a saying in reference to the latter two personality types. A pessimist sees a glass half filled with water as half empty. The optimist looks upon this same glass as half full. I prefer the concept of realistic idealism, and always try to think that my cup “runneth over” (that is why there is room in the glass for more water). It is critical to build up your self-image, since this is the way you view your world. We discussed how imagination affected the development and removal of fear. Our nervous system cannot tell the difference between an actual experience and an experience imagined vividly and in detail. Twentieth-century psychology has focused on the concept of the self image and its improvement. It is, by far, the most significant contribution the behavioral sciences have made to our growth as individual souls. Although our self-image may be quite different from the more superficial projection of our conscious mind proper (defense mechanisms), it functions as a type of blueprint of our true selves. Our self-image may be precise, vague, functional, dysfunctional, empowered, codependent and a myriad of other possibilities. It is a result of our beliefs, attitudes, fears and programming. This blueprint is not “etched in stone” and therein lies the beauty of this system. We can always change our blueprint and grow.
Although our self-image results from our interactions with other people and our environment, past experiences, our successes and failures, it will respond to reprogramming through self-hypnosis techniques. Once we compose a picture of our self, beliefs about this blueprint become real to us and we now act upon these beliefs as if they were hard facts. Your behavior, feelings, actions, talents, fears and insecurities are always in accord with this self-image. This results in your acting like the type of person you perceive yourself to be. By the principle of programming and creating your own reality, you manipulate the world around you to manifest this concept of yourself. Failure-type individuals will some way and somehow create situations in which they will fail. Others who are success-types would turn this very same opportunity into a positive conclusion. The defense mechanisms play an important role in the failure-type by rationalizing any unsuccessful result.
Expressions such as “I was meant to suffer,” or “I guess I’m not worthy”, surface to justify these situations. A vicious cycle of failure becomes established and accepted by you due to the repetition of this failure pattern. It becomes a Catch 22. By being passed over on a promotion for a position that you are most qualified for, you now utilize that failure as evidence that you weren’t really qualified in the first place.
In social situations you can imagine a young woman desiring to talk to a certain man she is attracted to, but procrastinating this communication because of a fear of rejection. Her self-image is too low to initiate this contact. Later she observes this same man engaged in a conversation with another young woman possessing a higher self-image. As this leads to the development of a relationship between these two individuals, our original woman now accepts the belief (now a fact) that she just isn’t good enough to meet Mr. Right. This can often result in her becoming involved in dysfunctional relationships with a series of Mr. Wrongs. One of the best examples of this principle applies to salespeople. Salesmen and saleswomen are constantly tested by the public. Their attitude, behavior and self-image will determine their success at closing deals. Salespeople are only as good as their belief in themselves and their product.
Several years ago one of my elderly female patients related a story of how she helped her son improve his sales ability. This kindly woman could not get through to her son, who was exhibiting several SDSs and was depressed about his poor sales record.
His mother informed him of an old European remedy her mother had given her just prior to her death. Since the salesman had held his late grandmother in rather high esteem, he considered her an authority figure. He agreed to try this remedy and his mother proceeded to prepare it. She told her son that she would place a small amount of this cure in a bowl of chicken soup to disguise the taste. Upon consuming this soup the salesman appeared to beam with confidence.
During the next three months this man set all sorts of sales records with his company. His personal life improved and he felt and looked years younger. His mother confessed to me that all she did was give her son a bowl of ordinary chicken soup, laced with a white lie. I informed her that the soup she served was far from ordinary. It contained an elixir of confidence and stimulated her son’s self-image growth allowing him to custom design his own destiny.
You are never too young or old to initiate this process of improving your self-image. This will result in alterations in your behavior, habits, personality and way of life. This is more than mere positive thinking. Positive thinking alone is like trying to use willpower (conscious mind proper) to eliminate a smoking habit. It may work for a while, but eventually you will substitute overeating or become very neurotic and resume the old smoking habit. The true origin of the difficulty is not removed by this method.
Once you fail at a particular task, the positive thinking becomes negative reinforcement of the still-existing belief that you are just fated to fail. The heart and soul of the problem is the self-image, with its beliefs, attitudes and programming. These must be changed and improved, not merely covered over with positive thinking.
Once you alter this concept of self-image by reprogramming it and improving its quality, all other aspects of your life consistent with this new self-image are accomplished easily and naturally. This principle has been established by thousands of studies and has been represented by the expression, “Whatever the mind can conceive and believe, it can achieve.”
Prescott Lecky, in his book Self-Consistency: A Theory of Personality, was one of the pioneers in self-image psychology. According to Lecky, personality is composed of a system of ideas, which must be consistent with one another. Inconsistent ideas, he found, are not acted upon and are simply rejected. Only ideas which seem to be consistent with this system are accepted and incorporated into the self-image. Lecky termed the “ego ideal” the foundation of the personality. This is the base upon which all other ideas were built. The ego ideal is the individual’s self image.
Being a teacher, it was simple to test his theory on several thousand students. The hypothesis Lecky formulated stated that poor students perform below their potential because doing well academically would be inconsistent with their self-image. It had nothing to do with inherent intelligence. Lecky then designed various ways to assist his students in raising their own self-image. These students were counseled and trained to redefine themselves in a positive light. The results were nothing short of astounding. In one case a student had failed so many of hi classes that he had to repeat the entire year. He had misspelled 55 words out of 100 just prior to entering Lecky’s program. The following year this same student raised his general academic average to 91, and became one of the school’s most accurate spellers. Another male student was dropped from one college due to poor academic performance, and through Lecky’s assistance entered Columbia University and consistently made the dean’s list.
Other examples cited by Lecky were a young male student who was informed by a testing bureau that his English scores were too low for him to consider college. This lad, subsequent to entering Lecky’s study, won an honorable mention the following year for a literary award. Another young female student failed Latin four times. She finally completed the next year with a B grade in this language.
How did Lecky work his magic? These students did not possess too low an IQ. They all had the potential for academic success but lacked the appropriate self-image. By identifying with their failures and mistakes, they considered themselves failures in general. This now programmed them to fail time after time.
By reprogramming their self-image, these students altered their ego ideal and began to think of themselves as successes. They now acted in a manner consistent with success and did far better in school as well as in other areas of their lives. This same technique was used by Lecky to assist these students in eliminating nail biting and other bad habits, even stuttering. One secret of success is to attain a high level of fulfillment in life. In order to accomplish this, you must raise your self-image, and other factors in your life will then improve and become consistent with this new higher image of yourself. I will present what I term the “New-You” technique. Lecky’s work previously discussed provides a firm scientific foundation for this principle.
It is critical that your self-image be one that you can believe in and trust. You must be proud of the inner you, the real you. If you are ashamed of whom you are today, you will block creative and other facets of your being that could act to improve your self-image. This will make it impossible for you to be empowered and to custom design your own destiny. Did you ever notice someone who is trying to convince you to buy something, or who tries to deflect your lack of satisfaction with a service they performed for you? They will appear nervous and unsure of their “pitch.” It is not difficult to sense that they are attempting to fudge their viewpoint and con you. These “weasels” have a very low opinion of themselves and an even lower one of you. Their actions are quite consistent with their self-image. Do not use them as role models, but learn from these less than ethical people what not to do. Know yourself and take an objective inventory of both your strengths and weaknesses. Your self-image should be based on a realistic appraisal of who you are today. We will work on raising that image, but do not delude yourself. Get the facts and work on these deficiencies.
You will always feel good when your self-image is secure and intact. Anxiety will be experienced when this concept of self is threatened and insecurity dominates. By raising your self-image, you are now free to be yourself, a new you, and to express yourself in a positive and confident manner. You can now maximize your abilities and creative expression. The latter quality is quite necessary if you are to custom design your own destiny. The opposite situation may result in your becoming difficult to get along with and hostile.
What we really want is more life in our existence on this planet. By more life I am referring to success, happiness, peace of mind, fulfillment, a sense of worth and so on. We enjoy life more when these qualities are established. The inability to establish these desirable qualities results in such things as self-hate, fear, anxiety and a host of other SDSs. This will result in a choking-off of life and condemn us to a life of misery and frustration.
You might wonder just what this mechanism is like that can literally turn our lives around and transform a failure type into a success-type. I can unequivocally state that thi is an impersonal mechanism that responds routinely to the positive programming I have alluded to throughout.
This system works automatically to assist you in achieving any goals of success and happiness, or unhappiness and failure. It all depends on how you program your subconscious. This is an impersonal system and negative programming will result in a failure-type personality. Positive programming gives rise to a successtype individual.
We will use imagination and the creation of mental images to attain these goals of building up the self-image.
Your limits and range of accomplishments are controlled by your self-image. Whatever the mind can conceive and believe it can achieve. In chapter 12 we will also deal with reality and allow the future to communicate with us.
The data we feed into this mechanism in the form of beliefs, attitudes, thoughts and interpretations program our subconscious mind to act in accordance with this programming. By learning, experiencing and practicing new ways of imagining, remembering, thinking and acting, you will improve your self-image and custom design your own destiny.
Do not be concerned with your ability to visualize. It is true that this creative talent has degenerated with the advent of television. Your parents and grandparents most likely possessed higher levels of this visual ability. The quality of your visualizations is not critical to the successful application of these techniques. Just remember that visualization is no more difficult than the process of remembering some scene out of the past, or worrying about the future. Acting out new action patterns is no more difficult than making a decision to alter some previous behavior pattern (such as taking a different route to work or school) and carrying it out. You have now just created a new reality and have laid the groundwork for making other changes to your psyche.
Here are some helpful hints that will assist you in improving your self-confidence:
1. Use your creative abilities. Your visual imagery talents combined with your psychic awareness will unlock an energy flow that will result in your accomplishing goals. As you do this, you feel better about yourself and this leads to more confidence as you begin work on your next goal. You do create your reality. The world in which you live begins in your mind.
2. Practice discipline. It is impossible to attain any desirable goal without sticking to your plan. This conscientiousness is what I mean by discipline. Only people with self-confidence can be disciplined consistently. This discipline will seem tedious at first, but as you improve your self-confidence, it will become ingrained.
3. Replace your usual rational thought processes with an open and intuitive attitude. When you suspend rational thoughts (the defense mechanisms or ego), you are enhancing your creative and psychic talents. The last thing you want to encourage is left brain (rational) activity which will only push away any attempt at psychic development and improvement to your self-image.
4. Assess the words you use in your everyday conversations with others. This also applies to what you say to yourself. Catch yourself when you say, “I am getting fat,” or “I just can’t seem to get anywhere.” These words will program your subconscious and lower your self-confidence.
5. End the natural tendency to doubt yourself. Doubts prevent growth. You cannot function as a self-confident soul by constantly doubting everything you do or say, or every decision you make. Eliminate the words, perhaps, maybe, I’ll take that under advisement, or I can’t make a decision. There are times when you will need to acquire more information to make a choice, but these will be the minority of situations you will face in your daily life.
1. Sit, relax and breathe deeply. Visualize yourself in your favorite relaxing environment. This may be the beach, a park or a cabin in the woods. Add the sounds of nature and the time of year you enjoy most.
2. Imagine yourself walking along in your favorite environment while looking up at the sky. You notice a rainbow has appeared and you focus your attention on the colors. You see red, orange, yellow, green, blue, purple and violet.
3. As you stare at this rainbow, you realize that as long as you can see it you can accomplish anything you want to do. It is not necessary for this rainbow to be present for you to accomplish your goal, but its presence assures a successful attainment of any quest.
4. Sit down now and think of the kind of person you would like to become. Review personality traits, health issues, finances and relationships. Focus on specific goals and aspects of your personality. Look up again and note the rainbow. You are now able to accomplish this goal of becoming who you want to be.
5. Imagine a large television screen in front of you. Now project the ideal you on the right side of this large TV.
6. This is called a split-screen effect as you now project an image of how you are on the left side of this TV. Imagine yourself now adjusting the fine-tuning knobs of this TV.
7. As you adjust the TV the ideal image of you becomes crystal clear, while the current image of you goes out of focus and then disappears completely. The ideal you is your new reality.
8. Look up one more time and note the presence of the rainbow. This image of you is now your new reality.
9. Meditate on this image for at least five minutes with soothing New Age music playing in the background.
10. Finally, breathe deeply, open up your eyes and say, “I am confident. I am in charge of my life and I now claim my power to improve my confidence level every day.” End your trance as usual.
Improving The Learning Process
Another application of your empowerment will be to speed up the learning process. We learn better when we study in hypnotic levels. The right brain is far more efficient than the left brain. The following suggestions (applied after practicing the self-hypnosis exercise previously given) will help you to improve your learning ability through the application of your psychic subconscious mind’s ability to be reprogrammed.
1. Give yourself positive statements about your intelligence and ability to learn.
2. Always use self-hypnosis exercises before doing any reading or other focused concentration activity.
3. Visualize yourself successfully attaining a goal. This might be an “A” on an exam, or some other desirable goal.
4. Ask your Higher Self for assistance in facilitating your learning.
5. Program yourself with the following statements when you are in a relaxed state:
A. I am a good student and enjoy studying.
B. I remember what I learn.
C. My mind will give me any information I desire.
D. Learning is fun and easy.
E. My subconscious allows me to learn faster.
F. My mind will always present information to me when I need it. You can add to this list. I highly recommend making a tape and playing it prior to any study periods.