Words Shape The Image We Have of Ourselves
by Chinyere Nwosu
Have you ever felt more confident about your looks and skills after someone complimented you?
How about someone saying something awful or pointing out a weakness in something you gave your best? Does this make your heart sink?
The words that get into our heads play a role in shaping how we see ourselves. Your self-esteem shoots up when people praise you, and you feel down when criticized. In her work – Authentic – Dare to Be Real, Taffi Dollar said, “a conversation about images is not complete without dealing with the power of words, which play a critical role in shaping our mindsets.” Words get to us and shape our mindsets.
Words are the creative force we can use to effect change. Words matter.
We interact with words and describe our feelings in words. Our brains interpret things using words and images. The words that get into us become a part of us.
Developing an identity begins from the womb. Studies show that a fetus can hear sounds from the outside world and understand them well enough to retain the memories after birth (Skwarecki, 2013).
A fetus begins to recognise sounds in the last trimester of pregnancy as the sound processing part of the brain becomes active at this time. For this reason, newborn babies can recognise their mother’s and father’s voices, and as the baby grows, the parents become the first educators. Parental roles in upbringing are crucial to the development of personal identity in a child (Ceka & Murati. 2016).
Most of the input made by parents in this regard comes as oral instruction.
Besides inherited traits and the parental and family influence on us, our environment also plays a significant role in how we see ourselves. Have you heard the son of a business tycoon and the son of a peasant farmer speak? Without being told whose father is wealthy, you can tell them apart from their words and mannerism. The attributes they exhibit come from personality conditioning they develop over time based on their environment (school, work, friends, family, church, etc.). The words they hear make them conceive an image of themselves, envision who they can become, dream of success, and action their plans. As social beings, those around us influence how we see ourselves and interact with others(Matei. 2017).
What about what you say to yourself? The words we speak to ourselves affect our brain wiring and affect our overall wellbeing and life. What you focus on expands.
Despite the environment and the upbringing you have received from your parents, you can still build a positive, successful, and confident self-identity by using the right words to reconstruct your mindset. Change your mindset through autosuggestion.
Napoleon Hills described autosuggestion as “the agency of control through which an individual may voluntarily feed his subconscious mind on thoughts of a creative nature, or, by neglect, permit thoughts of a destructive nature to find their way into this rich garden of the mind.”
Words grip our minds and echo somewhere in the back of our minds long after we hear them the first time.
Mind what you say. Mind what you hear.