5 Steps to an Authentic and Effective Self-Image

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! Be grateful for that!

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. Yet something else for which you can be grateful.

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.
  1. 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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.

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?


  1. Gaetane Ferland on July 2, 2017 at 4:53 pm

    So true Paul. Thanks for sharing!

    • Paul on July 4, 2017 at 8:39 pm

      You are welcome!

  2. Roy A Ackerman, PhD, EA on July 2, 2017 at 5:14 pm

    Too many folks have this problem- and your process can solve their problem.
    And, it happens with their firms, too. That take a slightly different approach, but this would be a good first step.
    Great share, Paul.

    • Paul on July 2, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks, Roy! In today’s society, my experience is that people are doing what others think they should do (and be). It becomes much easier when one is authentic!

  3. Kathleen Gage on July 2, 2017 at 6:38 pm

    Very nice article. I really like how you outline a simple process for true value.

    • Paul on July 2, 2017 at 7:06 pm

      Thanks, Kathleen! On a side note, I hope you are doing well! Miss you!

  4. Linda Reed Friedman on July 2, 2017 at 7:04 pm

    I enjoyed reading about the values. One session of the Perfect your Pitch workshop, asks people to select their values, determine the benefits and what they are willing to do to achieve them. Then the light is shown on their business, the why is felt and received. The message becomes clear. I am gifted everytime we do one.

    • Paul on July 4, 2017 at 8:38 pm

      One of these days (Thursdays?) I am going to make it to a session of Perfect your Pitch!

  5. Ian Paquette on July 3, 2017 at 6:29 am

    Really enjoyed your article Paul. We really are so much more and there are some great pointers here. Looking forward to reading more.

    • Paul on July 3, 2017 at 8:52 am


  6. Sara on July 4, 2017 at 6:46 pm

    Hi, Paul.
    Unraveling the person you think you can be a long process.
    I think more so if you respect the way your parents raised you.
    To face beliefs and world views and the fact that (gasp) you’re parents may have been wrong can be challenging to one’s self-image.
    I’m currently struggling with this very thing as it relates to blogging (and business). The inner conflict you speak of is very real to me. I know it’s because I’m not following a nudge that’s been in my heart since about March.
    The #blogboost challenge is how I’m processing it. As I process best through writing, it’s the perfect medium.

    • Paul on July 4, 2017 at 8:37 pm

      I am glad the Ultimate Blog Challenge is providing a mechanism to help you. Writing helps a LOT of things 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

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