Self-Image Interview with: Dania Niles
You might think, "My self-image is fine! Why would I need to repair? or strengthen it?"
All of us are constantly under pressure to fit in, develop our skills and be accepted with ease.
Your self-image isn't something you have or have not. Your self-image is a constant work in progress. It's always changing — whether you realize it or not — as your life experiences, circumstances, and relationships with others change.
And it's all controlled by you.
Particularly when you are trying to improve yourself that can mean an awful lot of pressure.
The good news is that this interview with Dania Niles (Adult Educator, Life Skills Coach & Community Engagement Manager for a NFP organization in Toronto) will provide you with a few tips on how you can repair and strengthen your self-image by improving your knowledge based on her personal lived experience with the topic.
Now let's hop right into the interview:
Question #1: What should people understand about the importance of self-image?
Your self-image is the key to living the life you desire. It determines how you show up in the many areas of your life based on the thoughts that you have about yourself. One’s self-image is the blueprint or the mental picture that we create of ourselves and it is built from our beliefs about ourselves which is influenced by our:
Self-concept ( how you think about yourself)
Successes and failures
Embarrassments and Highlights
The way other people have reacted to us, especially in early childhood.
Our self- image has been constructed over a period of time and it really is a reflection of who we think we are. The great thing about self-image is that we decide when to create and redesign it however and whenever we want!
Question #2: In your opinion, what steps should be taken to shift one’s self-image from negative to positive?
The first step to shifting from a negative self-image into an adequate one is acknowledging the self-image that currently exists. If we are to make any shift’s in our lives we must be honest about where we are.
Once we’ve discovered where we are, the next thing I would encourage us to do is accept it. Knowledge and acceptance are two different things, it’s possible to have knowledge without the ownership of our thoughts and actions.
After acceptance my advice would be to get educated. Education can be facilitated in many ways e.g. YouTube, Instagram lives, reading books, therapy, support groups, joining workshops and webinars on the topics that you would like to learn. In today’s world information is just a search away. And the final step would be action!
It’s important that the information and tools that we’ve gathered and learned are used to effect the change that we want. Because we are working on changing behaviours and thoughts that we’ve held for years, we must understand that it is going to take some time to get used to our new way of thinking, doing and being.
It is imperative that we create coping tools so that when the old behaviour shows up (because believe me it will),that we have actions in place to get us back on track. An example of that for me is any time I have negative thoughts, I say to myself “GET THIS GARBAGE OUTTA HERE!”’ (Jack Armstrong , raptors commentator) and I replace it with an opposite thought.
Remember that change takes time. Give yourself grace and compassion as you would give to others.
Question #3: How did having a negative self-image affect you in the past and what advice do you have for someone who is currently in this position in life?
Having a negative self-image made me lose many opportunities, because my go to thoughts were always what could go wrong.
A negative self-image had me in a place where I was not making room for change because I approached a lot of situations and opportunities with pre-judgements and because of those pre- judgements I did not allow myself to have genuine experiences because I came in thinking I had all the answers.
I’ve lost some good friends because of it. It wasn’t until the last couple of years that I came to the realization that I needed to cultivate love for myself because it begins with me. A negative self-image had me looking for love in all the wrong places. A negative self-image created the non-existence of sunshine, joy and peace in my life.
A negative self-image had me stuck, sometimes feeling hopeless and the funny thing is to the eyes of those looking on, I seemed to have it all together, when most of the time I was a HOT mess. I became really good at hiding what was really going on for me.
I had to make a decision to go inward to find out what changes I needed to make. Changes that again required me to see and recognise the truth about myself. Some of these truths were hard to accept because although I had an image of who I was and what I projected, my image and my reality were not aligned.
I was tired of feeling not being enough, unworthy and engaging in self-sabotaging behaviour. So I decided to do something about the way I was feeling. I sought out a therapist which by the way took some time.
I almost gave up looking and right when I was about to say fuck it, I found an amazing therapist who to this day I still see. I also read books, watch and listen to Youtube videos about how to change negative mindsets, the importance of personal development and integrating good habits into my daily life. I’m still a work in progress but I am not who I used to be. I had to learn to be okay with being vulnerable and not see vulnerability as a weakness but rather a strength.
I also took personality tests, I intentionally worked on myself because I realized that was the key to the change that I desired. I had to put in the work to get the results that I wanted. I also had to learn to enjoy my own company because a lot of the work that you do will be done alone and in silence.
And so isolation became my peace, a way to silence the noise and the distraction so I could focus on the self-work ahead of me.
Question #4: How does self-image play a role in entrepreneurship?
Self-image plays a major role in entrepreneurship.
If you don’t believe in yourself, your chances of succeeding are slim. To be successful you have to change your limiting beliefs, thoughts and feelings of unworthiness and not being enough.
Altering your language is important when creating the self-image that you want and as an entrepreneur you need to learn to replace words like can’t with can, remove absolute words like always, and replace them with words like often, frequently etc.
This is necessary because words are powerful, what we say and think to ourselves becomes our reality. Being an entrepreneur requires risk taking and to achieve those goals you have to think and behave like you already possess what it is that you want. Being an entrepreneur requires the use of your imagination.
We often think that use of our imagination is only useful during childhood and once we become adults we are taught that imagination is only a child’s playground. A paradigm shift is a must as an entrepreneur.
Question #5: What other information do you want to add to this interview that I haven’t asked you and would be useful for other people to know about self-image?
You have to take the time to do a deep dive and ask yourself some questions like who do I want to be?
What do I want out of life?
How do I get to my goals. What shifts do my desired self-image require of me?
Some of this reflection will be uncomfortable, painful and hard to accept. However, it is part of the journey to healing and transformation. Imposter syndrome will show up, negative thinking will rear its head.
But I encourage you to lean into it even if you don’t like what you see, allow yourself to experience the process and I promise you, you will not regret it when it is all said and done.
I’d like to share some books that have helped me:
The Shadow Effect by Deepak Chpra, Debbie Ford and Mariane Williamson
Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
The Magic Power of Self-Image Psychology be Maxwell Maltz
Vibrate Higher Daily by Lalah Delia
The Gift of Imperfection by Brene Brown
Awaken the Giant Within You by Tony Robbins
What You Think of me is None of my Business by Terry Cole Whitaker
Get out of Your own Way by Dave Hollis
Other resources that help me get to know more about myself were:
Myer’s Briggs- Personality Test
Core Values PDF
Gallup Strengths Test
Skills Inventory Test
Always remember that change takes time. Give yourself grace and compassion as you would give to others. Be present through your journey. Spend time with yourself in reflection and imagination.
See yourself as the person you would like to become and with small steps make it happen. Be mindful of comparing yourself to others because you are wonderfully made and we all have our unique paths that we will travel.
Speak life to yourself, especially on the hard days. Find time to laugh and be silly. When it comes to finding your tribe, be yourself and your tribe will find you. But most importantly love yourself and treat yourself kindly because you set the standard on how others will treat you.
Question #6: Is there anything you would like to promote or highlight in regard to your business? How can people find you for more information?
I am currently rebranding my business The Art of I Am. However you can find me on Instagram @theart_ofiam or my personal page @thechiquebald.
Self-esteem is the belief that you are a valuable, worthwhile person no matter what other people think. It is not just the absence of self-doubt; it is the knowledge that you have something valuable to contribute to the world.
So in order to strengthen your self-esteem, make sure your achievements are not just spectacles or symbols that impress other people: focus on what you can do for yourself.
The reality is that self-esteem comes from within.
Other people cannot give you a sense of worth; it's not something someone else can hand over to you. It's something that you earn, and the best way to do that is to accept who you are and recognize the shortcomings that make you human.
Once you do that, you'll realize that those shortcomings aren't shameful flaws—they make you the person that you are. You'll also be able to see the strengths and talents that make up your character, and realize that they have value because they're part of your being.
You are worthy because of what's within, not what's without—that's a great lesson to learn, but one with a lot of hard work necessary along the way.
A huge thank you to Dania for taking time out of your schedule to participate in this interview, blessings lovely.
Thank you everybody for reading this month's post and I appreciate your time!
Filled with Gratitude,
Tara "Articulate Tee" Omorogbe