The self-image is the image of yourself that you hold in your mind. It could be that you think you are good looking, or you are too short, or too talkative, etc. Every belief about yourself stems from the self-image you believe in. This means that to overcome your inferiority complex you should change your self-image or the way you perceive yourself. Self-image is a mental picture you have about yourself. It need not necessarily be the truth, just as we perceive ourselves as inferior though we may not be, due to the inferiority complex. Today more and more individuals seem to have low self-esteem and a very negative self-image. This is evident from the way people are willing to go under the knife for corrective surgeries that help you get the shape of your nose, lips, or any body parts corrected or enhanced, or even anti-ageing operations. Dr. Maxwell Maltz, author of Psycho-cybernetics and a plastic surgeon of the mid 1900s says that many individuals who felt inferior about their ‘unusual’ looks have come to him for operations. According to Dr. Maltz, most of these individuals did not really have unusual looks and it was their self-image that made them magnify their little differences out of proportion. It was just their creative imagination that convinced them that they looked unusual.
There were many instances in which, even after the doctor successfully conducted plastic surgery on the people for their ‘believed’ condition, some of them still felt inferior. They would come back to the doctor requesting more surgery in a bid to look better or similar to some famous celebrities. He would operate on them again, only to have those people dissatisfied with their appearance once again. The end result couldn’t make them happy as they were dissatisfied with themselves.
However, in some cases, the patients would be satisfied with the results and would never approach the doctor for a repeat surgery. It was noticed that some people’s feeling of inferiority disappeared after plastic surgery while others who were more fortunate had their emotional scars cured without ever having to undergo surgery. This made Dr. Maltz very curious. He wondered why people who had their ’outer scars’ like facial deformities healed still continued to have ’inner scars’ like feelings of inferiority. Dr. Maltz conducted a research on this, which formed the basis of modern self-help psychology. He is also the founder of concepts such as visualization, creative imagination, self-talk, and changing the self-image. It was very clear through his findings that self-image and not actual physical appearance is the basis of any complex.
This anecdote reiterates that your self-image has enormous powers. It controls what you can and cannot do. The point is that if you see yourself as inferior, this self-image will ensure that you remain inferior. If you have a bad self-image, no amount of positive thinking, willpower, determination, or other techniques will cure your feeling of inferiority. Similarly, for any goal you set out to achieve, your self-image must also be in accordance with your desired future.