When you put personal image and self-worth together, it can be a pretty controversial topic. The same topic that got me crucified over and over, the last couple of years. The two nouns, if put together, are so cringed-upon but I still firmly stand by it. Do they even belong in the same sentence? Yes, they do and let me tell you why.
Firstly, let us look at the definition of self-worth. What is self-worth? It simply means having a favourable opinion of yourself; having unshakable faith in yourself and in your ability to follow through and get things done. Having a high degree of self-worth means feeling worthy of all good things.
Personal image is all about how people see you; the way you walk, talk, dress, and conduct yourself in public. Personal image basically is the conduit that helps translate the person that you are to people out there. Like it or not, human beings are visual creatures; what you see is what your brain likes it to be. Therefore, a positive personal image is important to set you apart from the crowd.
There is one study that depicts this really clearly. In the 50’s, Dr Albert Mehrabian did a study which stays true right till this very day. A pioneer researcher of body language, Dr Mehrabian found that everytime someone conveys something verbally, the impact of the message consists of just 7 percent verbal; this means whatever the content of the conversation is .38 percent vocal; this includes the tone of voice, inflection and other sounds. An astounding 55 percent comes from the non-verbal aspects of the conversation.
Studies over and over have shown that when negotiating over the phone, the person who has a stronger voice usually emerges as the winner. However, when it is taken on a face-to-face level, the opposite is true; someone with an earnest projection, who takes pride in the way he or she presents herself, gets the cookie.
Despite the arguments on what is politically-correct, we do make judgments when we meet a person for the first time. No matter what we say, creating a first good impression goes a long way when it comes to nearly every aspect of our life. Imagine two individuals walking in to an interview session; one with a lacklustre way of dressing, walking and projecting him or herself while the other candidate is the complete opposite; shoulders down, back straight, smiles as he or she walks in to the room, smells marvellous and takes pride in the way he or she dresses – in this case, who will we zoom-in our attention to? Without doubt, the latter.
So, why does self-worth go hand in hand with personal image, you may ask? To put it simply, when you take yourself seriously and know that you deserve nothing but the best, you would strive to put your best foot forward. This means knowing what looks best on you and how you should conduct yourself in and off-public. Ensuring you look your best has got nothing to do with shielding a bad self-esteem, a notion that is widely believed. It has everything to do with respecting yourself and knowing you deserve nothing but the best; physically, mentally and emotionally.
In my sessions, I have often been faced with questions and arguments on why should one dress-up or conduct themselves, with others in mind. On the contrary, being good to yourself and treating yourself with utmost respect, knowing your value and believing you deserve nothing but the best, have got everything to do with your own high degree of self-worth.
If you put things in perspective, this is applicable to every aspect of our lives. We put our best in our work, for the whole world to judge at how capable or smart we are. At the end of the day, yes, the accolade and recognition from others make us feel on top of the world but the personal sense of achievement, knowing we have done our best and put our best ideas forth, is irreplaceable and priceless.
The concept of self-worth may be a less popular topic than its more controversial cousins; self-confidence and self-esteem. That however, does not mean that self-worth is of less importance. Self-worth is at the very core of ourselves; our thoughts and behaviour are intimately linked into how we view our worthiness and value as human beings.