A friend remarked that she “wish to have your (=my) self-image.” That made me think about how we can possibly understand the various ‘self-images’ floating around us in the form of our fellow humans.
My Image of the self, can be understood as how I view myself. But the theory that, ‘how I view myself is how I view others’, will not apply in case of Self Image because this particular view of myself is very personal to me. It makes me able to differentiate or associate with other people in varying degrees of the image-continuum.
I have been able to put people into 3 broad buckets of the type of self image they have of themselves. Of course human nature is more complicated than being jacketed into only 3 specific types, but for simplicity of this idea lets just read along:
1) Empty Self Image type 1
2) Empty Self Image type 2
3) Self affirming image
I will start with the last one first and proceed in the reverse order paying heed to the prevalence of each type.
The Self affirming image: About 70 percent of us have this type of view of ourselves where we define ourselves as nice people who are caring, gentle, honest, brave, kind, intelligent, progressive, open, positive, optimistic, etc. in varying degrees according to the situation and circumstances present before us. People with this type weigh their decisions and actions according to their values, morals, ideals, ethics, etc., and try to justify their actions to themselves on these parameters to live a life of self-contentment. They may have to digress from their ‘numbers’ once in a while and they do face their own guilt for such times.
Empty Self Image type 2: Luckily for us there are only about 20 percent such people. These people have no particular definition of who they are and what they stand for. And they use this perception of themselves to justify anything and everything they do in order to achieve the task at hand. In terms of some degenerated, out-of-fashion management jumble these people are called task-oriented, focussed, goal-dedicated high-achievers. But time has been witness that a person with such self-image can give us, for example, a decent macbook but he will also give us an ipod, ipad, ifone and what not. And even if you look at macbook it runs on the X-server platform which is already free for the Ubuntu users but Mac users have to pay for it so much. I hope I made my point. So such a person or an organisation could be materially rich but then they themselves would not let their kids use the i-pads because they know they can lose out on other basic cognitive abilities if they get hooked on to these toys early on in their life. But they are OK with letting the millions of other children play with such equipments at their own risks.
Empty Self Image type 1: This is the ‘coolest’ type of self-perception where a person is ’empty’ in the sense that although they have their own experiences, faults, positives, guilts, baggage, etc., they allow each new person, event, experience to earn in their own merit. I hope that at least 10 percent of our kind falls in this type of self-image definition. These type of people usually are positive, kind, calm, collected, considerate, honest, brave, etc.
In conclusion, people may have a combination of the various types described above in varying proportions, but I do believe that their is a dominant ‘personal-image’ which each person carries most of the time and situations. And that does define that person to a very large extent.