Managing your  image

                                              The biggest question,

                                                    who am I.

How do we answer that, how do we describe ourselves to others?

Mostly it is by reference and comparison--- we measure ourselves against others—by those we see around us or know of.

So we may start with I’m younger  / older than, I’m Taller ,shorter, fatter, thinner, more/ less muscular than. More handsome/ pretty etc.

Then perhaps we start to define our place in the world—or at least the society in which we live so then it becomes---  Job, income, type of home /  car, 

Image  seems important

It then becomes a social class issue—who are your friends and associates--- how do they impact on your image of yourself and the way others perceive you. Do you live up or down to a stereotype.

By dressing /talking in a certain way do you become one of them? But also consider this ---By favouring certain styles of music do you have to buy into the image--  dressing and behaving like the performers—what does that do for you --- do you become part of a community, a group, a gang? Does this then define your whole being?

If you stop and really think about the various  elements you can  see just how strong an impact they have on an individual.

Take Goths—they choose an extreme dress and makeup style to define themselves but the price they pay is to get beaten up by Chavs and Scallys  who attack them and call them  “Freaks”. That is  to say two different cultures  clashing, it is as old as humanity – the desire to conform, to be part of the right group, to find like minded people as a way of staying safe.

The danger is that there is a tipping point—you imitate a style because you like it, for a time that complete package seems to fit the way you feel and think but at a certain point the image takes over and you begin to fit yourself to continue to match the image.

That’s when things get scary.

Take an extreme example—Nazi Germany:- The people of Germany in the 1920’ and 30’s were much like people in the rest of europe, they were suffering in the world economic failure, hungry,  additionally, bitter at having been in the First world war--- then along comes an idol, a new image, an individual who seems to be on their level ---a politician who tells them that the old way of politics is not serving them, not giving them pride in their country, not giving them the quality of life they deserve—he tells them that he will sort the country, build roads, make the trains run on time, enable working people to own a car etc------ people liked this, they encouraged their children to join the Hitler youth – to learn  national pride, confidence, discipline . The uniforms were smart, the image strong, the prospects were good--- but then came the tipping point things started getting heavy handed—if you didn’t support the ideas you must be unpatriotic, you must be for or against so if you were not joining the party, not supporting the ideals you wer against the country. People got frightened, they would report their neighbours for anti German actions—so that they would appear to be themselves, for the nation. Suddenly people are in a party that they have allowed to take control of them, to tell them what to think and how to act . The image has taken them over. I’m not suggesting that there is anything of that magnitude today in Britain but it is an example of how image can turn back on you and disadvantage you.

So now, if you are not getting what you want out of life stop and wonder why. Then  look in the mirror, maybe take a picture. Step away and observe yourself as if you had never seen that person in the mirror or picture before. Describe them in detail, not just the make of their trainers or the style of their jeans  realise the assumptions you make about that person – would you trust them, would you be happy meeting them in a dark alley at night, would you want them to look after your kids, what do you think their attitude is to drink, drugs, crime, tax evasion, the truth? You can apply all this whether the image in the mirror looks like a chav , a doctor, an M.P. a Premier league football player. In fact take any two of those and write down all the things that you think you could say about them and the way they live.

All that is coming from what you see and what you assume------

 So if you want to be  a Doctor, Teacher, Gangster, Builder firstly analyse the image, check if it fits with your image of yourself—then consider if you want to make any adjustments  so that you align more with the “right” image.


If you find that there is too much of a gap between your beliefs and image and that of the typical  role model  don’t despair—there are exceptions to every rule – we are just looking at techniques that help you realise your ambitions, remember that  there have been ex gangsters who have become college lecturers, Doctors that would look more at home on a rugby pitch--- so you just need to find your own way to be who you want to be---- and if you can’t manage that give me a call

© Martin Williams 2013/15/16