Mirror, Mirror on the Wall. What Is Your Image Saying?

Perception is reality, but people perceive things differently. Unfortunately, we cannot control the thoughts and impressions of others, but we can at least influence their opinions.

“It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”  
Patrick Rothfuss, The Name of the Wind 

What would you like to attract into your life? Health? Wealth? Friends? Love? Creativity? In order to prosper in life, you must surround yourself with the right people and attempt to place yourself into the most optimal situations. People base their opinions of you on your outer appearance as well as your associations and surroundings. Some even say we absorb and actually become the habitat in which we dwell.

What does your environment say about you? What kind of image are you promoting and what kinds of people and outcomes are you attracting? We cannot control our situations entirely, but we can command the actions we take.

With time and effort, a person can change and create a new image, forming fresh attitudes or perspectives, even perceptions. It takes time to break down old unhealthy or inefficient strongholds, attitudes and ties, but it can be done.

However, don’t be too critical of yourself or think you must change every little flaw. Being unique can be a signature indicating originality, a different way of seeing and doing things, a fresh, new or different approach.

What separates you from the rest? What is your mark, your brand?

“Human beings are not born once and for all on the day their mothers give birth to them, but … life obliges them over and over again to give birth to themselves.”  
Gabriel García Marquez

Try these two methods……

Reroute Your Neural Connections

Over time, the brain gets accustomed to a certain mode of thinking. It becomes used to the routine created for it. If hindering or unproductive thoughts become the norm, the brain becomes accustomed to that line of thinking and must be trained to escape the pattern. One must first identify unfruitful thoughts and then set out to test, sort and pinpoint better interpretations. Often a new line of reasoning can be developed in the form of a practical alternative to the original flawed perspective.

Also remember that, although challenging circumstances create obstacles, these barriers can also uncover opportunities. Mistakes often lead to valuable learning.

Create a Metaphorical Model 

Find a person, real or fictional, to emulate. Let that role model become a symbol for what you’d like to achieve. Think of it as living your life through a metaphor. Through comparison and categorization, metaphors provide a tool for reframing common assumptions, influencing perceptions and interpretations. By emulating and acting, a unique language is developed, with multiple perspectives created. A vision and strategy for change can be formed by following another character’s lead.

“Be more concerned with your character than your reputation, because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are.”  
John Wooden

Image is important. It is what people see. It isn’t necessarily what is really there. Your identity is who you are, no one can change that. Your image, however, can be changed, by you or by others. Brand yourself, market yourself. Define who you want to be and then set out to purposefully and persistently promote that vision.  Nothing is permanent. Change yourself before the world changes you for you.

Identity Ownership – Random Thoughts to Ponder

Weight can be lost and new habits can be gained. A new career can be forged. Hair color, even eye color, can be changed. An individual can alter their image, their personality. They can change their name or even purchase (or steal) a new identity altogether. A persona can be completely transformed, but can you truly escape your identity

Who has the right to establish a person’s identity? What is an identity- a name, a number or other identifiers such as sex, eye color, hair color, height or weight? Is your identity formed by your fingerprints, by your DNA?  An individual’s DNA cannot (safely) be changed. Paternity tests establish DNA and people even willingly give their DNA to find ancestral connections. Felons give their DNA against their will. Who should blood or DNA belong to? The individual? The state? 

What about in cases involving memory loss due to trauma, medication or illness? Who are you then? What or who are you responsible for? Who decides an individual’s identity in the case of incompetence? In other words, if you don’t know who you are, then who does? Should identity be a choice? If so, and you can’t choose, who chooses?

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