Our self-image, which is central to how we interpret and handle the situations we find ourselves in, can be divided into three different parts.

  • Real me, which reflects how I actually perceive / see myself.
  • Ideal self, which is about how I want / wish to be. If the personal goals are realistic, they can be goals to strive for.
  • Mirror me, which is about how I think others see me, which can for example mean that I try to live up to what I think is an expected image of me.

The cohesive/integrated self-image

When we have a coherent/integrated self-image, the difference between the different “I’s” is small, which means that we become more “controlled from within”, our own thoughts, feelings, needs and values ​​control us in the current situation.

If my real self says that I am important and that is also how I perceive that others in my environment see me (the mirror self), it gives me a positive, realistic, and well-coherent self-image that will contribute to a strong self-esteem.

If I have created a realistic ideal image with well-thought-out and actively chosen values, with a calibrated compass, it will help me to be more “directed from within”


The fragmented self-image

When we have a split self-image, the difference between the different selves is large and I become more “controlled from the outside”. Which means I will try to “read” and live up to other people’s expectations, “turn my coat to the wind”?

Maybe I feel less important at the same time as I also perceive that other people do not include me the way I want If my wish is to “belong” this will itself affect my self-esteem and the probability is high that I will act “controlled from the outside”. If I am unsure of, or unaware of, what values ​​I have or want to have, this will increase my uncertainty about being “controlled from within.”

A fragmented self-image often leads to shame and feelings of guilt.