Aham Brahmasmi: Deciding Your Self-Image
Positive Self Help

Aham Brahmasmi: Deciding Your Self-Image


“I am what … I think you think I am.”

Self-image is an internal mental picture/idea you have of yourself. Self-Image may consist of four types:

  1. Self-image results in how an individual sees oneself.
  2. Self-image results in how others see the individual.
  3. Self-image results in how the individual perceives others and sees them.
  4. Self-image results in how the individual perceives the individual sees oneself.

When any one type of self-image is dominant in personality, we do a distorted perception of our Actual Self. Self-awareness is a key tool for differentiating between which types of self-image are dominant or dormant. Self-awareness helps us discover that our behaviours, thoughts and actions are based on facts of life or on others/self-assumed opinions. To check this, you can ask a simple question to your inner self: Before taking any decision, what is your top priority, your needs or what impression it gives to people surrounded by you?

Read More: Understanding Defensive Behavior and Self-image

It is seen when a person emphasizes what others think about him. What impression it gives to others, he sees himself differently and behaves based on self-assumed opinions, which leads to a higher need for seeking approval from others. When these people do not receive self-assumed responses, they get hurt. In the case of self-assumed opinion, a person sometimes creates a problem that does not even exist in reality because he starts acting on the insecurity and assumption he holds about himself.

Read More: The Psychology of Self-Perception

Due to the distorted perception of the real self, a person stops taking action as per his inner being and starts to think in a direction which may not have any factual basis. Such distorted perception makes us feel bad about ourselves and stops us from doing our best as we have a restricted perception of reality.

Now the question is, why is our self-image so crucial for thinking and working? And the answer is Self-image is directly connected to our peace of mind. You may have seen people having everything in their life but still craving peace of mind. They easily get affected by every small situation in life. It’s because they are not doing their best as per their inner potential only because they perceive themselves in the life of others. They are either crying on their destiny or blaming others. The best way to come out of this mental trap is to rework your self-image, which is an ongoing process.

Read More: “This is your Fault!”, Understanding the Psychology of Blame Games

What can we do in this situation?

  1. Ask yourself who you are? Listen to your gut feeling. Write down your opinion or perception about yourself, and mention your strengths and weaknesses.
  2. Write down how others perceive you, e.g., what your husband, kids and boss think about you.

You will realize that your behaviour, thoughts and actions are majorly affected by how you think they perceive you not as you are. If you want, you can ask for their honest opinion about you. In most of the cases, you will find that you both think about yourself differently. The degree of difference may vary. People who see themself in the light of facts of life are much more peaceful than people who focus on other’s opinions.

What is the fact of life?

The fact of life is we all will have ups and downs in our life. Even all the gods had. We worship them only because they faced the situation with courage
Even it is said in Srimadbhagwatgeeta (chapter 2, Shloka 14)-

मात्रास्पर्शास्तु कौन्तेय शीतोष्णसुखदुःखदाः | आगमापायिनोऽनित्यास्तांस्तितिक्षस्व भारत || 14 ||
mātrā-sparshās tu kaunteya shitoshna-sukha-duhkha-dah āgamāpāyino ‘nityās tans-titikshasva bhārata

O son of Kunti, the contact between the senses and the sense objects gives rise to fleeting perceptions of happiness and distress. These are non-permanent and come and go like the winter and summer. O descendent of Bharat, one must learn to tolerate them without being disturbed.

In my experience, every situation comes to teach you something, and the response is in our hands that we want to be the crybaby or want to face it with courage. Yes, sometimes we may lose hope but remember, it is only a phase which will pass on with time. We all are trapped in Maya.

Remind yourself every time that you can choose your response. As Victor E Frankl said in his book “Man’s Search for Meaning” Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms-to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way” And “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves”. Change yourself to cope with life’s challenges and you will realize that your problems are only huge because you are not taking steps in the right direction.

There is a difference between humans and animals. The animal responds to the threat when the threat is present in reality. However, humans respond to threats not only when the threat is present in reality but also when it is present in their imagination. He starts reacting on the fear which is created by his insecurity and is based on his distorted perception of reality.

Read More: What Relation Does Humans And Animals Share?

“Aham Bramhasmi”, you are the Bramha of your mental world. When you are aware of your distorted perception, you can work on your mental world by doing needful changes such as rejecting the assumptions which is not related to who you are and assimilating the facts which people notice about you but you are not aware of those facts.

Rejection of prejudicial thoughts and assumptions about yourself and assimilation of facts related to yourself will lead to “Perceptual Clarity” in your mental world. Within your personality, you will develop better congruence. This will help you in doing optimal use of your strength, and you will be mentally more ready to work on your weaknesses. Hence Perceptual transparency will lead you to become a fully functional personality.

Whenever you are taking any decision or action, remember it will have some favourable and unfavourable responses, people may misunderstand you because it’s a basic human tendency. We should accept that “Every person has a different perception”.

Read More: Psychology of Misunderstandings

In this world, there is no objective reality. Everyone’s perception is subjective. For example, even a simple try generates different emotions in others. So do not try to change anyone’s perception because everyone’s perception is based on their experience and belief system.

Your perception holds hidden solutions to your problems. Whenever you make serious life decisions, you must consider your top priorities because, ultimately, you have to answer your inner self.

It’s not what you say out of your mouth that determines your life, it’s what you whisper to yourself that has the most power.

Robert Kiyosaki

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