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Eva M. Selhub, M.D. Headshot

Prisoner of Image

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Who are you? Are you the person everyone wants you to be, or the person you want to be? Do you feel trapped in the image that you thought you had to create to be loved or valued?

Are you the serious one? The funny one? The smart one? What behavior would be "out of character" for you?

You have probably worked hard to make sure others see you in a certain way, or perhaps, that they don't see you at all.

Maybe you have sought to acquire recognition or fame. Or maybe, you have decided to stay un-noticed so as not to draw harmful attention.

What image are you stuck with now? Do you feel free to "act out of character" or do you worry that doing so would lead to harm or loss of what you have acquired, or worse, loss of your identity, sense of value or validation?

Fame and fortune, though nice to have, are external validations that you are able to accomplish your goals. But, fame and fortune do not determine your value or your identity. In fact, it seems, as one does become more famous or rich, their friends or associations become more questionable. They might often find themselves asking, "Does this person like me because of me, or because of my money? Who am I in the end?"

And the person who is shy or quiet? What would happen if you were to scream or to laugh with abandon? Would you be made fun of, ridiculed or harmed? Would you feel badly about yourself?

Without knowing that you are inherently loved, just because you are alive, you cannot know fully who your true Self is and that you can be whomever or whatever you want to be at any given moment. When you know who your are, you are less likely to seek approval from external means. You are affected less by other's opinions of you or your decisions in life. You wont take what others say or do personally.

So ask yourself, am I am prisoner of an image? Is this image really me.... all of me? You see, all of us can be anything at any given moment. We can be happy, sad, mean, nice, funny, boring, smart or stupid. You can be anything or nothing all throughout the same day. Watch a child -- he or she can go through multiple personalities in 10 minutes!

If you feel like a prisoner and want to change this feeling, your first step is to start accepting yourself and everything about you. Here is an exercise to practice:

Close your eyes
Inhale deeply
Exhale completely
Observe your breath.
Observe your nose.
Observe your lips.
Observe your body.
Observe your mind.
Observe your heart.
Observe how you feel.
Observe how your body feels.
Observe how your heart feels.
Acknowledge the feelings and thank them for being there.
Repeat these words: "I love and accept myself always".
Imagine you are falling backwards into a pool of light, Just like you were falling or plunging backwards into a body of water, but now it is a body of light, love and acceptance.
You are falling into love.
Repeat these words: "I love and accept myself always".
Observe your breath, repeat these words: I love my breath
Observe your nose, repeat these words: I love my nose
Observe your eyes, repeat these words: I love my eyes
Do this with any part of your body, with your feelings, with your memories--any part of you that you wish.
Repeat these words: "I love and accept myself always."

Perhaps now the walls of your prison will start fading.

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