Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: Self-image

Mental Notes with Hilary Valdez: Self-image

by Hilary Valdez
Stripes Okinawa

You know, we don’t always know ourselves as well as we think we do. As we age, our identities undergo constant shifts as we experience the challenges of life. But how do you see yourself? We all live with multiple identities, not multiple personalities, don’t confuse the two. This depends on the different roles we play in life: mother, father, wife, husband, executive, breadwinner, politician, or newspaper editor. As we perform different roles in life, and as the roles and jobs change, there is potential for impact on our mental health.

All people are dealing with three basic personality components: The True Self, The Self Image, and the Ideal Self. However, inner conflict occurs when the three components do not align and the boundaries of each get a little fuzzy.

Being out of synch can lead to mental confusion, psychological blurring, and image distortion. Yet, being out of synch internally indicates conflicting forces in your mental life and is often temporary. So, relax, it takes time to come into your own. People are constantly growing into skin and growing out of it, growing into it, and growing out of it. Your persona continues to evolve with your life experiences, some are negative, tragic, traumatic, while others are positive. Combined, they formulate who you are.

The Balanced Self is the product of the ongoing evolutionary process. The Balanced Self strives to encompass inner experiences and outer behavior, including your biological nature, your various social roles, and how you function individually and in groups. The Balanced Self  is a blend or integration of Your Ideal Self, Your Self Image, and Your True Self.

Becoming the “Big Dog” Balanced Self, takes trial and error in life, being kicked around, making mistakes, trying new behaviors, switching jobs, and constructively using feedback from others. Your Ideal Self is accepting all the parts of who you are. Being your free spirit. Sharing who you are. Believing in yourself and having the courage to be your authentic self and taking the risk to grow beyond your comfort zone. Growth requires self-confidence. Blazing your own path while being immune to criticism from the armchair critics safely enclosed in their cynical and narrow-minded opinions.

Remember to be easy on yourself. Keep navigating the flow of life on your own terms, as much as possible. Sometimes we must compromise to some degree to survive. But don’t compromise your life away. It takes time and courage to forge your own path in life, so go fear-ward and blossom. There is no one easy way and at times, the hardest way is the shortest way.


Hilary Valdez is a retiree living in Japan. He is an experienced Mental Health professional and Resiliency Trainer. Valdez is a former Marine and has worked with the military most of his career and most recently worked at Camp Zama as a Master Resiliency Trainer. Valdez now has a private practice and publishes books on social and psychological issues. His books are available on Amazon and for Kindle. Learn more about Valdez and contact him at or at Follow his YouTube channel Hilary’s Quick Talk for more insights.

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