Image – everything or nothing?

Disclaimer: The content here was formed from research in the internet and over discussions on the topic with friends, colleagues, acquaintances, and even strangers through an online fourm. Much of their insight were very helpful. Any oversight on my part on the different aspects of how image is important or unimportant is due to my part and my limited knowledge of this topic.

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Is image important?

I’d treat it the same as how people perceive you or me or other people based on image; Does it affect how you think, interact, react and talk to people?

Introduction
To answer that question briefly, most of the friends I asked tended to lean towards, “Yes, image is important” or “Yes, image should be important to everyone”. For me, I’ve always tended to lean towards “yes” when it comes to physical appearance and a “shrug” when it comes to all other things. I know myself (or think I do) so who cares about what other people think or say about me? If it’s true, then I’ll confirm it; if it’s not true, then I’ll correct them. But lately (like last year and this year), I’ve started to lean towards “Yes, it’s important”.

I ask this question because the conversation one weekday afternoon led me to really ask it “out loud” this time: Is image really that important?

In General
Do you remember that Axe commercial tagline before? First impression lasts. Yep, I do remember it very well. It is the epitome of the “image is everything” mentality. But I have to admit there is some juice in there.

When people first meet you, they tend to judge and think about you based on your physical appearance. People tend to remember you the first time they saw you, heard you, and talked with you… tasted you *gasp!*… Haha! In any case, even though the survey among my friends was limited, it could be said that, generally speaking, image is worth something. How much, that you actually have to find out for yourself.

However, I’ve talked to people who say that far from image being that important, what carries more is the personality of the person. It doesn’t matter if they look spic-and-span but inside? They’re actually “dirty” then the physical appearance was totally wasted. These people said that they don’t mind what other people say about themselves because they know the truth. What they said sort of echoes what I just wrote above about shrugging off other people’s opinions, be they good or bad – of course, if it’s good, we usually tend to become pleased even if it’s not entirely accurate.

I’ve even posted a poll in an online forum asking the same question. A lot of people there seemed to think that you should care about your image because human nature makes us judge people by the way they look, act or even carry ourselves.

Self Image
“Yes, a positive self image is important as long as we’re basing that conclusion on the right things. Our image is not based on what others think of us, how others treat us, or how good or bad we think we are. Self image is based on how God sees us…. Understanding self image is important because the way we feel about ourselves affects the way we project ourselves to others. Relationships and daily interactions are influenced by the way we view ourselves. People who have a positive self image make others feel more at ease and relaxed. They can take constructive criticism and are not easily threatened by conflict. These are assets to a successful relationship.” More at: http://www.allaboutlifechallenges.org/self-image-faq.htm

Good advice. I totally agree and believe with what’s said here. I like how they say that as long as your self image is based on the right things, it’s important… otherwise you’re just delusional! LOL! The last part is my opinion! In fact, I dislike people who are totally delusional and confident for the wrong reasons. I just don’t dislike them, I detest them. Oh, and you know what? I know others are of like mind when it comes to me, but you see, I’m already on a journey of self-discovery and improvement. So criticizing me won’t normally get me angry (compared before) but actually will make me think and plan for next time.

There’s always next time.

Can this quote be equated with self-esteem? Hmm… Another topic for a survey… Hehe.

With friends & relationships
I’d say, between friends who’ve known each other for quite a while, getting yourself to be the laughing stock of the group today or tomorrow or during a party is just one more happy memory. They already know you so what’s one more memorable event, right? Besides, it’s good for a few laughs.

Friends tend to collect memories of each other and remember it for reminiscing. They form their opinion of you during the times that you’re together. Your image to them is something that’s already acceptable; otherwise, they’re not really your friends.

I guess your image is already foregone because they know you. It all boils down to how much you know the person, I guess. And ideally we aren’t supposed to choose who to be friends with, right? And it also doesn’t sound good that you’re basing the way you interact/react to a person based on image. However, I would like to say that if you do something that really embarrasses your friends or significant other, it might create a problem. Would they shun you then?

I’d also like to raise another aspect: “looking good as a couple helps”. I’ve heard people say, “You look good as a couple” or “You should be together because you look good with each other” or some other things. To me, saying this when those two people are already an item is boosting their confidence and trust on each other, but saying that to unattached people seems to me like 1) they really look good together; 2) you’re making fun of them; and 3) it’s like “forcing” the way for relationships and thus coloring their opinion of each other (I’m one who always try to let “the market play by itself” so to speak and to use an economics term).

Oh, well…

For Business
Oh, definitely yes! Yes, yes, and yes! It’s important. Brand reputation makes the big bucks for a company! Image is everything! From products to logos to commercial advertisements to taglines, employee relations, community relations; everything revolves around an “image”. But there’s more than just that visual, companies also need to live up to it otherwise it’s just an empty claim. And that can also hurt big time!

Work
In the professional world, it’s is very important to maintain a certain decorum no matter what happens. You have to show to the world that you’re a capable employee, supervisor, manager, etc., who figures in everything in an objective way, without bias or prejudice. Of course, it’s hard to do this but you have to try.

Take for example your job interview for a company that you really want, you do all sorts of preparations for it, right? Even if you say, I’m only practicing my answers, making sure they are consistent or that I’m just rehearsing what to do in case they ask me this or that. It’s not physical image there, but another type of image – your body language, your communication skills, your interactive skills, analytical thinking, and many more.

P.S. I haven’t even mentioned the fact that people actually “dress up” when going to job interviews – quite redundant, duh! Hehe…

Uhm, word of advice, don’t use the same excuse as above. If you think you’re going to be late, call ahead of time and inform the front desk or HR that you’re running late and then given an estimate of how long before you get there. No need to give them elaborate excuses. Follow K.I.S.S. – Keep it simple, stupid!

Politics
‘Nuff said

Conclusion
We’ll it seems that there are a lot of people saying that image – in any of its incarnations – is important no matter what others say, yet those who’ve argued against actually make up to it with the weight and logic of their words. *Sigh* I guess I’ll continue to investigate this.

I’ll let you decide. But after reading articles like this? Hmmm… I have to ask this question even more but keep coming up with this answer: I guess it does.

Oh, the last link below is actually a list of comments from teenagers and kids. Talk about maturity! Here’s to those who say image is everything! Haha!

Sources:
http://www.allaboutlifechallenges.org/self-image-faq.htm
http://entrepreneurs.about.com/cs/marketing/a/uc051603a.htm
http://www.careerbuilder.com/JobSeeker/careerbytes/CBArticle.aspx?articleID=409
http://ezinearticles.com/?Is-Business-Image-Important?&id=351269
http://www.isabelperez.com/perfect.htm
http://news.bbc.co.uk/cbbcnews/hi/chat/your_comments/newsid_3123000/3123274.stm

Thanks to those you answered my random question yesterday.

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