The Link Between Self-Image and Self-Esteem

Posted on February 27, 2014



Yesterday, Life in the Boomer Lane was doing some intensive online research into the new Taco Bell waffle taco, when she received a missive from an alert reader, telling her that the Today Show had started a series about loving ourselves, unfortunately titled “Love Your Selfie.” LBL finds the word “selfie” to be the perfectly odious label for the current self-obsessed society we have created. But, as she has shared this thought with no one but herselfie until now, she will save further rumination for a future post.

Reluctantly, and in spite of the name of the series, LBL tore herself away from thoughts of whether the Taco Bell waffle taco would be better with or without the side of syrup provided, and she watched the Today Show segment online. The clip showed all of the Today show talking heads seated in a semi-circle sans makeup, in which they discussed weighty and provocative topics like what it was like to be seated in a semi-circle on national TV without makeup.

LBL then found herself involved with thought that were even deeper and more provocative than her prior thoughts of waffle tacos. Namely, why do men wear make up on TV?

From that jumping off point, she found herself thinking about self-image, specifically, whether our self-image improves or degrades with age. LBL knows what you are thinking: Who cares. I would rather hear about the Taco bell waffle taco. But this is LBL’s blog and she controls the air waves. If you want to read about the waffle taco, do your own research.

Having done her research, LBL is now aware of two important items. One is that there is something called gerontophobia, which is fear of older people. LBL had not been aware there was such a thing, and she certainly was not aware that young people crossed to the other side of the street when they saw her approaching.

The second is that in spite of the frighteningly massive number of articles about how great it is to be a boomer, all research points to 60 as being the peak of the positive self-image mountain. Once humans have passed the acne stage, self-image steadily climbs. Then, from age 60 on, both self-image and self-concept begin to slide. The bottom line is that older boomers are more apt to fret, qvetch, and whine about themselves than are younger boomers.

Let us define self-image as how we feel about how we look and how we feel about how others see us. Let us define self-esteem as how we see our value in society.

The underlying question to all of this is: What is the correlation between self-esteem and self-image? Is it possible to have high self-esteem in spite of a low self-image? LBL poses a situation with various reactions one might have. Feel free to identify yourselves with one of these or to create your own:

My face has all fallen into my neck, and my butt has become part of my thighs. But basically, I don’t give a shit. I’m great and I love to scare young people.

My face has fallen into my neck and my butt has become part of my thighs. I am going to celebrate by eating a Taco Bell waffle taco.

My face has fallen into my neck and my butt has become part of my thighs. I am going to spend the rest of my life in a dark closet, and then will my body to someone making a science fiction movie.

I have no idea what my face or butt are doing. As long as I don’t start facing backward all the time and as long as my butt stays behind me, they can do whatever they want to. I am too busy being horrified at the thought of people eating waffle tacos, with or without maple syrup.