How we build an Imago – Part 1


I always heard people talk about how me not forgiving others has a bad effect on me. I kinda thought, yeah, yeah, yeah, sure! Whatever. BUT. Then I found the scripture that says absolutely plainly that if we don’t forgive, God won’t forgive us. Ouch.

Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master turned him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother from your heart.” – Matt 18:23-35

So I learned about forgiveness. I wrote about this process here: How to forgive someone.

Now I’ll write about the non-spiritual impact of not forgiving. You might be utterly astonished at how your relationships and marriage is affected and bent by you not forgiving those who withheld love or other needs from you.

This post explains things, the next post will help us un-twist.

What is a self-image?

You know what a self-image is? It’s the internal subconscious image you have of yourself. The image of yourself might not match who you really are, but it’s the image that you have of yourself. People with anorexia see themselves as FAR fatter than they actually are. (video). Much of my life I would look at myself in the mirror and be astonished at who I see. Is that me? I was seeing someone inside me who looks totally different to who I really am.

A self-image is my subconscious (internal) image of myself.

What is an imago?

In my previous post, I mentioned a word, Imago. Forgiveness and not forgiving has a massive impact on our imago. What is it? Just like “self-image”, it’s a word invented by someone… it represents something going on in our heads. 🙂

An imago is like self-image, but it’s not about me, it’s about the person/partner/wife that I am looking for. I have a subconscious (internal) image of the woman I am looking for.

How is an imago made over time?

My self-image (of myself) is built up over time as I learn and grow, over the years, from the things I think people say about me or what I think they have said to me. “You’re a good/bad boy” etc.

My imago is made up over time too. It’s all about what I need that I didn’t get and don’t have. For example, I got some love from my mom, but I got no comfort. I felt utterly alone and empty. So… in my imago, I have a desire to be with a woman who will comfort and nurture me. I’m not looking for someone who oozes love (I got that, I don’t crave it). I’m looking for those women who ooze soft and comforting behaviours.

As I grew up, in my family I don’t think we connected, we didn’t touch and hug much, so I lacked intimacy. Therefore I am drawn to women who will have sex before marriage. Well… to be honest, I always end up with women who will have sex on the first night.

It’s simply because I didn’t get intimacy as I grew up and now I have in my imago (the unconscious image of who I need) a message like this “I need intimacy!! I must find a woman to have intimacy with.”

It’s pretty simple and straight forward don’t you think? So in this way we can see how woman are drawn to me because I am kind and loving and their imago (internal image of what they lacked and what they need) says they must find a loving and kind man.

If they lack boundaries and will speak nicely to me… then LADIES AND GENTLEMEN we have a WINNER! This couple will be in love and get married and be deliriously happy… until the chemicals wear off. Then trouble sets in.

This exact thing happened on the Good Friday night. I went to one of my coffee hangouts. I was being my normal kind self and my friend Bryce and I offered for two women to sit with us (there were no other tables) and before long the zing-zing thing was happening and she was all over me and I was scared and confused and trying to explain that I’m a Christian and I can’t get involved like this. I change seats to move away, she changed seats to follow me. She even wanted to come to church with me! hehehe.

It happens like clockwork that I attract the WRONG kind of woman. I could never understand it!! Until I learned about unmet my need as a child (comfort, intimacy, soothing) and then I can clearly see that she matched my imago. (I need someone who has what I lack).

No doubt she has an imago which is looking for kindness and love… so it’s a slam dunk! A match made… in heaven? I’m not so sure.

I don’t want to over-complicate this post by going on to explain more and cramming too much into it. So, in my next post I’ll explain WHY trouble sets in and I’ll explain HOW unforgiveness twists and bends our imago (the inner image) and ends up hurting ourselves.

Through forgiveness and healing, we can begin to untwist the imago, have realistic expectations, relate better… and have a better emotional life with our partners.

Please share this post with someone who might benefit from it. Post it to your FB wall. Tweet it. May God bless you – and I look forward to reading your comments and replying to them!

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2 responses to “How we build an Imago – Part 1

  1. Pingback: What to do when you’re feeling empty inside | Faith. Hope. Love.·

  2. Good stuff, the kind you lick of an oreo! hehehe

    I always say this to our congregation and sometimes it may sound like a cliché but it’s so true. To know who you really are as a child will help to make decisions as an adult.

    It’s SO true Diana. Our formative years can form good or bad. If it’s bad… then healing is required. – Mark.

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