In which areas of your life do you feel a need to hold on to an image? Whose approval are you seeking? Why is it important to you? Does this image reflect your true identity, or an identity you or someone else has conjured up?

If the image you wish to uphold bears a quality you truly want to evolve into, create an affirmation about it and repeat it to yourself again and again as often as possible. If you yearn to project an image of yourself as a compassionate human being, you might tell yourself repeatedly, "My true self is filled with the divine light of compassion. I am compassionate within and without." Seize every opportunity to behave with compassion. A sincere application of this simple practice will inspire and lead you to additional spiritual practices, and connect you to that quality in a real way. Your image will be a reflection of who you really are.

Jamal Rahman in Sacred Laughter of the Sufis: Awakening the Soul with the Mulla's Comic Teaching Stories & Other Islamic Wisdom