Self-worth is particularly influenced by self-appraisal, which is negatively biased in many psychiatric disorders. Positive and negative self-appraisals also shape current emotional states or even evoke defensive reactions, when they are incongruent with a subject's current state. Prior studies have mainly used externally given evaluative appraisals. In this study, 30 subjects used individual negative and positive self-appraisals during functional magnetic resonance imaging. We additionally investigated the effects of such self-appraisals onto the subsequent perception of photos of the individual subjects. Both self-appraisal conditions activated dorsomedial and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex compared to the neutral condition. Positive self-appraisal evoked stronger activity than negative self-appraisal in the amygdala, ventral striatum and anterior cingulate cortex, whereas negative self-appraisal was associated with increased activity in the occipital regions. Positive self-appraisal had no effect on the perception of a photo of oneself, whereas negative appraisal increased activity in the anterior insula and parietal regions. Overall, positive self-appraisal activated more emotion-related brain regions, whereas negative self-appraisal had a relatively stronger influence on perception-related brain activity. These findings could on the one hand explain the effect of negative self-appraisal on the behavior in the real world and on the other hand support a stronger focus of psychotherapy on enhancing positive self-appraisals.