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The Gap of the Ideal Self

There is usually a gap between ourselves and our ideal self, the self that we want to become. When we do things that hinder our path to this self, such as submitting to temptation instead of working towards our goals, we can often feel disappointed in ourselves, knowing that we could have been closer to our ideal self than we currently are.

This is a possible reason why some of us may criticize ourselves harshly. We know that we could have been somewhere else in life—somewhere better—but due to our own weakness, we have failed to advance, which may also result in a decrease in our self-worth.

If we overcome short-term temptations in favor of long-term advancement, we may criticize ourselves less harshly. In many cases, short-term temptations are not worth it in contrast to our long-term goals.

Another solution is to try to be more realistic and more forgiving. If we find ourselves submitting to short-term temptations that hinder our progress to our ideal self, we should ask ourselves whether or not being harsh on ourselves is really worth our time and energy. Even if we ultimately do not reach our ideal selves, which is a possibility, we can still enjoy and feel good about ourselves even if we believe we can be in a better position in life.

Indeed, one of the benefits of a more ascetic life and mindset is the ability to find comfort and satisfaction in the present moment and in what is presently available, rather than making us suffer over what we don't have yet or have failed to achieve thus far.

Another solution is to bring our ideal self into proportion, because the further we put our ideal self beyond the sphere of realism, the more likely we are to suffer for not being able to reach it regardless of our efforts.

Thus, when it comes to the ideal self, one should balance between two values: realism and success. Achieve the first by making your ideal self within reach, and the second by working hard towards your goals to become the best person you can possibly be. All of this takes one thing: compromise.

Give up what you cannot become (or have a very low chance of becoming) in favor of working towards what you are likely to become with enough improvement. That way, your struggle towards a better self will become practical.

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Tomasio A. Rubinshtein, Philosocom's Founder & Writer

I am a philosopher from Israel, author of several books in 2 languages, and Quora's Top Writer of the year 2018. I'm also a semi-hermit who has decided to dedicate his life to writing and sharing my articles across the globe. Several podcasts on me, as well as a radio interview, have been made since my career as a writer. More information about me can be found here.

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