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How to Bridge the Gap of the Ideal Self

Updated: Mar 7

A beautiful lady like a princess

Bridging the Gap With Unconventional Values


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 (and others as well). We know that we could have been somewhere else in life—somewhere better. However due to our own weakness and our refusal to be otherwise, we have failed to advance, which may also result in a decrease in our self-worth.



You may often find that in order to become the people we truly want to be, as in the example of physical exercise, we need to be ruthless towards our current self, in the name of the self we want to become.


Accept your current self, love your current self, and you won't aim to change it for the man or woman you truly want to become. Our difficulty to forgive, as hard as it is, can be utilized for that purpose of improving ourselves. And there is no aim for improvement that isn't an aim for a change. That's because all improvement is change.


Allow yourself to be pleased with yourself, you'll allow yourself to not become as stronger as you could've been. Be ruthless towards those who are dear to you, and you can help them improve as well, if that's your intention. Ruthlessness might as well be an expression of tough love.


And tough love, unlike true love, even if directed at ourselves, is about change. True love is about full acceptance of who someone is. There is no tough love, as stern as it is, that isn't about one's hope for someone to change for the better. Even if that someone, is ourselves.


Temptations as Obstacles to Who We Want to Become


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. As in corruption that can stain your legacy; As in the temptation to betray the faithful; As in having power as a philosopher.


Should you develop the habit of forgiving yourself over your own incompetence towards your goals, and you can normalize being fine not becoming our ideal self. The most effective way to work towards your goals is to be ruthless towards yourself. Refusing to forgive yourself, while overcoming the useless aspects of guilt associated with it, allows you to extend and further apply your potential into reality.


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. I don't know, perhaps to some of you it does. Perhaps, some of you, too weak to handle criticism, may struggle with it. The solution comes when we learn to accept criticism professinally, even from ourselves, and learn to detach from anything that hinders us towards reaching our ideal selves.



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.


The Value of Realism


Another solution is to bring our ideal self into proportion. 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.



But you need to make sure you don't delude yourself. You need to further learn about yourself, to understand what it truly can become, and what it can't become.


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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