Whilst interviewing a psychologist recently we touched on the topic of “ideal self”. I was interviewing her in relation to our inner critic and the fact that one of the key drivers to our inner critic is our perception of what our ideal self should be.
Her view is (and for which I 100% agree), that by having a notion of our ideal self, it sets us up failure.
What is Ideal Self?
Your ideal self is that person who you thought you would be by the time you reached x years old.
As I outlined in my blog post – 5 Reasons You’re Not Lucky To Have Achieved It All By 40, I identified how most of us have clear ideas as to where we will be by the time they reach 40.
And this is what your ideal self is, it’s the person you thought you would turn out to be when you were a teenager. It’s those age milestones you set yourself to have achieved x by y date.
Why You Need To Let Your “Ideal Self” Go
I’m stepping into Humanistic Psychology and the work of Carl Rogers, but to keep things simple I’m going to explain the reasons you need to let go of your Ideal Self in a simple sentence:
THAT PERSON DOESN’T EXIST.
Hopefully that’s clear enough for you!
Apologies for my blunt interpretation, but it’s 100% accurate.
As a Life Coach, I’m all about you being the best version of yourself that you can, I’m all about you setting goals and getting out there and achieving them.
You absolutely need to!
Adaption and resilience are an absolute necessity.
You MUST expect the unexpected and embrace the fact that life won’t go according to a plan. Yes, although you can be prepared to some extent, life WILL consistently throw those curve balls at you and change the GPS navigation route to your destination, in fact it’s likely to change your destination totally.
Embrace the Now
And this is the lesson………… embrace who, what and where you are right now because though you may not be where you thought you would be, GUESS WHAT? You’re in exactly the right place.
If it’s not a nice place, then don’t worry, there is a lesson for you to learn somewhere and it will become clear later on, but for now don’t fight it. Embrace it.
Because you are where you are and there is absolutely nothing you can do to change it.
Comparing your current circumstances to those of your ideal self, will set you up for disappointment every time and quite frankly is a waste of time and energy.
As soon as disappointment starts to flare up because you haven’t achieved what you wanted to achieve, kick it firmly in the butt, dismiss it out of hand and:
- Instantly switch your thinking to one of gratitude for what you have now
- PLUS get excited about the goals you want to achieve and how you’re going to achieve them….
It’s as simple as that.
I know I know, you’re probably thinking “it’s not as simple as that”, but it really is. Our minds and our thoughts can and will be naughty and it really is a case of catching these negative thoughts as they occur and throwing them out of the window.
With time and practise, it will become easier easier.
I will leave you with:
“Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.” ― Oscar Wilde
Other blog posts you may enjoy are: