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Never Good Enough: Overcoming Perfectionism

The concept of the "ideal self" refers to a version of ourselves that we aspire to become. It can be influenced by a variety of external and internal factors, including societal expectations, personal desires, and life goals. The relationship between the ideal self and the real self, that is, the version of ourselves we live daily, is fundamental in understanding psychological well-being and personal growth.


Woman meticulously uses tweezers to decorate Christmas cookies.

A perfectionistic and unrealistic ideal self often emerges from external expectations, such as the desires of the family, social pressures, or models proposed by the media. This version of the ideal self tends to be distant from reality, creating a significant discrepancy between what we are and what we wish to be. This gap can lead to feelings of inadequacy, frustration, chronic dissatisfaction, and feelings of "never good enough", as unreachable goals confront us with the impossibility of realization, thus generating anxiety and low self-esteem.


On the other hand, a realistic ideal self is born from deep introspection and an authentic understanding of one's real self. It is based on the recognition of one's own abilities, limits, and potential. This version of the ideal self is founded on the principle of measurable and feasible growth, setting achievable goals that reflect the true desires and values of the self.


The realistic approach promotes sustainable personal growth, guided by the principle of self-acceptance and the intrinsic motivation to improve starting from the "here and now."

The key to cultivating a healthy relationship between the ideal self and the real self lies in balance. It is important to aspire to personal improvement without losing sight of one's current reality. Goals should be challenging but achievable, in order to provide a positive direction without generating excessive stress. Growth should be seen as a journey made of small steps, where each progress, regardless of its size, is a step towards a more satisfied and fulfilled version of oneself.


In conclusion, the relationship between the ideal self and the real self is dynamic and complex. The challenge is to develop a self-image that is both aspirational and grounded in the reality of one's being. This requires constant work of self-reflection, self-acceptance, and commitment to personal improvement, always keeping in mind that absolute perfection is an unattainable ideal and that true growth lies in the journey and the small victories along the way.


In this sense, in Bodymind Therapy we fully support the attitude of Robert Louis Stevenson (1850-1894), the renowned Scottish author remembered for his compelling literary works such as "Treasure Island" and "The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde," who wrote: "I travel not to go anywhere, but to go. I travel for travel's sake!"

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