Are You Obsessed With Your Ideal Self?
Stop chasing perfection. Take the time to inspire yourself, work hard, and believe that it’s time to make the effort.
I imagine a young woman waking up every day at five o’clock, pouring herself a hot cup of tea while indulging in a little reading. She enjoys a morning shower, sitting down at her desk to plan out the perfect day of writing. Her mind isn’t a whirlwind of self-doubt and dilly-dallying. She is working towards buying that house she’s been dreaming of, publishing her first book, and creating the environment to write to her heart’s content.
For such a long time, I wished that woman was me. My reality looks absolutely nothing like that even though it doesn’t seem that difficult to achieve now that I’ve put it down on paper. I’ve had thoughts swimming around inside my mind, telling me that I will never be good enough, that I don’t have enough discipline to be consistent, and that my dreams are nothing but figments of my imagination.
I want to believe that there’s more to my life than that. I want to think that even after all of the setbacks I’ve had and the excuses I’ve given that I can be better. I wake up every day already feeling like I’ve failed because I slept in past my alarm, I’m too unmotivated to sit down to write, and everything that does make it to the page makes me want to throw in the towel.
The truth is, the dream of my ideal self hasn’t changed over the years. It’s just that I’ve fixated on it now that I no longer like who I’ve become.
“I used to be better,” I’d say whenever another day would pass where I put things off, where I couldn’t keep myself still long enough to write anything meaningful. I’d settle for the bare minimum because at least then it felt like I was doing something worthwhile.
I didn’t want to live my life constantly wishing I was different, and criticizing myself when I didn’t live up to my own unrealistic expectations. I decided it was time to unburden myself, and finally, start asking the difficult questions.
Why are we obsessed with the perfect version of ourselves?
I didn’t realize I had been having constant run-ins with my inner critic until I started finding it difficult to work or even enjoy the things that used to make me the happiest. I started obsessing about every part of my life that seemed wrong or out of place until it started to affect my creative behavior.
I wasn’t reading, I wasn’t writing much more than I had to, and even then the writing I produced wasn’t my best. It was hard for me to acknowledge that at the time, but my obsession with wanting to perfect my productivity habits overshadowed my desire to create. That was the first indication that there was even a problem.
I’m learning to love myself as I am.
Over the last few months, I’ve been trying to regain the productivity I had when life felt normal. I’ve made countless excuses for myself, criticizing my work ethic as my mental health started to take a hit. I was way too hard on myself at the start, and that continued to eat away at me until I could barely string a few words together.
In chucking the idea of my ideal self, I’ve been spending more time catering to my mental health and taking the breaks where I need it. It has helped me to slow down, enjoy writing without worrying about it being the very best, and remind myself what it was like not being stressed out all of the time. I’m learning to love myself a little more every day, and remember to stop and enjoy the little things every once in a while.
It’s time to start indulging in what makes me happy.
I couldn’t get myself out of bed to write because I felt like I had nothing to say. I realized in all the time I spent mulling over what I wasn’t doing, I hadn’t even thought about just writing about what was on my mind. It was like I put myself in a box, believing that everything I wrote had to be perfect. Otherwise, it wasn’t worth the effort. It was damaging, and I’m glad that I managed to let go of that.
I had given myself so many expectations, constantly looking for another way to one-up myself whenever I would accomplish something big in my career. I had forgotten what it felt like to bask in the moments where things felt relaxed, calm, and where they made me the happiest.
I kept picturing a woman who had the time to indulge in the little things because I hadn’t felt like I had the chance to do that in such a long time. It wasn’t until recently that I understood I could have that if I tried. So, I picked myself back up, outlined what I wanted to do, and went for it.
I didn’t give myself the chance to talk myself out of it. I prepared ahead of time, giving myself room to slow down so I wouldn’t have a reason to feel overwhelmed. I started to change my negative perspective, believing that I had it in me to strive for the things I wanted, and I found my way again.
Remember, no matter how many times you fall out of routine, or find yourself at a roadblock, there is always a way to get back on track.
Give yourself a little nudge, take a deep breath, and take it one step at a time.
Thank you for taking the time to read this post! Let’s stay in touch.
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