Everyone has that person, that one person that represents everything you want to be, your aspirations: your ideal self. It could be someone that has a better personality, a better love life, a better career, a better personal life, whatever it is. We have that version of ourselves in our heads that we somewhat, perhaps, strive to be.
When I was very young, I once told my sister, after an argument with my parents during a family vacation in the eastern provinces, that I would rather live forever with my imaginary family that I joined every night before I went to sleep. My sister answered, “that hurts.” And I regretted saying that.
No shit it hurts. That being said, my sister had no idea what “family” I was talking about. My “family” that I met up with in my daydreams was composed of characters from Sakura, Legend of Zelda and Digimon mainly (if I remember correctly!).
That version of myself represented my ideal self. At the time, it involved magical powers that I knew I couldn’t really have in my waking life (or can I?).
(Well now that I think about it, I do read tarot cards)
As time went by, my daydreams slowly transformed into my goals. When I’m 18, here’s what I wish to accomplish. Here’s what I hope my life looks like.
When I’m 21, here’s what I wish to have under my belt…
When I’m 25, I’ll have accomplished this…
At one point, it stopped being “when I’m X age” and it became “in an alternate universe, here’s where I am.” Because I had caught up with the milestones I had set up for myself. I had reached that limit I had given myself without accomplishing the (literal?) dreams I had envisioned for myself.
Now, when I go to bed, I think of that ideal self that accomplished everything. And I hate her. I hate her because I compare myself to her. (FYI: Apparently emotional masturbation is a thing according to The Betches, and while they use it in the context of imagining heavily romantic relationships with that cute coworker just because he said “hi” to you this morning, I feel like the term is appropriate for this situation too.)
(Why thank you sweet coworker who only said hi because you felt my burning stare all over your body.)
Don’t misunderstand me: I love my current life. I do not regret any (most?) of the choices I have made.
But I kind of hate that Ruxandra that’s accomplished a third of what I want by this time.
And yet she earned it without writing all the homework and exams. That’s the main problem. I unconsciously uphold myself to this version of myself that has learned the same lessons I have without going through the exercises, as if Ideal Self had learned it ahead of Me and had been able to use it. But of course, if Me had learned it years ago, and had grown up within my career and my personal life with that knowledge then I’d be somewhere different.
But I didn’t. I had to go through all of that to be able to get to where I am now. So why would I hold myself against my Ideal Self that reflects the me now, with present knowledge, but that has had that knowledge for years?
On most days, I don’t care. I really don’t. I live my life, and then before I go to bed, I drift into that parallel universe that I know I live in some other part of the world until I fall asleep. And that life, may it not be perfect, reflects where I want to be now ideally. On most days, I don’t care. On some days, I get angry at myself.
Why would I bother with idealizing this self that I know won’t be attainable right this moment? Why would I set myself up for disappointment?
But why would I keep myself from dreaming? It’s just a dream – I know that. It’s a vision. It’s my vision board. And reminding myself of what I want to achieve is good, it motivates me.
But I also hate it. Since I’ve been doing it since I was so young, ever since I compared myself to Sakura saving the world, Sailor Moon clumsily saving the world, I have thought that’s the ideal for myself as well – even if I know it’s unattainable. Even if I know I’ve done some okay work, I cannot take pride in it – because it’s not what I’ve achieved in my head. Everything I do in my waking life pales in comparison to my Ideal Self.
I do wish I didn’t have such high standards for myself. With others’ accomplishments, I’ll be the first to congratulate them, be happy and think how great they are. So why can’t I do that for myself once in a while? You shouldn’t sit on your laurels, but taking time to acknowledge them isn’t wrong either.
Which is why I hate my Ideal Self. Ruxandra is my worst enemy; yet Ruxandra is my best friend. She’s always been there for me, and she always will be. So truly, that makes her fabulous. (Even if I’m jealous of her. But she inspired a good idea for a script. So hooray!)
I feel like I'm not making any sense - am I? It's just a typical case of dreams vs reality? Am I that basic?
P.S.: Should I start writing about places to visit in Montreal? Because I do have a bunch of articles already written...