Closing the Gap

Regarding our email from last week about the so-called “neurosis gap” (from ideal self and real self), here’s an interesting question a student:

“This was a great topic to touch upon. How do we close the gap, preferably as fast as possible?”

The first point I would like to bring up is that having a gap is not necessarily negative – depending on how you relate to it.

Having this gap between the ideal self and the real self is a way to keep you motivated and striving for something better. The problem is when it takes over your life, and you start to live for the gap. I referred to it in the previous email: the relationship with this gap is more important than the gap itself.

With that said, there are only two ways to close this gap:

– Lowering your ideal self


– Rising your real self

In other words, you either reduce your goals and aspirations or achieve them.

Although we live in a culture that continually strives to achieve every goal you might have, sometimes lowering your ideal self is indeed necessary. The goals may be unrealistic or childish, or too far away. Time and reality will often take care of this.

The other alternative is working towards achieving them. This is perfectly doable if you set your ideal self at a healthy height. Although, quite often, a new ideal self will be created (where we can observe another interesting facet: how is our ideal self created? How do we create it and why?)

In most cases, we have both: lower our ideal self AND raise our real self. This is the most natural alternative. We adjust our ideal self to a realistic view and continue striving toward something higher and better.

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