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Ideal self vs Real self: Exploring the Clash of Identities

What do you think about your own personality? You might have a clear image of yourself in your mind, but you still find it difficult to define. The sense of self-worth can only be defined by a person's perception of their own identity. In this post, I'm going to be discussing what your ideal self-image is and why it's different from your real self-image.

Sanju Pradeepa

15 minutes read
Ideal Self Vs real self

Who were you hoping to be when you started your day? How do you feel now that it’s drawing to a close? We all strive to live up to our ideals. But oftentimes, our reality doesn’t quite measure up.

It’s easy to get wrapped up in what’s lacking between those two mental snapshots, but that’s not always the most helpful approach. Your self-image is a work in progress, and comparing it to your ideal is an essential part of the process.

To make this journey easier, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on comparing and reconciling your ideal with your actual self-image. Through this guide, you’ll uncover the underlying reasons why these two may not be in sync and learn practical tips for finding balance between them. Let’s get started!

What Is the Difference – Ideal self vs Real self

Ideal self vs Real self-What Is the Difference
Ideal self vs Real self-What Is the Difference

It’s easy to feel like your ideal self-image is light years away from your actual self-image. The truth is, there’s a spectrum between the two and understanding the difference between them can help you close the gap.

So, what’s the difference? Well, an ideal self-image is the version of ourselves that we wish we could be: confident, attractive, and capable of achieving our goals. Your actual self-image is based on reality: it includes all of your strengths, weaknesses, and other aspects that make up who you are.

It’s important to note that these two images don’t exist in isolation. They can influence each other in positive ways. Just because your ideal self-image may be unreachable doesn’t mean it isn’t motivating or inspiring. And just because your actual self-image isn’t perfect doesn’t mean it isn’t strong and wonderful in its own right. By comparing and contrasting these two images you can discover how to bridge the gap between them.

Real self-image and ideal self-image ; how look they could be? I help you understand. How? Take a look at these;

Factors that Influence the Ideal Self and Real Self

Factors that Influence the Ideal Self and Real Self
Factors that Influence the Ideal Self and Real Self

When it comes to understanding the differences between your ideal self and real self, it helps to consider the factors that can influence them. Let’s break this down and see what we learn.

1. Social Influence

Your environment, especially those closest to you, can have a huge impact on how you view yourself for better or for worse. Studies have shown that people tend to compare themselves to family members, peers, celebrities and other images of perfection that are presented in the media. Unfortunately, these influences can lead to feelings of inadequacy or envy if the comparisons result in finding flaws rather than improved self-esteem.

2. Indirect Self-Concepts

We may not consciously think of ourselves according to various indirect self-concepts, but they do exist. For instance, if you’re an athlete then your ideal self could be someone with an unrivaled level of skill and performance; whereas if you’re an artist, your ideal self could be someone renowned for their creativity and ability to produce work that speaks volumes to various audiences. It’s important to realize that while these indirect concepts may stretch us beyond our limits in helpful ways, they can also lead us away from accepting who we really are right now if taken too far.

3. Life Experiences

Another factor to consider is life experiences – events both positive and negative – can greatly shape how we view ourselves compared with our ideal image. For example, gaining or losing a job or getting promoted in your career can have a strong impact on how you see yourself as related to success or failure when compared with your peers. Life experiences in general often act as feedback loops from which we learn what direction we need to go in order to achieve what we want.

Why People May Strive for Their Ideal Self.

Striving to achieve your ideal self-image can be a fantastic motivator in life, but there’s much more to it. It’s important to ask yourself why you want to achieve this goal and why you’re setting the bar so high.

Is it because of Self-improvement?

It’s human nature to want to push ourselves to do and be better. Striving for excellence is part of the pursuit of continuous self-improvement, and while having a goal is admirable, pushing too hard could lead to disappointment when the unrealistic expectations you’ve set yourself aren’t met.

Or because of the Impact of media on our self-image?

The media also has an impact on how we view our ideal selves, with images of airbrushed bodies featured on billboards or perfect families featured in TV shows often giving us an unrealistic perception of what is real. It’s no wonder so many people are led into thinking they have to live up to ideals that are not actually achievable!

Ultimately, it’s beneficial to take stock of what our motivations are behind wanting to strive for an ideal self.

Benefits of Being Comfortable in Your Own Body

Benefits of Being Comfortable in Your Own Body
Benefits of Being Comfortable in Your Own Body

It can be hard to accept your actual self when it differs from your ideal self, but once you do, you may start to reap the benefits. Here are some of the advantages of being comfortable in your body:

1. Improved Mental Well-being.

Research has shown that striving for unattainable physical standards can lead to negative mental health outcomes like low self-esteem, depression and anxiety. On the other hand, when you are comfortable with your body and who you are as a person, you’re more likely to have higher levels of self-confidence and improved mental well-being.

2. Less Impact on Your Time and Money

Having an ideal and real self-image that are similar also means that physical perfectionism takes less of a toll on your time and money. Being comfortable in your own skin means less time spent trying to reach an unattainable level of perfection; leaving time for other things in life. Plus, without having to purchase expensive products or services to meet the standards of an ideal self-image, you won’t have to worry about spending as much money on beauty items or treatments.

3. Greater Satisfaction with Life

When you accept who you are both inside and out greater satisfaction with life can follow. When this inner peace is achieved, it becomes easier to enjoy more meaningful aspects of life such as relationships, job accomplishments and hobbies. With this satisfaction also comes greater happiness both in daily life and in the long run too.

How Can We Work Towards Accepting Our Real Self-Image?

Comparing your ideal self-image to your actual self-image can be discouraging, but that doesn’t mean you can’t do anything about it.

focus on qualities that you are proud of and to build from there to accept your real self-image
focus on qualities that you are proud of and to build from there to accept your real self-image.

Here are ways you can work towards accepting your real self-image:

Celebrate yourself for what you have achieved: Acknowledge the efforts and successes and look for moments where you have grown or achieved something. This will remind you of your worth and help build a positive self-image.

Recognize the strengths within: Everyone has unique qualities that make them special and unique. Focus on those as well as any other areas in which you excel. This will give you more confidence and help reframe how you view yourself.

Be kind to yourself: Speak positively and kindly to yourself, just like how you would speak to any other person. This will help foster a healthier attitude towards yourself and build more positive feelings about who you are right now.

By focusing on these strategies, we can start to shift our perspective from ideal self-image to real, achievable goals that we can work towards every day!

1. Identify External Obstacles That Impede Self-Image

There are so many external will impedge your self image. So if you are some one who try to work toward your goals it better to find these. What are those? Where did they come from? How to cope with them. There fore it will help you achieve your dreams easily.

These can arise from sources like family, friends, work, or even society at large. Though these external sources of pressure can be difficult to navigate, they don’t have to prevent you from achieving your ideal self-image.

2. Learn Stress Management Strategies

Often, when external sources become difficult to cope with it’s because our stress levels have become too high. It’s important to learn effective strategies for managing stress so you don’t let outside factors overwhelm you or cause negative emotions like guilt and shame that can affect your self-image. Practicing meditation or mindfulness is a great way to cope with external pressures in a healthy way.

3. Talk To Your Loved Ones

If family or friends are part of the source of stress related to your self-image, it may be worth having a conversation with them. Talk openly about why their advice or opinions is causing difficulty for you and ask if there is any way they could offer support instead of criticism. This could help strengthen bonds with those closest to you and set boundaries for how people interact with you in terms of your self-image goals.

4. Social Media Detox

Social media can be a huge source of external pressure on our self-images, as we are constantly bombarded by images and messages that influence how we perceive ourselves and our lives by comparison. Taking a break from social media can help give you some perspective and peace during times when outside pressures become too overwhelming or hinder your progress towards achieving an improved sense of self-worth.

5. Practice Self-Care to Build a Better Self-Image

It’s easy to get wrapped up in the differences between your ideal and actual self-image, but one of the best things you can do is just take some time for yourself to relax and refocus. Practicing self-care is an important step in dealing with a negative self-image and striving towards your ideal.

Here are some tips for cultivating positive self-care:

Make time for yourself every day – set aside some time, even if it’s just 15 minutes, to do something relaxing such as reading a book or listening to music.

Exercise regularly – going for a walk or doing yoga can increase your energy levels and help you relax your mind.

Eat healthy food – eating well can help you feel better about yourself both inside and out.

Spend time with friends and family – these relationships can provide emotional support as well as remind you of all the wonderful qualities that make up who you are.

Get some sleep – getting enough rest helps you reset your mind so that you can start fresh the next day with a better perspective on life.

By taking care of yourself, both mentally and physically, you will be able to foster a healthier self-image which will make it easier to move closer towards your ideal image of yourself.

Lets Try to Balance Ideal and Actual Self-Image.

Lets Try to Balance Ideal and Actual Self-Image
Lets Try to Balance Ideal and Actual Self-Image

Self-forgiveness training is one of the steps. This is realizing that despite any faults you may have committed, you are still deserving of love and belonging. To practice, take a deep breath and tell yourself that you are enough.

After accepting who you are, take measures to close the gap between your ideal and real selves:

Accept the reality of who you are in this moment. Acknowledge all the qualities you possess, both good and bad. Be growth-oriented and focus on your strengths and how you can use them to reach your goals.

Set realistic expectations for yourself based on your values, current circumstances, and skillset. Keep in mind that while it is good to stretch yourself beyond what’s comfortable, it is just as important not to set unrealistic expectations or be too hard on yourself if things don’t go as planned.

Focus on progress over perfection by celebrating small wins along the way rather than aiming for a huge end goal right away.

Figure out what triggers negative thoughts or emotions that prompt unwanted behaviors such as procrastination or anxiety so that they can be monitored and managed more effectively in the future.

Finally, avoid comparison; instead, celebrate their successes with them! Not only is this beneficial for your mental well-being, but it is also more enjoyable than envy or jealousy, which can lead to feelings of inadequacy or insecurity about yourself.

Recognizing Internal Obstacles to Personal Growth

Recognizing Internal Obstacles to Personal Growth
Recognizing Internal Obstacles to Personal Growth

When it comes to personal growth, sometimes it’s easier to recognize external obstacles than internal ones. Recognizing these obstacles can help you overcome them and get closer and closer to your ideal self-image.

Negative Thinking

The biggest internal obstacle to personal growth is your own negative thinking. If you constantly doubt yourself and focus on what you can’t do, rather than what you can do, then it will be difficult for you to make progress and grow. By recognizing this thought pattern and actively working to shift it towards more positive thinking, you can open up a whole world of possibilities.


Another common internal obstacle is procrastination. If you’re always putting off tasks or putting them off until the last minute, it will be difficult for you to get any real progress done in terms of your personal growth. Acknowledge that procrastination exists and actively work on strategies that can help you stay focused and motivated; like setting realistic goals for yourself or establishing healthy routines so that it doesn’t become an obstacle on your road to success.

With self-discipline, perseverance and a clear plan in place, there's no limit to how far you can go!
With self-discipline, perseverance and a clear plan in place, there’s no limit to how far you can go!

Want to avoid procrastination – Top 17 Ways to Avoid Procrastination

How Can We Achieve Our Ideal Self-Image?

How Can We Achieve Our Ideal Self-Image
How Can We Achieve Our Ideal Self-Image

Your ideal self-image is something you can achieve, no matter how far off it may seem. The key is to be honest with yourself and develop realistic goals that will help you slowly move towards the image you have in your head.

Here are a few steps to help you get there:

Identify what it is exactly that you want to achieve – You need to understand what your visionary goal for yourself looks like so you can identify the steps required of reaching it.

Start making changes – Break down your goal into smaller, more achievable goals and start taking action towards them one by one.

Disconnect from comparison – It’s easy to compare yourself to others when their progress seems faster than yours, but it won’t do any good. Stick to your journey and focus on your progress. You’ll get there in time if you stay dedicated.

Believe in yourself again – When times get tough, remember why it was that you set this goal for yourself in the first place. With this mental strength and motivation, you can tackle anything that comes your way.


Remember, no one is perfect and everyone has flaws. It is totally okay to have unrealistic expectations of yourself, but it is also important to remember that what really matters is how you feel about yourself. Comparing your ideal self-image and actual self-image is a great way to get a better understanding of who you are and what you want for yourself.

Acknowledge your accomplishments and flaws and try to focus on the positive aspects of yourself and your life. Let go of the negative self-talk, and always strive to become the best version of yourself. At the end of the day, what matters is loving yourself, flaws and all.


Call to Action

No matter who you are, where are you from, your gender or social identity , skin color, language or your appearance; everything express the person inside you. You need to accept yourself. if you want to be as you wish, like your ideal or your mentors. Everything is possible when you have the courage to accept “YOU”; the person who were yesterday, who is today and who hope to be in tommorow.

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Sanju Pradeepa

Hey there! I'm Sanju Pradeepa and a local consultant who loves to help people make their lives better.I am studying Psychology Education, English Language and currently working as the content creator of So, as a person who believes in the power of words it's my pleasure to share them with you.It's never too late to pursue your passion. I hope that you're ready to take the first step in making that happen.Welcome to our site!

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