The Importance of Being Yourself

I wanted to touch on an article I read over the holidays, and I have adapted to explain the following information. The article discussed the ideal self and the real self. Theorist and psychologist, Carl Rogers, was known for differentiating between the “real” self and the “ideal” self. The real self, as one would assume is the basis of our inherent nature. Only when that self is out of sync with others’ expectations of us (our parents when we’re young and eventually our peers) do we develop an “ideal” self, i.e. the person we want to be or wish we were. Rogers believed that our perception of the gap between our real selves and ideal selves can measure our general wellbeing.

When the gap is big, we experience what he called “incongruence,” a distressing state that can lead to a false and unsatisfying life. When the gap is small, we experience “congruence,” and can thus live authentically and genuinely.

This is just a clinical way of explaining something we take for obvious, but we tend to place a lot of emphasis on closing the gap by trying to be our ideal selves, rather than simply changing our ideals.

So, how does someone change their ideals? Adjust your standards or review them. Ask yourself: do these values really align with your true self? Can they be swapped for something that truly aligns with you?

At the end of the day, you are the only person who spends 100% of your time with you… so be your unapologetic authentic self!


Nahman, H., 2022. #82: What I’m telling myself. [online] Accessed from:




Simone Nind

College Counsellor