Image thanks to nicki
The mass market gets us to believe we can manufacture our ultimate, ideal self all the time: L’Oreal tells us we can manufacture a magnificent glossy mane with their products; Maybelline tells us ‘Yeah, maybe she was born with it, but maybe (read: probably) it’s Maybelline?’ All manner of "health" products flash airbrushed bottoms and thighs at us until we’re sure that if we just buy that exercise bike/diet pill/miracle cream we can, in fact, be manufactured into the Disney princess version of ourselves.
If they’re going to spin that one, and nine-times-out-of-ten we are going to believe them, why on earth can’t we manufacture a little of our own sense of pearlescent perfection, sensational-seductiveness and diamond-shine-brilliance – without parting with a penny, or throwing the current version of ourselves mercilessly to the lions?
The problem is, subjecting ourselves wholeheartedly to the idea of a ‘better’ version of us (in any sense: moral, emotional, physical) is that this at once creates a ‘worse’ version of ourselves; a bad, negative, lesser version. Yearning to be better inherently pits us against ourselves.
You might say this is no bad thing – a bit of healthy competition with ourselves and our ‘other’ – but, wait a moment: who exactly is going to get us from where we are, to the pinnacle of perfection that this imagined self embodies? That’s right: the person we are, right now, in this second: the person we’ve just snubbed, rejected and branded inferior. Why, I ask you, would that person want to help us? If it was me, I’d more likely be plotting sabotage.
Maybe that’s why we so often fail at self-improvement; you can’t hate yourself and improve yourself simultaneously, things just don’t work that way. There is a stark difference between aiming to develop yourself, and aiming to substitute yourself. Therefore, the first key to manufacturing magnificence is positive self-judgment or, at the very least, self-respect, for the person you are right now. If you don’t have that, well, you might as well stick with Maybelline.