Tuesday, 1 February 2011

The Key to Manufacturing Magnificence

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.


Beth said...

"our own sense of pearlescent perfection, sensational-seductiveness and diamond-shine-brilliance"...beautiful! And a lot to think about in terms of loving the present me AND developing into the future me I want to be. Wonderful post! x

D. said...

I love the last sentence - you are absolutely right.

Euforilla said...

This is so well put!
Sometimes I feel like this are the things that should be taught at school... because self-hatred can be very subtle and it may take a lot of effort to spot that you're doing or not doing something not based on your true choices, but because it's a form of self-loathing.

I also loved your blogpost on Yes&Yes!

Morag Lee said...

I love this sentence:

"There is a stark difference between aiming to develop yourself, and aiming to substitute yourself."

When I was in first year of university I started to become interested in the idea of self-improvement, however my self-esteem wasn't as high as it could be and I ended up trying to change who I was. However come second year my self-esteem grew and when I went on my self-improvement journey again it turned out to be true development. Today I believe I am the best possible version of myself and can say I've become the person I always wanted to be! x

Rhi said...

Amazing, very true and oh so wise. If this wasn't over the internet I would give you a standing ovation for it!

chiara said...

Great post!
Straight in my link love it goes!!!

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