Self-Perception vs. External Perception: Why There’s a Gap and How to Deal With it
Do you work hard at shaping your body, but are you simply not achieving your ideal figure? Do you feel that you need to be perfect in order to receive admiration and acknowledgement? Do you tend to consider yourself a failure if you make mistakes and don’t reach a goal? Then you seem to have wound up in a destructive cycle that sucks the fun out of everything you do, which ultimately doesn’t do you any good. This is a sign that you might want to work on your self-perception. That is not an easy feat, but consider it a challenge and take a systematic approach! The gap between self-perception and external perception is often the result of an “operational blind spot” and an overly narrow view of yourself. As an initial tip, listen to what friends and family see in you and try to take their perspective on board. This helps you to reflect on your self-perception and, when necessary, to ground it every now and then.
The Perfection Dilemma
You already see yourself as perfect? Great! Then there’s really no need to read on. But if you have a goal in mind that you fervently wish to achieve, consider this: perfection may seem to be a good objective, but as always it’s all about the path you choose to take. Even though constant self-improvement is inherent in sports, “perfection” is usually a fantasy. What’s more, it lies in the eye of the beholder. What you consider to be the ultimate result, might well far exceed the expectations of other people.
The Crux of Genes
Your chest is responding well, but your latissimus is lagging behind? Your back and shoulders are shaping up nicely, but your pigeon chest just won’t seem to develop properly? Every bodybuilder has genetically determined strengths and weaknesses. For that reason alone “perfection” is such a tricky thing. Setting high expectations for yourself can of course lead to success. However, the longing for absolute perfection may result in unnecessary pressure and discontentment, especially when self-esteem and self-respect become solely dependent on your success. If you then fail to achieve your objective, it might start to weigh heavily on you and – in the worst case scenario – lead to burnout.
Accept yourself, just the way you are!
Take a careful look at yourself and your body image. Take the time to regularly check your level of self-confidence and satisfaction. If you notice that the fear of failure to achieve your self-defined goals is overshadowing your sense of achievement when you actually do succeed, it is high time to act. As hard as it may be, say goodbye to your false ideals! Even with the “perfect” training plan and ideally balanced nutrition, each of us continues to have strengths and weaknesses. Accept them and make the best of them! Only then can you actually enjoy training and have a healthy sense of self-esteem.
Progress, not Perfection!
The motto here is: healthy motivation, not perfectionism! Bodybuilding is a marathon, not a sprint. Therefore, it’s best to make continual progress towards your goal. The advantage is this that instead of focusing on an ultimate goal in the distance – which may be unrealistic – you meet your objective practically every day and continually draw new motivation from it. Naturally, you can still keep your ideal in mind as a dream or inspiration, but not as a rigid goal that needs to be achieved at any cost. Work on yourself and gradually improve yourself with training. You need patience and consistency to do this anyway. When you keep pursuing it, your path will lead you – gradually and sustainably – closer to your individual notion of perfection!
Relaxation as a Guarantee for Success
Do workouts get you all fired up? Does a healthy sense of ambition drive you? All the better! Just make sure that you also incorporate phases of balance and active recovery into your training plan to balance out intensive sessions. Perfectionists often have the hardest time relaxing; after all, it does not directly contribute to achieving their self-imposed goals. Always approach sports and everyday life with discipline, but also with a touch of relaxation. Who knows? Perhaps someone already thinks you are perfect and sees you through completely different eyes than you view yourself! That’s how it is with self-perception and external perception. The most important thing is – and always will be – that you are satisfied with yourself without putting yourself under constant pressure or justifying yourself. That’s something you can and should work on every day – it’s so worth it!