We all know the phrase “Become the best version of yourself” nearly as good as “Live in the Here and Now”. I don’t know where it actually comes from. It reminds me of “The Matrix” and the improved version of Agent Smith. Well, addicted to the internet myself – especially in lonely Corona Times – this sounds pretty cool and modern in my ears, even “The Matrix” is meanwhile 20 years old. But we are not a Computer simulation. And it isn’t modern at all.
Don’t we recognize that this positive sounding call for improvement are other words for: “You are not good enough. There is something wrong with you.”? How cruel, when parents connect their love to their children with the demand of well behaving and personal achievements. They may say and even think by themselves “that this is only to your best” to fit in society and to make it. But success and money is not all in the world. Quite the contrary: it’s nothing, when you haven’t established a healthy relation to yourself as personality. The set of our emotional stability is grounded in our early childhood. How do child models, who always have to be lovely, funny, chic, well-dressed and beautiful, deal with their bad moods and aggression? Always smiling, always adapted, always well behaving, always searching for love beside the catwalk of the glamour world.
But you are more than your body, more than your appearance, more than your achievements. You are an identity and personality beyond your outer look. You have a worth unattached and independent of the figure on your scale, independent of the mood you are currently in. Yes, of course, you can improve your skills by learning a new language, by exercising to feel healthy and good with your body, but it has nothing to do with your worth as human. When you first can love yourself, when every point of your to-do list is checked, you are in the same rat race like society, which vaccinated you with their values. And you will never become perfect, because there always something new will come up, of which you think “that must be checked first too, until I feel perfect”. To become a perfect human means to become imperfect. To understand this, means a real shift, a step forward to unconditional self-love and self-acceptance.
I remember an old Zen story: There was a young and committed monk, who had the task to clean a place in the monastery. It was autumn and the grass was covered with the colored leaves of the trees. He worked hard the whole day, and finally he relieved bowed down to pick up the last leaf on the ground. “Now everything is perfect”, he thought and smirked proudly. Then the head of the monastery, an old, experienced Zen master came along. “You’ve done a great job”, he said to the youngster, who was happy about the praise. The Zen master went to a tree with many leaves and shook it. The whole ground was covered with many leaves again. “Now it’s perfect”. (Volker Schunck)