Today I Learn… I make a point of learning something new everyday. This is what I learn each day

1, Jul 10, 2008

An ideal self –Reading on Psychologist Carl Rogers

Filed under: Education,Reading — admin @ 5:12 pm

When my son went to college, I was torn by an inner struggle — on the one hand, I wanted to know what was going on with him and, as before, keep a watch on him, not so close though; on the other hand, I realized it was high time that I let go of him so that he could make his own decisions and develop into an independent and responsible individual.  It was high time that I stopped being the one behind him pushing him forward, as if he needed me.  But there got to be something else that motivates him.  What a worry-headed mom! 

I wrote to my son about my dilemma in a long letter to him. I handed the letter to him when I went to Boston last October, making sure he read it. Below is part of the letter on ideal self advocated by Carl Rogers. This only reflects my understanding of his theory, which may not be what he had in mind when he wrote it.  Sub-consciously I must be looking for a surrogate mom.

Psychologist Carl Rogers believed there exists in most of us a self-perceived self, a real self, and an ideal self. The ideal self is the one we aspire to be. For some people, the ideal dies with the passing of their youth years.  Yet, I think the ideal self is extremely important in our life — it shapes our vision, influences and determines to some extent our future.

It is the ultimate internal driving force that keeps the momentum going throughout our life and keeps leading us toward a higher level of existence.   It serves as a beacon illuminating our life’s journey, a goal, a star for us to chase, and the best spiritual company. If we realize it, that ideal no longer exists and that inner force dies, and we cease to find life meaningful.  So sad.

To my pleasant surprise, last winter he told me what his ideal self was.  I don’t remember what his ideal self is.  But I am glad he remembers it.


  1. As a middle age mom, do you still have your ideal self? I believe you do. I never think of it that way. Being young is the most valuable fortune. Well, it never be later if start now.

    Comment by littleant — 1, Jul 11, 2008 @ 10:03 am

  2. 4/7/2009, yes I do. That’s the light of my life. Without a goal, it is so easy to fall into a depressed state.

    Comment by admin — 1, Apr 7, 2009 @ 10:05 pm

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