Is it a sin to (strive to) be the best version of yourself?

To excel in whatever you do… Be it school, work, faith.

But wouldn’t this inevitably lead to the being “better than others” dilemma?

I would think that is God wants from all of us, as long as you do it a honest way, not hurting anyone else in the process.

You can excel and not be arrogant. The Valedictorian of my HS graduating class was also the star wide receiver on the football team. He is still one of the most humble and kind people I know.

The best version of yourself would not be prideful.

Only if you are SURE that the others around you started out with the same talents and advantages. You don’t earn being smart, for example. It is a gift you are given. So the proper reaction if you are able to do great things is gratitude.

–Jen

It depends in what respect, if this best version of yourself relates to your morality and spirituality, then obviously no, so long as one isn’t judgemental of other people I suppose.

But if it relates to materialism and ambition, it says in scripture ‘not to love the world’ and so worldly ambition relates to that.

Of course this is no sin. We SHOULD be the best we can.
Just be careful of how you define “the best version” of yourself.

But wouldn’t this inevitably lead to the being “better than others” dilemma?

No - not inevitably…

Peace
James

The Best is what is asked. God gave many talents and when we come face to face before OUR Creator. He will ask us only one question… “I gave you a gift and to some Many gifts, what did you do with it for me?” To be your best is one thing but don’t let pride intervene. Then it becomes a great sin. Use your best and your gifts from The Almighty for the greater Glory of God and for your brothers and sisters in Christ. “For what so ever you have done to the least of my brethren you have done for me” His words! God Bless!

This is no sin, capability is not connected to worth. An Athlete is worth no more than a Paraplegic. Identifying worth with capability has always been discouraged.

We should absolutely try to be the best version of ourselves. To do anything else would be to bury the talents in the ground until the master comes collecting.

Inadvertently, that means that we will be better than some others at some things (and worse than some other others), but it is not a problem to be better than others at some things or even to know that you’re better than those others at those things. And of course being more capable in a certain way than someone else says nothing about either person’s worth as a person anyway. Ability =/= worth.

We should pursue and be glad in whatever goodness we (and others) can achieve, we just shouldn’t be glad about the fact that the achievements of others are less than our own.

I guess a good rule of thumb would be: if the same principles that motivate you to excel also drive you to appreciate excellence in others when they achieve it and to hope that everyone else excels as well, then you’re probably good.

Using the metaphor of climbing a ladder, the goal is to get as high as you can, to assist others to get as high as they can, to be glad at the height not at the number of people below you, and to avoid trying to stomp people’s faces in to prevent them from passing you.

Matthew Kelly has written a book “Rediscover Catholicism-- A Spiritual Guide to Living with Passion and Purpose” In this book Mr. Kelly equates being a close follower of Jesus Christ and taking the gospel seriously as becoming the “best version of yourself”:slight_smile:

The ability to persevere, to strive for excellence is a gift from God. If you always remember that and have gratitude that God has given you this in addition to your other talents, and that He has helped you to succeed (perhaps by protecting you from despair or guiding your choices), then you won’t end up prideful.

If you offer all your efforts to excel to God, then it becomes a form of vocation as well, a sort of prayer.

However, don’t allow these pursuits to detract from what is most important - namely getting to Heaven and dragging as many people with you as possible.

Being better than others usually means the others didn’t give it their all, and weren’t/aren’t the best they can be. That doesn’t make their ‘sloth’ (for example–assuming that’s what prevented them from reaching their own potential), a virtue.

We will be measured by God, agaisnt the ‘talents’ He endowed us with–not by what ‘talents’ others were endowed with, nor what they did with theirs.

…and the use of our ‘talents’, is but one of a multitude of factors, by which we will be called upon to account for. We will also be called upon to account for our charity, compassion, humility, spirituality, integrity, honesty, loyalty, beatitudes, use of our time, faith, forgiveness of others’s offenses against us, prayer, fielty to the Commandments, morality, and perhaps ultimately–Love (to the extent that it can differentiated from the 2 fold commandment encompassed by ‘charity’–i.e.–love of God above all things, and of our ‘neighbor’ as ourselves).

…probably still others which I may have missed.

Something to remember in regards to being “better than others” in the context of being “the best version of yourself” is that such excellence inherently carries great responsibility.

It is often in this area - the recognition of the responsibilities involved - that people often get in trouble.

Peace
James

No, it doesn’t. Or at least, there is no way for us to know that, even if it were true. People have different capabilities. And who are we to judge whether other people are giving it their all, or how good they can be?

Amen.

We would be better off not wasting our time comparing our performance with everyone else’s, and we will certainly have fewer problems with pride if we don’t attribute our better performances to spiritual superiority (they didn’t do as well because they were sinning) rather than mere superiority in ability (they didn’t do as well because they received less ability from God). But really, any time spent contemplating why other people aren’t as good at things as you are is going to be a spiritual danger.

–Jen

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