The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
— Carl R. Rogers
This riddle that Carl Rogers talks about is a common flaw of thinking. This happens when we try to make a change without understanding the current situation. This would be like trying to travel to a destination when you don’t know where you are now.
Even with a map, this is difficult. You must know where you are now to get to where you want to go. It’s perfectly okay to start with the goal in mind, but you must also start with accepting your current situation.
Change is Easy When I Accept Myself
Self-acceptance is not the same as ego-edification. It is being able to see both your positive and negative traits. This means we must observe ourselves without judgment. Accepting yourself just as you are is the key.
The Curious Paradox Of Change
Self-observation is a skill. It involves learning to observe thoughts without judgment. To do this, we must first distinguish between thoughts and silence. We only reach silence when we can cease the internal chatter of the active mind. We do this through proper meditation. Then, we can observe the Ego. This is the paradox. When we disengage the Ego, the real you can show up.
It’s the ability to see your behavior, decisions, and personality and instincts. It’s the default settings of Ego which cause you to act out. Understanding these mechanisms allows us to observe and then choose rather than just acting out. It is from this vantage point of reference you can make desired changes in thinking and behavior. So, when I accept myself just as I am then I can change. This becomes the formula to move from Ego-edification to Ego-identification.
Ego-Edification Vs Ego-Identification
Ego-edification is the state where one is being driven by the default settings of your ego. From this vantage point, you think and behave in ways that are automatic reactions.
When you identify with Ego, you say, “I wish I hadn’t done that.” You overreact to situations. It feels like you aren’t in control. And that is the truth. Many people who live in this state say things like, that’s just me. I can’t change who I am. And, to some extent, this is true. They think they are their Ego because they have never learned to see it as a tool of consciousness.
You keep your default setting for life. But you can go beyond these settings. We all can change. It takes inner work to accept who we are. You can move beyond the curious paradox of ego-identification.
So, Ego identification is the first step toward the ability to be more in control of the mechanisms of personality and instinct. This is the first proper step in inner work. Observing the thoughts and feels of your Ego. The intellect is a powerful tool. If we use it to observe our thoughts and feelings, then we can move from reacting to choosing our actions. We can then choose to direct thoughts and feelings. We can choose positive over negative. This gives us a whole new perspective on everything we observe. When I accept myself just as I am then I can change. This becomes, now that I accept who I am, I am now ready to change.
There are two tools we can use to help us gain perspective on the mechanisms of the Ego. The first is the Enneagram Personality Profile.
The Enneagram Personality Profile
The Enneagram is one of the basic tools we use in our blended learning process. We use it so that participants can begin to understand the difference between Ego and Observer. You aren’t your Ego. It’s just a necessary default tool that connects our body to consciousness. So, you don’t get rid of your Ego. Rather, you learn to move from the place of fixation to observation. When I accept myself as the Observer instead of the mechanism of personality, I can choose.
The Enneagram Personality Profile enables you to identify personality and instincts. The Enneagram maps the psyche. It uses questionnaires to plot the default settings of personality and instinct. It is scientifically verifiable, and many healthcare professionals use it with clients.
The second tool to help us on this journey of inner exploration is what we call a comparative analysis. This is a scientific model for conducting comparative research. It is a process similar to a comparative religious study. We use the above term because it reflects the six steps of the scientific process. These steps guide our study, which provides consistent and accurate results.
A methodical approach like this helps us stay on track and minimize our bias. This begins with understanding assumptions, bias, and prejudice. As we conduct the research, these elements will surface. So, this process helps us to make an honest appraisal of our worldview.
Spiritual technologies are ancient methods for exploring the human spirit. They come from cultures all around the globe. They are time-tested by generations of use. These practical mental tools help us expand awareness. Some open the doors to higher states of consciousness.
The methods we select are tools that can stand up to the rigorous test of science. They are repeatable processes. Several produce measurable effects on our physiology. These changes include brainwave coherence, lower heart rates, and increased skin resistance. These changes prove these states of consciousness differ from waking, dreaming, and sleeping.
Anyone can use them, all you need to do is follow the process. They are like a cake recipe. If you combine the right ingredients in the right way and you get something delicious. They do not the belief or faith in any religious doctrine.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone has their own path. You can start with any of these methods. The more you use, the better.
When I accept myself as I am, then I can change
The desire to grow is natural. We start with the goal in mind, and so we make change the priority. However, the key to change is understanding where you are now. You must learn about the starting place and accept it.
Learning about yourself means understanding your fears. This starts with facing our basic existential fear of death. This does not mean using the counterfeit of the afterlife as an antidote. Instead of trying to cover up our fear of death with mythology, we must ask ourselves questions about the meaning of our life and legacy.
You probably have other fears depending on your life situation and personality. The only way we can make any lasting change is to face and conquer them. This takes courage and persistence.
Remember this important formula, when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.
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Does spiritual exploration interest you? If so, we offer both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. We use a blended learning process to get the best learning outcomes. This blended approach aligns with what Joseph Campbell calls the Hero’s Journey (1).
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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia