“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. It happens when we try to change without understanding the current situation. Imagine trying to find your way to a destination when you don’t know where you are now.
Even with a map, this isn’t easy. 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 accept your current situation.
Change is Easy When I Accept Myself
Self-acceptance is not the same as ego-edification. It is the ability to see both your positive and negative traits. To do this, we must observe ourselves without judgment. Accepting yourself just as you are is the key.
The Curious Paradox Of Change
The environment we live in is continually changing. Our bodies change every day, but yet some things seem like they remain unchanged. It is the Ego that perpetuates the illusion that we cannot change. But, change is easy if we learn how to observe and transform.
Self-observation is a skill. It involves learning to observe thoughts without judgment. To do this, we must first distinguish between our thoughts and silence. We only reach silence when we can cease our internal chatter. We do this through proper meditation. Then, we can observe the Ego. When we disengage the Ego, the real you can show up. When the real you is present, change is easy.
It’s the ability to see your behavior, decisions, 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. From this vantage point of reference, you can make desired changes in thinking and behavior. When I accept myself just as I am, I can change. Accepting ourselves is the secret formula to move from Ego-edification to Ego-identification.
Ego-Edification Vs. Ego-Identification
Ego-edification is when you are under the control of your ego’s default settings. 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, identifying how your Ego is in control is the first step. It’s the first step of serious inner work that will unmask personality and instinct. Observing the thoughts and feels of your Ego.
The intellect is a powerful tool. If we use it to observe our thoughts and feelings, we can move from reacting to choosing our actions. We can then decide to direct thoughts and feelings. We can choose positive over negative. When we understand, we can choose; it gives us a whole new perspective on everything we observe. When I accept myself just as I am, then I can change. The next step is now that I get who I am, I am now ready to change.
The Enneagram Personality Profile
The Enneagram is one of the primary 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, and when I decide to move beyond ego, change is easy.
Identifying the critical components of personality and instincts is key to understanding Ego. The Enneagram is the tool that gives us a map of the psyche. It uses questionnaires to plot the default settings of our Ego. It is verifiable, and many healthcare professionals use it with clients.
This is a scientific approach to comparative religious research. It uses six steps of the scientific method to guide our research. This method provides consistent and accurate results.
It helps us stay on track and minimize our bias by understanding our assumptions. So, this process helps us 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.
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 require belief or faith in any religious doctrine.
We divide these tools into four major categories:
Everyone has their 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 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 covering 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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(1) Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia