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 in order 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.
When I Accept Myself ― The Curious Paradox
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 myself just as I am is the key.
Self-observation is a skill. It involves learning to observe thoughts without judgement. 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.
It’s the ability to see your behavior, decisions, and the personality and instincts. It’s the default settings of Ego which cause you to act out. Understanding these mechanisms gives us the opportunity 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 is 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. I From this vantage point, you think and behave in ways that are automatic reactions.
When you identify with Ego, you say, “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 real step in inner work. Observing the thoughts and feels of your own Ego. The intellect is a powerful tool. If we use it to observe our thoughts and feelings. Then, move from reacting to choosing our actions. We can 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 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 employ in our blended learning process. We use it so that participants can begin to understand the difference between Ego and Observer. You see, you aren’t your Ego. It’s just a necessary default tool which 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 have the ability to choose.
The Enneagram Personality Profile is a system that enables you to identify and predict the thought processes of personality and instincts. At its core, the Enneagram is a mapping of the psyche divided into various traits and characteristics. It uses various methods including 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 own worldview.
Getting around the curious paradox of ego-identification isn’t easy. The Enneagram can help us to see it. But, we definitely have other tools to help us move beyond its control. These are what we call spiritual technologies.
Above all, these spiritual technologies stand up to the test of science. They exhibit repeatable common experiential phenomena. And, they also have unique physiological signatures different from the basic states of consciousness (waking, sleeping, and dreaming). So, they require no belief or faith in any religious doctrine. Therefore, all you need to do is follow the process correctly.
Spiritual technologies are tools for exploring consciousness. They result from generations of research by cultures around the world. These processes stand up to the test of science. They are repeatable and measurable. They do not require belief in religious doctrine. So, everyone who can follow a process can use them. We call the practice of these processes spiritual exploration.
When I accept myself just as I am then I can change
The desire to grow is natural. We start out 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 own 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.
Interested in spiritual exploration? Check out the blended learning process at the core of our teaching process. It reflects what Joseph Campbell called the Hero’s Journey. Our learning options include both face-to-face and virtual learning sessions. Please consider donating and supporting our mission. This helps others learn the knowledge for developing their own path.
Joseph Campbell & Joseph Campbell’s Book The Hero’s Journey, Wikipedia