Posts Tagged ‘Empathy Counseling’

Self-acceptance is a requirement in knowing how to get along with oneself.

Many of us as children learn we are not “good enough” as we were. If only we did things, better, faster, smarter, developed special skills and ability, only than we would “amount to anything”. Being human was not enough, and in our educational system hardly anyone is good enough as he is. We learn the fallacious assumption that improvement comes by being dissatisfied with our self. We develop a master-slave mentality and treat our self as a bad coach treats his players. We have no idea how to treat ourselves as a good friend.

We do not believe that anyone who is sure of himself and satisfied with his ability can function more adequately than some one who constantly berates and treats one self as inferior. We must constantly prove our worth. Yet, in contrast, it’s the feelings of adequacy not inadequacy that leads to successful endeavor.

How do we achieve a sense of adequacy?

1. The first step in developing a sense of adequacy is recognition of the fact that we have a prejudice against ourselves. We do not believe we have worth by the mere fact of being human. We must be “better” or the “best” and whatever we do. Functioning and contributing are not good enough.

2. The second step requires that we repeatedly ask ourselves: “Am I adequate or insufficient?” For those of us who regard anything less than perfection as adequate, this question is repugnant. These individuals lack the “courage to be imperfect.” Everything that anyone has every done, could be done better and improved upon.

3. To create adequacy we must recognize that whatever we contribute is useful. Usefulness alones gives meaning to life. However our prestige-status seeking society is not satisfied with just being useful. We have to be “better” and do “better’ than others or we have no worth. If we are not better than we are a failure.

4. Finally we must get beyond Success and Failure. No one is given continuous success or failure. It is human to make mistakes and humanely impossible to avoid making mistakes. Its not the mistakes that cause the damage its our interpretation of the mistakes that harm our feeling of adequacy. True character shines in how we handle our disappointments. If we learn to take our mistakes in stride without fear of humiliation, loss of status, we can continue to function, contribute, with a sense of adequacy. If we permit our self to become discourage, ashamed, and humiliated we lose our resources and cannot correct our errors. Discouragement is to lose the joy of living, the pleasure of doing things. Even though we think our concern stimulates our abilities, in actually lessens them, and our worry takes away the joy of living.

Adapted from Social Equality by Rudolf Dreikurs, pp. 9-11.