Posts Tagged ‘Self-Acceptance’

“ Why do we find it so hard to believe that our assumption of inferiority is only a prejudice”? Our traditional educational pattern stresses a negative value: hardly anyone is good enough as he is. We perpetuate this pernicious practice under the fallacious assumption that growth and improvement demand dissatisfaction wit oneself. Admittedly, in some few cases the drive for self-evaluation may simulate progress. But in all cases this negative urge is unnecessary, and in many cases highly detrimental.

Anyone who is sure of himself and satisfied with his abilities can do better than someone who must constantly struggle to prove his worth. It is the feeling of adequacy, rather than of inadequacy, that leads to successful endeavor.”

Rudolf Dreikurs

“People simply do not know the facts of life. Anyone who tries to find a place for himself will never find it, regardless how many degrees, regardless how much money, power, beauty, success, he may have amassed. Because unless he first realizes that he has a place by his very existence, if he doesn’t realize this, no attribute, no conquest, no skill, no achievement will give him the feeling of being good enough. Whatever he may achieve, it may not be good enough or enough of it, or whatever he may have gotten he may lose it.

It is this aspect of our society which makes us so neurotic, living in a neurotic society. As I pointed out in some papers, psychotherapy, counseling means fundamentally to extricate the child and the adult from the faulty values of our society, which we fortify in our colleges and our school more and more. This over-ambition which we instill in them which inevitably leads to a sense of failure. “If I can’t be the best, I am the worst.” And the schools contribute directly to the neurosis of our students. The harm which we are doing to our students is indescribable. It is hard to believe what goes on that people don’t see.

I remember one case of a 12 year old girl. The mother came and said, “She doesn’t apply herself. She doesn’t do well enough.” Actually, the child wasn’t too much interested in studying and she would barely do her homework. And I spoke with her. And I immediately realized what it was. The child was over-ambitious and so I asked her to tell me, “You don’t feel you are good enough for this school?” “No.” “Why are you not satisfied?” “I could be better.” “Well how good do you think you have to be to be good in your class?” And after a little prodding it came out, “I think perhaps the first or second in my class would be good enough.” And when I told it to her mother that she has to learn to be good enough as she is, she said, “The teacher who complains to me that my girl is not working up to her capacity is in the subject that my girl got an A-. Please, it was not good enough because you could have made an A+. The whole approach which we have in our classes stirring up this false ambition that if you can’t be the best academically, scholastically, athletically, then you have to switch to the useless side.

These mental tortures, and particularly at universities, are growing a generation of people who have to find their place. It is hard to believe what can go on without anybody crying out loud, “Let’s stop ruining our kids. Let’s stop giving them the feeling that they never can live up to what we the parents, the schools expect from them.” Dr. R. Dreikurs Social Interest in Children

“As children we learned that we are not “good enough” as we were. Only if we earned better grades, learned more, did better, gained special skills and abilities—only than could we hope to “amount to anything,” to “be worthwhile.” Our traditional educational pattern stresses a negative value: hardly anyone is good enough as he is. We perpetuate this pernicious practice under the fallacious assumption with oneself. Admittedly, in some few cases the drive for self-evaluation may stimulate progress. But in all cases this negative urge is unnecessary, and in many cases it is highly detrimental.” P. 9 Social Equality, Rudolf Dreikurs.

When we fail to recognize we belong we begin to compensate for our feelings of inadequacy, which results in a futile battle. The more we attempt to be “better” the more we maintain and acknowledge we do not count.

We compensate these feeling of inadequacy by seeking external validation from others. The desire is to stand out, to be different, to be recognized. This is a game without an end. We fear being ordinary, to be like everyone else. We fear being human.

Some common ways we seek external validation are:

Validation through performance based esteem. Your worth is based on your job, income, degree, or how well you do in school, sports, etc. The tendency is to be over accomplished and be the best at whatever you do—less than perfect is nothing. You hold the highest degree or out do all those around you at work. “Performance based esteem augments and insufficient, internal sense of worth by the measuring of one’s accomplishments against those of others and coming out on top.” T. Real

Validation through sexual promiscuity. Your worth is based on the men or women who are interested and willing to have sex with you. We collect encounters to feel desirable and “loved” even if its sex without love.

Validation through physical attractiveness. Our bodies become the main focus in our lives over exercising and under eating. Men chisel their bodies to have the six-pack stomach and women want to appear as the latest celebrity.

Validation by what we own or whom we know. Our house is featured in Homes and Garden and our guests are the most important people in town. This could be viewed as worth by association. If I am seen with some who is “important” than I must be an exceptional person.

There can be others like the parents who validate their worth by how well their children do in school, scores on achievement tests, or the university they attend.

Our way out of this dilemma is to recognize our belonging. We count by the mere fact we exist. You do not have to find your place or even make a place because you already have a place. It is recognizing you purpose no matter how small or out of the way it seems, and than making the most out of what you have. Its being ordinary, a human being, who does not have to earn a place, its your birthright. Authenticity is about accepting your self, as you are, no more and no less, letting go of being “the best” “the most outstanding” or “fabulous” and being yourself. A fallible, capable, creative, and loveable human being.

“Anyone who is sure of himself and satisfied with his abilities can do better than someone who must constantly struggle to prove his worth…It is the feelings of adequacy, rather than of inadequacy that leads to successful endeavor.” R. Dreikurs