Posts Tagged ‘self concept’

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.

“ 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

Calmness of mind is one of the beautiful jewels of wisdom. It is the result of long and patient effort in self-control. Its presence is an indication of ripened experience, and of a more than ordinary knowledge of the laws and operations of thought.

A man becomes calm in the measure that he understands himself as a thought-evolved being, for such knowledge necessitates the understanding of others as the result of thought. As he develops a right understanding, and sees more and more clearly the internal relations of things by the action of cause and effect, he ceases to fuss and fume and worry and grieve, and remains poised, steadfast, serene.

The calm man, having learned how to govern himself, knows how to adapt himself to others; and they, in turn, reverence his spiritual strength, and feel that they can learn of him and rely upon him. The more tranquil a man becomes, the greater is his success, his influence, his power for good. Even the ordinary trader will find his business prosperity increase as he develops a greater self-control and equanimity, for people will always prefer to deal with a man whose demeanor is strongly equable.

The strong calm man is always loved and revered. He is like a shade-giving tree in a thirsty land, or a sheltering rock in a storm. Who does not love a tranquil heart, a sweet-tempered, balanced life? It does not matter whether it rains or shines, or what changes come to those possessing these blessings, for they are always sweet, serene, and calm. That exquisite poise of character which we call serenity is the last lesson culture; it is the flowering of life, the fruitage of the soul. It is precious as wisdom, more to be desired than gold – yea, than even fine gold. How insignificant mere money-seeking looks in comparison with a serene life – a life that dwells in the ocean of Truth, beneath the waves, beyond the reach of tempests, in the Eternal Calm!

“How many people we know who sour their lives, who ruin all that is sweet and beautiful by explosive tempers, who destroy their poise of character, and make bad blood! It is a question whether the great majority of people do not ruin their lives and mar their happiness by lack of self-control. How few people we meet in life who are well-balanced, who have that exquisite poise which is characteristic of the finished character!”

As A Man Thinketh by James Allen

We all have this distorted picture, in our society, where we grow up with this constant fear that we are not good enough, constantly being humiliated, constantly a threat of making mistakes being a failure. In our lifestyles we find an escape from the danger if I can’t please, I am not good enough, if I am the first one I am good enough, if I can make other people do what I want, if I can fight my way through, I am good enough. We find in the lifestyle this pessimism, this doubt, which we try to overcompensate on this vertical plane. So we try to be somebody by trying to be more. Once we free ourselves with the idea that we are good enough as we are, we don’t need this accomplishment to be somebody, then we are free from fear and we see all the energy come forward and we can devote ourselves to the task.

Rudolf Dreikurs