Hello my dear happiness nerds, happy New Year!
I hope you had a good start into 2022, I know I did (with the love of my life and a few friends in a chalet in the Swiss Alps). I also started 2022 in the best way I know: By learning something new. In this case, I’m taking an online course on motivational interviewing for helping people with addiction. It’s on psychwire.com and I can already recommend it (I also did one on ACT that I can recommend and one on EFT that I can’t).
Anyway, yesterday was the first session of the course and one message really resonated with me, so I wanted to share it with you. See, if it rings true for you (although it’s ultimately a scientific-empirical claim to test). The wonderful William R. Miller said something like this:
It seems to be part of human nature that when you find yourself unacceptable, you’re unable to change. You’re paralyzed. However, if you can accept yourself as is—and all humans are imperfect—or feel accepted by somebody else, you find the strength and motivation to change for the better.
I find this so powerful. If you try to guilt or shame yourself (or somebody else) into changing, you will fail, and even worse, you will harm. Acceptance should come first.
And this is the greatest strength I see in person-centered psychotherapy: The therapist gives the greatest gift to the client, namely the room to be themselves, to be seen, to be accepted in all their alleged imperfection. Because if you give persons the opportunity to tell their story authentically, all facades dropped, you will find that it makes sense and that you can’t help but empathize.
Regarding the alleged imperfection I’d like to add one last thought by the Japanese Zen-master Shunryū Suzuki:
“Each of you is perfect the way you are … and you can use a little improvement.”
Let’s go, accept who we are, and become what we must!
Much love and a year full of happiness and growth to you all
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