Perfection First, Then Change

A view from our NYE chalet

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 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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9 thoughts on “Perfection First, Then Change

  1. So true, I found this in teaching to be the one way to get through to troubled teens. I’d love to see more Swiss alp photos, looks beautiful!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing your experience! I hope it inspires others to try this mindest, too. Especially with teens (who especially often aren’t taken seriously enough).
      Gladly, the Alps are underappreciated in Europe, I think 😃

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautiful picture. I think you would enjoy “T for Transformation” by Shaun T Blockker, in the book he talks a lot about imagining you are a relay runner handing the baton to “future you” but also accepting the baton from “past you” he talks about embracing where you are, but a lot about change, in more ways then exercise. 🏃

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi, welcome back! 🙂 That’s a really cool image that could really help with visualizing self-acceptance. I’ll see if I can find a talk by Blockker on YouTube (that’s how I learn best 😀 ). Best wishes! 🙂


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