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Monday, April 30, 2012

Our Selves in the Here and Now

Know Thyself; Finding Self-Acceptance[i]

         The ancient Greeks encouraged us to know ourselves; that is to work toward accurately paying attention to our own actions, motivation and feelings.  Many of those focused on this idea also emphasized the need for positive self-regard, which is seen as a central feature of mental health as well as a characteristic of self-actualization, optimal functioning, and maturity.
         Life span theories also emphasized the importance of acceptance of ourself, including our past lives. Both Erick Erickson’s formulation of Ego Integrity and Carl Jung’s Individuation emphasize the kind of self-acceptance that is notably richer than the standard views of self-esteem.  It is a kind of self-evaluation that is long-term and involves awareness, and acceptance of, both personal strengths and weaknesses.
         Having a purpose in life means having to effectively cope with life travails and suffering.   Gordon Allport one of psychology’s most important theorists held that having a clear comprehension of life’s purpose is central to life satisfaction.
         We can work on this by finding ways to stay in the here and now.  As a specific example, while driving my car I do not turn on the music of the radio.   Especially If something stressful is drawing my mind away, to stay in the here and now I chant and pay attention to my breathing.(deep breath in; deep breath out).  If you are driving with someone you can chant without vocalizing.

[i] C.D. Ryff & B. H. Singer (2008)  Journal of Happiness Studies DOI 10.1007/s10902-006-9019-0

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