Self-acceptance

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Heraclitus and Athena. He was the philosopher who posited that seeming opposites and contradictions were actually a reflection of the unity of the universe.

“The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.”

 This quote from Mathew 25:40 of the NIV bible is all well and good but as Carl Jung, the Swiss Psychiatrist and Dream Analyst asked ‘what if you discover that it is yourself that is the least of brothers and you who needs the alms of your own kindness– what if you yourself are the enemy that needs loving’?

Many would say that we need to reject this aspect of ourselves, but is that so? Are we to rage at ourselves if we too show weaknesses that we are taught to forgive in others?

 

I would suggest that to reject these shadows in either ourselves or in others only gives them power over us.

“We have met the enemy and he is us” is a quote from the cartoonist Walt Kelly through his Pogo character in the comic strip of the same name and for me speaks directly to the heart of what I believe Jung was trying to communicate.

In many ways “the enemy” is inside each of us and then projected outwardly onto others and to the degree that we can recognize this is the degree to which we can deal with the dark sides of our human nature.

All humans exhibit an inner balancing system designed to maintain an equilibrium within. When too much of any psychic force, positive or negative is exerted either through practice or resistance its opposite comes to the fore. Jung labeled this process Enantiodromia. It’s not unlike the process of Yin/Yang. When a counter force is suppressed for long enough it will eventually make itself known, sometimes in very dark and bizarre ways as with a neurosis.

Essentially when any part of the whole personality of a person or group of persons e.g. a society is suppressed for a great length of time the Being will do whatever it takes to bring back balance. Sometimes “whatever it takes” takes the form of War, pestilence and famine e.g. too much, or extreme, good can produce evil.

Material suppressed into the unconsciousness of both the individual and the collective can eventually breakthrough the individual’s or societies conscious control. There are many examples of humankind’s attempt to produce a Utopia only over time to have it transform into a dystopia or authoritarian regime (note the Communist experiment, Christian fundamentalism, or radical Islam).

Wouldn’t it be better to adjust as we go along, accepting and dealing with all of the personality?

“forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors,”

–from the Lord’s Prayer (NIV)

This quote reflects the yin/yang balance of the universe as well i.e. If you cannot forgive, then you can’t be forgiven– if you can’t accept your own weaknesses and humanity you won’t be able to be at peace with someone else’s that then reinforces your inability to accept your own, and so on. In short, the universe requires balance and acceptance of every part of itself.

 

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