Friday, August 29, 2008

On Becoming A Person: This is Me

A friend lent me this book by Carl Rogers, and after reading a few chapters, I find that the book can be life-changing.

I can say that the first chapter "This is Me" was very simple, the one thing that I got out from it was really "Be yourself". But it's more than just a trite expression. It's the explanation that intrigued and fascinated me.

The following is a summary of the learnings in the essay entitled "This is Me". Some of the sentences are condensed versions and some of them are in my own words.

In my relationships with persons I have found that it does not help, in the long run, to act as though I were something that I am not. Trying to maintain a facade isn't helpful. Being sad when you are happy. Being loving when you are hostile. Being well when you are ill.

I find I am more effective when I can listen acceptantly to myself, and can be myself. Realize when you are angry, when you are rejecting. It becomes easier for me to accept myself as a decidedly imperfect person, who by no means functions at all times in the way in which I would like to function. When I accept myself as I am, then I change. Another result is also that relationships also become real, vital and meaningful.

I have found it of enormous value when I can permit myself to understand another person. The word "permit" is pivotal because we risk changing ourselves when we truly understand someone else. That's why it's easier to judge than to understand. Permitting yourself to understand permits the other to accept their own fears and bizarre thoughts.

I have found it enriching to open channels whereby others can communicate their feelings, their private perceptual worlds, to me. By reducing the barriers, communication and understanding increases, which is highly rewarding.

I have found it highly rewarding when I can accept another person. Can I accept his anger, his hostility as a real and legitimate part of himself? Can I accept that he feels and thinks differently from me? Each person is an island unto himself; and he can only build bridges to other islands if he is first of all willing to be himself and permitted to be himself.

The more I am open to the realities in me and in the other person, the less do I find myself wishing to rush in to "fix things." It is a paradox, the more each one of us is willing to be himself, then he finds not only himself changing; but he finds that other people to whom he relates are also changing.

On Actions and Values:

I can trust my experience. Trust in yourself. Your total organismic sensing of a situation is more trustworthy than your intellect. (Nico: In other words, "use the force, Luke")

Evaluation by others is not a guide for me. At times you will be called a fraud and other times a genius. Only one person knows whether you are false or true, and that is you. Praise and criticism is evidence brought before you. But the person who weighs it is you.

Experience is, for me, the highest authority. It isn't infallible, but it is the basis of authority in which to check and is open to correction.

I enjoy the discovering of order in experience. It is used to make sense of what's happening, to satisfy a need for meaning inside.

The facts are friendly. Feedback can be painful, but it is essential to learning.

What is most personal is general. What personal experience you think happens sometimes surprises you to be common with everyone.

It has been my experience that persons have a basically positive direction. Most people do. It is not to deny the fact that there are monsters in society who are cruel, and hurtful, but underneath in the deepest levels there is something that struggles towards the light.

Life, at its best, is a flowing, changing process in which nothing is fixed. Let the flow of experience carry you, in a direction that seems forward, but towards goals which we are only dimly aware. Life is a process of becoming.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Use of Words

I am not a philologist or linguist, but I believe that our words and vocabulary do shape our attitudes and behaviour.

Fro example, in society, when words like negro and gentile are not used in everyday speech, perhaps that is a sign of progress of racial integration.

As long as words like kafir, and murtad are used to describe other people, we will not be able to see each other as fellow human beings but as "us" and "them".

In personal use, instead of using terms like "Christian", "Muslim" or "Buddhist", perhaps we should use phrases like "Seeker of Truth", "Follower of the Way", "Lover of God". It actually makes a difference! I actually said those phrases out loud, and there was a difference in my attitude, my reaction, my spinal cord, my posture.