CHOOSING TO ACCEPT
In this chapter we examine our personal identity as being a composite of the many different images we have of our self and that accepting them all is an important step in choosing to love.
WHAT IS ACCEPTANCE?
The chapter title Choosing to Accept means accepting our self as we are accepting all parts of our self--without judgement, criticism or condemnation. It is also accepting others as they are without wanting them to be any different than they are.
Acceptance is not denial, tolerance or resignation. We can certainly change the parts of our self we wish to improve, but only after we accept them.
Otherwise the parts of our self we do not recognise and accept, both our positive qualities and our 'negative' ones, we tend to project onto others; and therefore we do not see others as they are, we see only our projections.
Consequently as we are more able to accept our self, we are more able to see and accept other people more clearly and genuinely. Thus accepting all parts of our self is a necessary step towards loving freely and fully.
We all have many different parts. We can call them images or identifications that we have of our self. However each one is only a fragment, a partial image, because we are always changing and expressing different ones at different times. Each image we have of our self then is only one composite piece of our total personal identity.
We have countless other pieces, other images--so many that it would be impossible to list them all. For example most of us can honestly say:
‘SOMETIMES I AM A . . .’
Achiever - Egotist - Optimist
Activist - Enemy - Organiser
Addict - Entertainer - Outsider
Adolescent - Exaggerator - Pacifist
Adult - Extrovert - Parasite
Adversary - Failure - Perfectionist
Advisor - Fanatic - Pessimist
Ally - Fighter - Pragmatist
Angel - Fixer - Procrastinator
Appreciator - Follower - Realist
Athlete - Fool - Rebel
Baby - Friend - Receiver
Beggar - Giver - Romantic
Bigot - God - Saboteur
Bitch - Gossip - Sage
Bore - Helper - Saint
Catalyst - Idealist - Sceptic
Cheat - Innovator - Sinner
Clown - Insider - Spy
Comforter - Introvert - Student
Communicator - Joker - Success
Competitor - Judge - Supporter
Complainer - Leader - Teacher
Consumer - Listener - Thief
Controller - Loser - Tourist
Creator - Lover - Tramp
Critic - Magician -Tyrant
Cynic - Manipulator -Victim
Deceiver - Monster - Villain
Defender - Mystic - Wallflower
Destroyer - Nuisance - Winner
Devil - Observer - Worrier
Dreamer - Opponent - Zealot
In addition are many other images we have of our self at one time or another. A few of the more obvious ones relate to our:
• Political persuasion
• Home responsibilities
• Religious/spiritual persuasion
• Hobbies and pastimes
• Attitudes, beliefs, desires
• Physical body/sensations
• Emotions and feelings
• Mind and mental processes
This brief survey represents a very small fraction of a rich and ever-changing mosaic comprising our personal identity. It only hints at a colourful cast of characters we carry within us waiting to be accepted and integrated within our sense of self our sense of wholeness.
One powerful Psychosynthesis method which aids self-acceptance is known as Identification. It invites us to explore various parts of our self directly and fully. It entails facing them squarely, examining them freely from all sides and accepting them completely as a part of our self. Identification is one part of a two-part process. We present the other part in Chapter Seven.
Identification takes several forms. One common form has five steps. The first step asks us to visualise a relevant need, desire, trait or attitude in symbolic form, such as a person, animal or object. The second step then asks us to explore the symbol for whatever qualities it expresses to us. The third step invites us to make a drawing of the symbol as a means of anchoring it within our awareness.
The fourth step calls for us to interact and dialogue with the symbol to learn more about the part of us it represents. The final step asks us to become the symbol, that is, to imagine our self as actually being the symbol, identifying with it completely, to gain insights about how this part of us feels, thinks and behaves--that is, how we feel, think and behave when we are expressing this part of our self.
Another Identification technique invites us to imagine an image or identity we have of our self as being a separate person, with its own name, personality, feelings, thoughts and behaviour. We call it a subpersonality, as it is only a part of our personality, not the whole of it. It is only one of our inner cast of characters.
Each subpersonality has its own unique expression. For example, whenever we are feeling helpless and victimised (and therefore expressing our 'Victim' subpersonality), we stand, sit, feel, think, move, talk and act differently than we do whenever we are feeling, say, assertive, strong and powerful (perhaps expressing a 'Leader' subpersonality).
Subpersonalities may be likened to musicians in an orchestra. They each have their part to play and their contribution to make to the whole. For many people, however, it is an orchestra without a conductor, and so most of the musicians consider themselves to be star soloists, have their own music to perform and take the spotlight away from all the others whenever they can.
Conflicts abound. Rather than all playing the same music and blending harmoniously together, they sound collectively more like the pre-concert tune-up. They are undisciplined and uncoordinated. They need a leader, someone to take charge, directing and harmonising their talents and all they have to offer to the whole.
In the same way, parts of our self compete for attention and expression. When we experience ambivalence, indecision or conflict within our self, we can say that two or more of our subpersonalities are in disagreement. For example one part of us wants to be in a committed loving relationship, while another part wants freedom and independence above all else.