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Jungian Psychotherapy, Individuation and Self Acceptance

July 5th, 2011 · No Comments · Individuation, Jungian, Jungian psychotherapy, Psychotherapy, Self, self acceptance

self acceptance

For many of us, self acceptance is the great challenge.  For Jungian psychotherapy, it basically is the individuation process.  Some Jungians will disagree, but really, all aspects of individuation, the heart of Jungian psychotherapy, are different aspects of this one great thing.

I find this quote from Jung so striking that I’ve sent it around Twitter a couple of times:

The most terrifying thing is to accept oneself completely.

Also the most liberating, but to even get close to that place, there’s a lot we have to confront.

  • Accepting Ourselves Entails Knowing Who We Are

Oh, boy — not so simple!  We readily think that we know, and therefore accept, ourselves, but it’s not so clear when we truly look behind the mask that we present to the world.  To honestly look in that mirror — and the mirror that others hold up to reflect us — can take real courage.

  • Self Acceptance Means Dropping Self-Protecting Pretence

It’s not just seeing ourselves: it ‘s getting past the rationalizations we give ourselves about why we are as we are.  We also have to stop protecting ourselves from what the unconscious reveals about the self, in dreams, in psychosomatic and other forms, and stop intellectualizing it away.  We have to be willing to hear the cry of our deepest being, even when that cry might be something we’d rather not hear.

  • The Great Enemy: Shame

When we do honestly see ourselves, we can easily succumb to shame, seeing only faults, weaknesses and inadequacies, with no appreciation of our true worth.  I powerfully experienced this when I was a pallbearer at a friend’s funeral, as I’ll recount in Part 2 of this post.

  • It Takes Real Courage to Let Ourselves Be Enough

A  recent  Huffington Post article stresses the importance of being present to our lives here and now — letting what we possess be enough, and savouring it.  But it’s even more important to let what we are be enough.  No other being in the universe is going to be you.  To savour your life, recognizing with compassion and celebration your uniqueness, takes genuine bravery.

No one will ever have this moment you are having right now; it is uniquely yours.  Can you let yourself be sufficient?  Jung was right: it can be utterly terrifying — but it opens the way to a journey of incredible freedom.

Have you had experiences of freedom in self-acceptance?  I’d welcome your comments.

Brian Collinson, Psychotherapist & Jungian Analyst | Oakville, Burlington and Mississauga Ontario

1-905-337-3946

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© 2011 Brian Collinson
2238 Constance Drive, Oakville, Ontario (near Mississauga)