Learn to grow

People often ask me the question “what kind of people go to you for therapy?”. The question thinly masks the underlying fear that they have in seeking help from a psychologist. The question they would ask if they were not self too self-conscious is “am I the crazy dysfunctional one?”. The answer that I always give and about which I become more convinced the longer I work in this field, is that the people who seek help and put serious effort in to work on themselves are usually the family, friends employers or employees of the people that should really be in therapy. When it comes to personal growth, the principle of the rich get richer and the poor get poorer applies. Self-help manuals and psycho-therapy are most effective and yields the most dramatic results in people who need them the least. Whether we are talking about childrearing or about what it takes to raise oneself into being a fully matured adult the same principles apply. People who invest in their own growth not only gain strength and capacity to deal effectively in the area of issues upon which they worked. They also increase their ,, commitment, motivation and skill to work on themselves. Working on oneself requires being able to be scrupulously honest with oneself and exercising authority over ones natural drive to act consider only self-interest. This skill begins with being able to submit to outside authority and to not only consider ones subjective perspective. One can acquire this skill by following a discipline that is uncomfortable.  At times it is important to stand up for ones own views or interests just as there are times when one needs to be part of a team and accede to what is in the interests of the greater good. Submitting to outside authority regardless of your own view helps to inculcate this skill. It is because of this principle that when parents undermine each other, even if they think they have the better view, they teach the children that the more dogmatic or emphatic parent is right and that authority is relative to your personal sense of logic or convenience or the principle of the matter. Parents second guessing, yes butting or plain contradicting each others’ authority results in the children not respecting either of them or becoming unwilling to comply with authority in general. People have to be taught to work on themselves. Children who do not learn to respect external authority will not trust their own internal authority. Being unable to take themselves seriously, say no to themselves in the interests of an inconvenient principle they will grow into adults who sacrifice the good and the right for the expedient.

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