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  Jane Miller
BSc  PhD  ECPC


 
 
 
 

Articles -- I am OK

“I am willing to accept every aspect of myself, knowing that each is adaptive in its own way and needs to be heard, understood and accommodated. Nothing is broken or needs to be ‘fixed’. Everything that I am is adaptive for this moment.”

When you were a young child just learning to walk, your parents didn’t criticize you for not knowing how to walk. They smiled at every stumble, picked you up and let you try again, knowing that this is a natural stage of development.

It’s important to value whatever characteristics and behavior patterns you currently have. These are adapted to your current needs and will change as you grow.

When you notice aspects of yourself that you are not happy with, it’s important to understand their current function. For example, if you think you’re too shy, perhaps it’s a valuable strategy to protect yourself from embarrassment. It’s important to accommodate that need if you wish to develop the opposite characteristic (e.g. boldness, outgoingness).

Every trait is useful in some way and every trait has a positive aspect in certain circumstances.

Aggressiveness may be a strength when defending someone who is being threatened. Non-aggression may be viewed as weakness or gentleness, depending on the situation.

When you get stuck in the mode of self-criticism, you stifle your growth. If instead, you acknowledge each of your current traits as valuable and worthy, you are giving yourself permission to continue to adapt and grow.

Listen to your inner critic and solicit its help in your personal development. Your critic is not saying “You are X and will always be X”. It is saying “You are X and it’s time to experiment with being a bit more Y now and then.”

Instead of feeling put down, open up to new possibilities. Every criticism is an invitation to grow. You are being invited to experiment with new ways of being. You won’t have to abandon the old way of being. You will simply be adding to your repertoire.

This is also a useful mindset when someone else criticizes you. Instead of feeling put down, say, “Oh! What can I learn here? In what ways might I change? How exciting!”

It’s OK to not know everything and to not be “perfect”. In fact, there is no such thing as perfection. There is only learning and growth, and that is what we do naturally.

You’re always OK in this moment, and you’re always able to change and grow as you wish and as you choose.

Exercise
What are my most pervasive and habitual character traits?
What is the positive aspect of each of these?
When is each trait useful?
What is the opposite of each of these traits?
When are each of these useful?
How might I develop these opposite traits to achieve a better balance?


 
 
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