We have been influenced by many people in setting up this website. One of those great thinkers is a man whose vision of psychotherapy was founded in acceptance, Carl Rogers.
In his book On Becoming a Person he wrote:
“The curious paradox is when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.”
This phrase has resonated in our minds ever since we first read it. It turns out to be true. When we do not accept ourselves, we cannot change. We find ourselves always trying to start any process of change somewhere other than where we are… and so we are unbalanced…
The perfect illustration of this is something that many people who are trying to lose weight tell us. They won’t get on the scale because they don’t want to accept their weight right now. “I will get on the scale after I have lost some weight” is something we often hear. In other words, I want to begin the process of change over there, not where I am right now. As you can imagine, this doesn’t work very well. Because they are not willing to accept the real starting point of their journey, even if they make some positive changes, they can’t reward themselves for the progress, because the first few pounds of weight loss “don’t count”…they aren’t willing to start the process at 210 pounds, they want to start at 195 pounds, so if they go from 210 pounds to 208 pounds that isn’t something they can feel good about, after all 208 pounds is still unacceptable.
One of the types of psychotherapy that is increasingly popular is based on this notion that acceptance can lead to change, it is called “Acceptance and Commitment Therapy” (ACT).
For more discussion about how acceptance can transform your life check out these great books…
- ACT Made Simple: An Easy-To-Read Primer on Acceptance and Commitment Therapy
- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Anxiety
- The Mindfulness and Acceptance Workbook for Depression
- The Wisdom to Know the Difference: An Acceptance and Commitment Therapy Workbook for Overcoming Substance Abuse
- On Becoming a Person