Every week, we come into contact with new people that enter our lives. These people can be introduced into your life as clients, friends, customers, co-workers, love interests, and even family you’ve never met before. One thing that we all possess is a real self, which is the person that we are currently living as. However, we all also possess an ideal self, that person we wish or aim to become. This is something I studied in great detail my junior year at Hendrix College in Dr. Dana Leighton’s Social Cognition course when I wrote this research paper discussing The Salience of Guilt, Self-Blame and Hopelessness.
A fully functioning person, according to Carl Rogers, a humanistic psychologist, is one who is possesss these five characteristics:
- Open to experience: both positive and negative emotions accepted. Negative feelings are not denied, but worked through.
- Existential living: being able to live and fully appreciate the present, allowing themselves to experience life, not always looking back to the past or forward to the future.
- Trust feelings: decisions made ourselves due to feeling, instincts and gut-reactions are paid attention to and trusted.
- Creativity: not playing safe all the time, taking risks and thinking creatively, including the ability to adjust and change and seek new experiences.
- Fulfilled life: happy and satisfied with one’s life, yet looking for new challenges and experiences.
Such a person also exists when the individual is able to accept that our selves are not in congruent (the real self is not full equivalent to the the ideal self), and is patient and understanding with themselves in working towards becoming as such. But what happens when the individuals does not accept the gap between the real self and the ideal self is most frequently mental illness, such as depression, post traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, bipolar disorder, etc. This is something that I dedicated a significant amount of my time to research. In fact, I intend to continue to pursue research and turn my paper (referred to at the top of the page) into a fully comprehensible book on what this all means. It’s something that I am very passionate about.
Please take the 30 minutes it may require to really read through this information and digest it. Something as fundamental as this is a big reason why there is disconnect in our society. So many people don’t believe they are capable of ever becoming their ideal self, and therefore revoke their ability to be fully functioning people contributing to society. Similarly, most people witness the impediments faced by such a person and are unable to put their egos aside. They can’t understand that the person they see can’t just set aside their concerns and instantaneously become the person they wish to be. The concept of patience is simple, but hardly practiced.
Just a tidbit to take with you as you embark on new journeys. Have a marvelous weekend!
Ever so graciously,
- Refer to my research paper for other resources.