If a response in column A is habitual for you, then strengthen the
response in B. If the B response is stronger and A is suppressed,
strengthen A. To be fully alive, we must experience all our emotions.
When the feelings in A are integrated in a wholesome way with B, we
experience C. All of us have the potential to experience all kinds of
feelings, the self-actualized person is free to express them without
denial, faking, or manipulation. This is, I assume, a learnable skill. We
don't scientifically know the limits of self-help yet.
Please note: No one knows for certain what a mature, healthy
personality is. Maslow, as a humanist, had his opinion, but what you
consider to be an insightful (self-knowing), optimal personality
depends on your values and ideals. An authoritarian or a technocrat
would pronounce a different kind of person to be "healthy," "mature,"
or "self-knowing" (Wicklund & Eckert, 1992).
Sow an act and you reap a habit.
Sow a habit and you reap a character.
Sow a character and you reap a destiny.
Self-Understanding Can Come in Many Ways
Getting to know your inner child
Within the last 10 years, the phrase "your inner child" has become
popular, especially within treatment programs for shame-based
compulsives, addicts, and depressives (see discussion in chapter 6).
(It is similar but not the same as TA's child ego state.) In a
dysfunctional family, the inner child is likely to believe the troubled
parents are OK and "normal." Moreover, children often feel "to blame"
for Dad getting mad, Mom being drunk, Mom and Dad getting
divorced, etc. The child feels shame and thinks, "I must have done
something bad" or "I'm a terrible person." Years later when the child