entire chapter 7 deals with anger, unreasonable dislikes, and
prejudice. It also discusses the anger that often occurs in an intimate
relationship, such as marriage or between parents and teenagers. Few
of us have learned to have Carl Roger's unconditional positive regard
or John the Evangelist's philosophy of "turn the other cheek" to forgive
everyone. For many unaccepting people it would be easier (than
forgiveness--see chapter 7) to try desensitizing our emotions (chapter
12), determinism (chapter 14), challenging our irrational ideas
(chapter 14), and gaining insight into the origin of the dislike (chapters
7 & 15).
The only safe and sure way to destroy an enemy is to make him/her a friend.
Self-disclosure and self-acceptance
Humanists, such as Jourard (1974), emphasized the importance of
self-disclosure in becoming intimate with another person, either a
friend or lover. Self-disclosure is a reflection of a healthy personality.
It deepens relationships. Showing your true feelings, your real self, is
a part of intimacy. Of course, self-disclosure can be excessive or
premature, e.g. "I thought about killing myself last week" or "I really
like the shape of your butt" might scare off a new boy/girlfriend
(Rubin, 1973). Furthermore, we all have thoughts that are best left
unsaid. However, a more common problem is when we assume (often
erroneously) others will be unimpressed or won't like us as we really
are and, thus, we think we need to pretend to be something we aren't.
We pretend in order to impress someone or to hide our shame.
Actually, the pretender will probably look phony and feel stressed
enough that a relationship will not develop. A better approach is
honesty. Not everyone will like us if we're honest, but those that do
will at least like our real selves, not our phony selves (see chapter 13).
Not only is self-disclosure mentally healthy, but "opening up" to
others is good for your physical health too (Pennebaker, 1990).
According to Pennebaker, an authority in health psychology and stress,
holding back our thoughts and emotions may cause physical harm and
pain. Talking about troubling thoughts relieves internal stress.
Interestingly, according to Pennebaker, confessing your secrets to
others or just writing down your feelings, as in a diary, are both
A friend is a person with whom you dare to be yourself.