The Paradox of Change

“The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change.” – Carl Rogers

Most of us struggle with the issue of identity. We struggle with gaining enough self-confidence and self-esteem in order to properly navigate through life.

And we struggle because we somehow feel inadequate. There’s a voice inside our heads that constantly tells us about flaws and quirks that we’d better keep hidden from others, should we want to be accepted. The negative traits that we try to hide, repress, or change are the ones that end up harming us a lot more than others.

Because there’s this strange thing: by trying not to be something, you are effectively becoming it. Or you just over-compensate. By telling yourself, over and over again, that you shouldn’t be shy, then you’re just going to condition your brain to be so. Or you’ll just be loud and arrogant, which is not the same as being outgoing.

You can never become the opposite of something by deciding that you don’t want to be it. You become the opposite of something by actively searching to become it.

If this doesn’t make much sense to you, think about it in this way: you get what you think about, whether you want it or not.

And you’re never going to be outgoing as a person if all you can think about is the fact that you’re shy and that’s a bad thing.

Then there’s another thing: it takes a lot of mental effort to hide a perceived flaw, a lot more than it takes to accept it and then change it.

What do I mean by that?

You need to accept yourself as you are. You need to see some sort of magic in you being you. Not because of certain external factors, not because you have something, not because you feel good at a particular point in time. The goal is to love yourself, not to fall in and our of love with yourself.

The goal is to be disciplined enough to love yourself. To be kind and gentle enough to give yourself permission not to be perfect.

You have flaws, and no one’s going to crucify you for them. If you don’t see it as a tragedy, if you don’t see yourself as broken beyond repair, then and only then you can truly change.


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