On Becoming a Person – Reading Carl Rogers – part 1

Chapter 6 – What It Means to Become a Person

108/ I know that the problem as stated in the first interview will not be the problem as seen in the second or third hour, and by the tenth interview it will be a still different problem or series of problems.

It seems to me that at bottom each person is asking, “Who am I, really? How can I get in touch with this real self, underlying all my surface behavior? How can I become myself?”

The process of becoming

  1. Getting behind the mask

A person, troubled by his unique combination of difficulties…

109/ … examining the mask she has been using, recognizing her dissatisfaction with it, and wondering how to get to the real self underneath, if such a self exists.

110/ … discovers how much of his life is guided by what he thinks he should be, not by what he is. Often he discovers that he exists only in response to the demands of others, that he seems to have no self of his own, that he is only trying to think, and feel, and  behave in the way that others believe he ought to think, and feel and behave.

S. Kierkegaard – the most common despair is to be in despair at not choosing, or willing, to be oneself; but that the deepest form of despair is to choose “to be another than himself”. On the other hand “to will to be that self which one truly is, is indeed the opposite of despair”, and this choice is the deepest responsibility of man.

To remove a mask which you had thought was part of your real self can be a deeply disturbing experience, yet when there is freedom to think and feel and be, the individual moves toward such a goal.

… “I  was peeling off layer after layer of defenses..”

111/ “I don’t know what I was searching for or where I was going, but I felt then as I have always felt whenever I really lived, that I was moving forward”

…illustrates the compelling necessity which the individual feels to search for and become himself. It also begins to indicate the way in which the individual determines the reality in himself

  1. The Experiencing of Feeling

Experiencing of feeling – is really the discovery of unknown elements of self. … In our daily lives there are a thousand and one reasons for not letting ourselves experience our attitudes fully, reasons from our past and from the present, reasons that reside within the social situation. …

112/ They can be and are experienced in a fashion that I like to think of as a “pure culture”, so that for the moment the person is his fear, or he is his anger, or he is his tenderness, or whatever.

113/ the experiencing of a feeling all the way to the limit.. all the way through.

He realizes that this has bubbled through, and that for the moment he is his dependency, in a way which astonishes him.

It may be any of the emotions of which man is capable.

The individual in such a moment, is coming to be what he is. When a person has, throughout therapy, experienced in this fashion all the emotions which organismically arise in him, and has experienced them in this knowing and open manner, then he has experienced himself, in all the richness that exists within himself. He has become what he is.

  1. the Discovery of Self in Experience

114/ … a living pattern emerges without any effort at all on your part. Your job is just to discover it, and in the course of that, you will find yourself and your own place. You must even let your own experience tell you its own meaning; the minute you tell it what it means, you are at war with yourself.

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