On Becoming a Person – Reading Carl Rogers – part 2

The Person Who Emerges


  1. Openness to Experience

… individual becomes more open to his experience..

if the evidence of our senses runs contrary to our picture of self, then that evidence is distorted -> we cannot see all that our senses report, but only the things which fit the picture we have.

the individual becomes more openly aware of his own feelings and attitudes as they exist in him at an organic level – he also becomes more aware of reality as it exists outside of himself… he is able to take in the evidence in a new situation, as it is, rather than distorting it to fit a pattern which he already holds.

openness to experience = more realistic in dealing with new people, new situations, new problems; … his beliefs are not rigid, that one can tolerate ambiguity.

he can receive much conflicting evidence without forcing closure upon the situation….
116/ openness of awareness to what exists at this moment in oneself and in the situation


2. Trust in One’s Organism

The person increasingly discovers that his own organism is trustworthy, that it is suitable instrument for discovering the most satisfying behavior in each immediate situation.

He has knowledge of his own feelings and impulses, which are often complex and contradictory. He is freely able to sense the social demands, from the relatively rigid social “laws” to the desires of friends and family.

119/ in most of us the defects which interfere with this weighing and balancing are that we include things that are not a part of our experience, and exclude elements which are.

.. when a client is open to his experience, he comes to find his organism more trustworthy. He feels less fear of the emotional reactions which he has.

  1. Internal Locus of Evaluation

The individual increasingly  comes to feel that this locus of evaluation lies within himself. Less and less does he look to others for approval or disapproval; for standards to live by; for decisions and choices. He recognizes that it rests within himself to choose; that the only question which matters is, “Am I living in a way which is deeply satisfying to me, and which truly expresses me?” This is the most important question for the creative individual.

122/ .. strength which is experienced in being a unique person, responsible for oneself, and also the uneasiness that accompanies this assumption of responsibility.

To recognize that “I am the one who chooses” and “I am the one who determines the value of an experience for me” is both an invigorating and a frightening realization.

  1. Willingness to Be a Process

The individual seems to become more content to be a process rather than a product.

.. to accept a more satisfying realization that he is not a fixed entity, but a process of becoming.

“It’s exciting, sometimes upsetting, but deeply encouraging to feel yourself in action, apparently knowing where you are going even though you don’t always consciously know where that is.”

.. to accept oneself as a stream of becoming.. person as a fluid process, not a fixed and static entity; a flowing river of change; a continually changing constellation of potentialities, not a fixed quantity of traits.

This passage made me think – how do we then actually study personality in psychology? We create a static category, like “culture” in cross-cultural psychology vs more dynamic understating of culture as a process in cultural psychology. However, in order to make research we have to freeze personality, make into a category, a combination of the fixed traits (as in Big Five, for example). But then, what do the results we get mean? And how to study the personality in all its complexity and dynamism?

123/ “.. the sensation is that of floating with a complex stream of experience, with the fascinating possibility of trying to comprehend its ever-changing complexity”.


.. I am sure that this process is not one that occurs only in therapy.

the question “Who am I?” and “How may I become myself?”

.. individual drops one after another of the defensive masks with which he has faced life; he experiences fully the hidden aspects of himself; he discovers in these experiences the stranger who has been living behind these masks, the stranger who is himself.

Person who emerges:

  • more open to all of the elements of his organic experience;
  • developing a trust in his own organism as an instrument of sensitive living;
  • accepts the locus of evaluation as residing within himself;
  • learning to live in his life as a participant in a fluid, ongoing process, in which he is continually discovering new aspects of himself int he flow of his experience

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s