“I am Not What Happened to Me, I am What I Choose to Become”
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.” – Carl Jung
Studying for my upcoming History of Psychology exam I discovered this thought of Carl Jung, the father of Analytical Psychology. Though this quote made me think more about the Humanistic view, Abraham Maslow and Carl Rogers self-actualization theories, and this is how I apply this view to ”our“ issue –surviving child sexual abuse:
Yes, it happened to me. But does it need to determine my life, myself and my future?
Humanistic theory in Psychology says that we all are who and what we choose to become, that we are capable of amazing things once we discover our full potential.
This is the iceberg of a person’s life – the so called self-actualization, “the greatest motivating force in personality” like Carl Rogers calls it.
Self-actualization is the highest level of psychological health. A psychologically healthy and fully functioning person is the one who is capable to open to all experience, the one who has a tendency to live fully in every moment, the one who has the ability to be guided by his instincts rather than by reason or the opinions of others, the one who has a sense of freedom of thought and action…
So let’s face it-we didn’t choose to be abused, we can fight this and we can become who we want to be, we can live a great and exciting life, we can influence others and help them recover too, and all this only if we look deep inside in ourselves and find that motivation To Be!
The humanistic view suggests that we are capable of amazing things when we realize our full potential, that we are capable of self-actualization when we choose our paths and face the life challenges trying to make the best of them, and grow from every set back. The self-actualization is the greatest goal of every person and every person builds his own “destiny.” Only then we can become fully-functioning individuals, capable of helping others too, and doing amazing things in our life.
Dalai Lama says: “With realization of one’s own potential and self-confidence in one’s ability, one can build a better world.”
Mahatma Gandhi says: “You must be the change you want to see in the world.”
Charles De Gaulle says: “Nothing great will ever be achieved without great men, and men are great only if they are determined to be so.”
William James says: “The greatest revolution of our generation is the discovery that human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”
John Thomas Salley says: “Tough times never last but tough people do.”
All these amazing people must be right.
And I believe they are. I can be the change. I can Be!
Yes, the abuse-it happened to me. And I didn’t choose that “destiny” for my past but still I can choose my “destiny” for my future-to face the fact that I am going to live with this past forever, to face the fact that I am not able to change it, to face the fact that if I survived this I can survive everything.
I am stronger that I thought. And I can Be!
Self-actualization and personal growth is what I am absolutely capable of doing no matter what happened to me, or may be just because it happened to me.
I didn’t choose to be abused but yet it made me stronger, because I had to face so many struggles in my life that most people never had to fight with.
And I survived.
I didn’t kill myself and I didn’t become a self-hating person who doesn’t have a desire to live(even though I had such times in my life I still managed to keep myself together at the end).
I didn’t become an abuser myself (like it happens often according to the Cycle of sexual abuse theory in which I believe), I didn’t become a monster like the monster who abused me.
I didn’t hate the world and living, it was just difficult to live that life in that world…but I am still here.
I didn’t lose my faith in love and compassion, I didn’t lose my faith that I am capable of these feelings too.
I didn’t lose my trust in others completely (even though I had so many times that I found it so hard to trust people), but still happens now and then when I meet a person who deserves trust, to open my soul and show the real me to him-so I am capable of trust, still no matter what happened to me.
And no matter what happened to me, I am who I am.
I survived and I am willing to do great things in my life.
I am not determined by my past, probably just to the point to be a strong person and to know that I can face challenges, and even being terrified to fight to keep fighting.
I choose to be. I choose joy over pain. I choose success over disappointment. I choose love over hate. I choose trust over mistrust. I choose friendship over loneliness. I choose future over past. I choose me over the monster.
I choose life.
I choose to be.
“I am not what happened to me, I am what I choose to become.”