Friday, June 10, 2011

...but...what then?

"The acceptance of oneself is the essence of the moral problem and the epitome of a whole outlook on life.  That I feed the hungry, that I forgive an insult, that I love my enemy in the name of Christ, all these are undoubtedly great virtues.  What I do unto the least of my brethren, I do to Christ. 

But what if I should discover that the least among them all, the poorest of all the beggars, the most impudent of all offenders, the very enemy himself are all within me and that I am the one most in need of the alms of my own kindness, that I am the enemy who must be loved -- what then?"
 ~ Carl Jung

(You can left click on the images to get an enlarged view.)


  1. Oh,Bonnie! Peonies and Carl Jung - a perfect pair!

    Again, your post touched my heart. I've gotten better as I have aged, but still, the things I tell myself, the way I criticize myself. If a friend said the things to me that I say to myself, I'd not be friends with them. Time to start being a friend to myself!

  2. Just that a White Peony?
    I admit, I've made this particular Discovery within myself dozens and dozens of times, and I know I will again...I have many faults.
    Hope you enjoy your weekend!

  3. BONNIE- So amazing. I am always so inspired, challenged, awe-struck, given wisdom to ponder. This is most intriguing. I am, at times, doubtful of my thought-word-action-resolve. I admit such freely. "Thank you"
    Love Gail

  4. Bonnie - Today the universe paid attention, and delivered her message through you. Thank you. Carl Jung's question is what I need to ask of myself today.

  5. Marion: Yes, it can be an interesting experiment to monitor the things we think about ourself for a day. Sometimes we are really not aware of how cruel we can be to self. Once aware, then we can take corrective action. Thanks for your comment, as always. :)

  6. Sherri: Yes, I should have mentionned somewhere in the post that they are white peonies.

    We all have faults ... but we do not have to hate ourselves or punish ourselves for them. :)

  7. Gail: You bring up an interesting point - that I will think about, too - how much we can undermine ourselves with doubt. Thanks! :)

  8. Mila: Such a good question isn't it. Once we can be confident and reliable in our good-will and kindness toward self, we are really free to forget about self and extend the kindness to others.

    Glad to be of service! :)

  9. very nice...the first one makes me think of the memorial wall in DC...

  10. Brian: I would never have made that association, but I see it now that you mention it. Thank you.

  11. The beautiful flower at the height of it's glory juxtaposed with Carl Jung's timeless and deep words is striking. Often, when out alone in nature, I try to emulate it's graceful acceptance of all that is. It is not an easy state to maintain, but a wonderful state to visit as often and as long as one can.

  12. Hmmmmm. What eloquence he had.

  13. ~Love~ the quote Bonnie Thankyou <3

  14. Very pretty, Bonnie. You sure know how to sculpt your images.

  15. This quote is both stirring and thought-provoking, especially for me. I need kindness perhaps more that anything, but strangely, I find it difficult to be kind with myself. In some strange and perverted way, I think I fear that kindness toward myself is narcissistic, whereas kindness to others seems to be a virtue.

  16. George:

    You are not alone in this need, nor are you alone in the concern that kindness toward self could become self-indulgent, prideful or narcissistic. I'm glad you mentionned this, for it gives me an opportunity to clarify.

    Kindness toward self, self-acceptance, self-love do not entail patting oneself on the back, thinking one is the greatest, the best, or better than others. THAT would be hubris and narcissism. Many times kindness toward self would involve setting limits, redirection, restraint, etc. ...

    Self-acceptance and kindness to self are balm to the weary or wounded soul. They are healing qualities (physically as well as emotionally). They free you from harsh inner perfectionist demands. They allow you to set limits and say "no" to unreasonable demands of others without having to justify your choices. They allow you to take care of yourself. They contravene inner archaic demands for punishment, failure, or self-flaggelation(sp?).

    Psychiatrist Carl Rogers developed a school of therapy that was based on unconditional positive regard from the therapist toward the patient. He believed that basking in the healing light of such positive regard and acceptance - the client would eventually internalize it as their own unconditional acceptance of self. This did not mean that they did not discuss less than admirable traits or behaviors. It simply meant that the therapist did not withdraw their unconditional, positive regard for the patient when faults were revealed.

    This form of self-acceptance does not mean that one does not have values and standards of conduct - that you can behave badly and praise yourself for it. It simply means that if you find yourself behaving in a way that violates your (or society's) values, you encourage yourself to do the right thing to solve the problem and you do not decide that such a failing now means you are worthless. You treat yourself as you would treat your only child who comes to you burdened, troubled, perhaps in trouble ... with tenderness, gentleness, understanding, good counsel, and a view to what is right and good now and what goodness and uprightness can be developed in the future ... and ongoing unconditional acceptance for yourself as a human on Planet Earth.

    Having the concern that you do not want to turn kindness toward self into an excuse for narcissistic arrogance, tells me that you will be on the watch for this and would never allow it to happen. Don't worry about this being narcissistic ... just work at making the shift to unconditional kindness toward self ... even when you aren't pleased or proud of yourself, you can still be kind in what you say to yourself about an 'infraction' ...

    We would all do well to ask ourselves the question: "Given the fact that I am imperfect, with many faults and failings (past, present and future), how do I choose to live?"

    Hopefully the answer would include "...with kindness toward myself ... and others who must all, at one time or another, suffer from similar feelings."

    Forgive me for rambling on and on ... :)

  17. To extend the same respect and kindness we give our loved ones to ourselves... interesting.

  18. Dear Bonnie,
    your photos are so beautiful!
    I love peonies!

  19. Thanks, Bonnie, for your extended response to my comments. I find your insights very helpful.


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