I have been reading about and listening to for some time the psychology and spirituality of positive self-regard. The psychology and spirituality of positive self-regard basically states the biggest hindrance for people living happy and productive lives is the negative stories we tell our selves about our selves. By not believing in our selves, we tell “stories” about why we can’t accomplish our life goals. We make excuses about why we cannot overcome adversity. These negative “stories”(our personal narratives) we believe in has a “self fulfilling prophecy” effect on our lives.
So what we need to do is not just tell our selves good “stories” but challenge the negative assumptions we make or have accepted about ourselves. From this challenge we can develop sincere constructive assumptions and concepts about our selves. On the basis of these positive “stories” we can develop a plan of action to achieve our life’s goals and then set about actualizing them. What happens is that people find that they achieve more of what they want out of life by taking this positive approach than if they continued accepting and believing in their negative self “stories”.
This psychological theory of positive regard for ones self works and is powerful in improving or changing ones life. For an example I challenged my internalized Christian myth that my soul was part good and part bad or the more negative Christian concept of my soul being total corrupt and is only saved through the good graces of God. I came to believe that my soul was absolutely good. However this did not mean I could not dishonor my soul’s goodness by bad and evil behavior…I could and I have done so. But assuming my intrinsic goodness has allowed me to confront, accept and forgive myself more readily than other wise. Indeed I engaged in less denial and minimization of the wrong I do.
Religiously my assuming the essential goodness of my soul lead me to challenging the concept of “God” being perfect and human being imperfect. This is another myth wherein when I compare myself with Divinity I am essentially flawed. Rather what if Divinity is wholistic, not perfect and that Deity is an evolved being. A wholistic Deity would be a being whose wisdom and love makes the ability to do evil moot, a being that evolved from mortality into immortality, a being that is ever growing in knowledge, wisdom, love and strength and a being that through a communion of Divine souls participates in the creation of an universe or Tree of life. With this concept of Divinity I could then see that my soul was indeed made in the image of Divinity. So from this perspective relative to Deity I was not a flawed being but rather that my soul’s instinct (nature), self-consciousness and ignorance were all part of the process of being and becoming Divine. In this way I envisioned the creators of this universe as kin who have about 15 billion years head start on me.
The concept of positive self-regard is only half of the story. There are two hands of fate. One hand of Fate is what happens to people that are not primarily caused by ones actions in life. Each individual is born with a certain biological fate. We are born with certain genetic limitations or predispositions for health, certain psychological capacities, talents, and temperament and we born with a sex. Here fate includes the familial, cultural, religious and social-economic context we are born into and grow up in and may be fortunate or unfortunate. This fate includes injustice happening and boons occurring. Fate suggests that the universe is a tapestry woven with randomness and limits. Fate weaves certain conditions and then spices it up with surprises both good and bad.
Then there is the other hand of fate that is the consequences of people’s behavior and psychological state of being. I feel it behooves me to contemplate the joy and sadness, the leisure and hardships, tragedy and triumph and to know the harvest of our seeds. In this way I cultivate a thankful heart, change my ways for the good and learn wisdom.
I believe each person is responsible for how they respond to their fate. One gets better results when one responds to fate in constructive ways, which show positive regard for ones self and the welfare of others. By fostering and supporting people responding to fate in constructive ways I am a steward to humanity’s soul.