I am currently reading the book “I Never Knew I Have a Choice: Explorations in Personal Growth”. I loved the book since I saw it, it was love at first sight ❤️. I will share in the blog the reflections of my daily readings, with pictures of the scales. I find the topic of the book fascinating and I am grateful of finding this book for only 5 bucks in the bookstore of the Interamerican University, Metro campus.
The preface starts affirming that this book is to explore the “choices available to you”. I would go further and say: the choices avaiable to grow more as who you are called to be. I mean, I have the choice of committing suicide for stopping all the social control around me, but I won’t commit that choice because it is not compatible with who I am and who I am called to be: living Eucharist. Choice, for the mere sake of choosing, is wortless. Our choices must have an intention, a purpose, a call that brings meaning to what we so. We are all meant to be, if you want to call it that way, a living sign of life. We can’t avoid be a living message, so our choices do matter. We are not only someone callled to become who he or she is called to be: we are also living messages, living “prophets”, would a Christian say, for those around us. Who you are matters, and you can choose who you are and who you want to become within a certain range of options. Choose humbly and wisely… and thinking not only about you, but about God and about those who you are called to serve and sanctify.
The preface also affirms that this book is a “personal book” because it encourages to examine the choices we have committed and our level of satisfaction with them… I, as Christian, would say: “the level of sanctification, the level of fidelity to God-Love” but I get it. It also says: “each chapter begins with the present”. Great idea. Then the authors propose an audacious proposal (“where I can go from here?”) at the end of each chapter, stating that each reader is meant to be a “coauthor” of the book with their own reactions and their journals. Yes, this is my kind of book. I love to comment books and answer questions and even better: get new questions I didn’t had before.🙂
The preface also affirms that “self-fulfillment can occur only if individual have a sense of social consciousness”. Well, I am a defiance to that affirmation. My social consciousness along my life always had been very deficient. I believed myself autistc due my “inability to socialice as the people around me” that later on I discovered was normal under my circunstances (those around me along my life were narcissistic and sociopaths, besides narcos). Still, my self-fullfillment have always revolved around accomplishing God’s will. You can do that with very little or even no social conciousness. As a matter of fact, right now I am closing all my social media apps because they are simply working as a social explotation machine, more than like a social interaction/contact instrument. I have become tired of seeing adds that are manipulated, content that is manipulated, of not being able to control what I see and what kind of content I have accesible to my sight. We all know it: the authorities are using my social medias, all of them, for all kind of mind games. My purposes for using social media (for me to evangelize and to socialize go hand by hand) is not taken in count. Sorry, using social media that way, being completely socially exploited everytime I use it, is not normal jor healthy. No one is no one to hand pick what I see and how I choose to share my ideas. No one is no one to play mind games with false proyections and mimicking with what I see in my social media, without me having ANY way to avoid it. I know this choice is gruesome in my circumstances: my only way of socialize is social media, literally, I can’t socialize here at “home” (house of tortures). But authorities know that and still choose to exploit me socially. So, time to let go social media. As a matter of fact, I only use social media to talk with myself, the interactions are zero. So, in brief words: I can assure you that self-fulfillment can occur without social consciousness. I can die gassed at any moment, and will die after living a fulfilled life because I accomplished God’s will until the very end, without social interactions involved. As a matter of fact, I have talked many times about Jesus Charity being an “inmaculate conceptcion” in the social sense: in ordinary circumstances it is impossible to know a God that is Love if someone doesn’t reflect you socially that love. In my case, I knew since child by inner contemplation. No one told me about guardian angels, I knew I had one by prayer. From that on, the reasing of the Bible let me began to know a God-Love that eventually I would contemplate as Jesus Charity, without ANY posibility of knowing Him through social interaction, because they were controlled and used to exploit and abuse me. He is literally, in the social sense, an inmaculate conception. This is not small, if you consider that in the parishes I went and in the theology school I went the social aspect of life was terribly abused. There as an oversocial emphasis that ruined everything, especially fue ideological reasons (left ideologies always deform social aspects; right ideologies ignore social aspects; we are talking now about left ideologies, but I have also met right, and both kind of “asocializations” do damages)… and in that kind of environment, plus the abuse that surrounded me in the house of tortures, Jesus Charity was born, I contemplated Him as the icon I painted not only without any kind help, but with explicit sabotage from my progenitors (they caused fungus, they broke the canvas, they did holes in the canvas, they sticked pubic hair to the painting, they did paint spots that forced me to repaint zones over and over again…). Socially, it was impossible to someone like me to contemplate Iesu Amor, but I did, and I feel VERY self-fullfillled of “giving Him light”, of being chosen and have received the grace to do so. He is the accomplishent of my life. Everything I do I doit for giving Him light. He is, as my guardian angel said, my “alive water” (you need to understand I can’t drink water right now, only bottled liquids like Coke and juices, because they dohave manipulated the water bottles… can a person survive without water? Well, technically, no… but in my case, yes… the same happen with the lack of social conciousness).
After briefing the content of each chapter, the authors affirm that their approach is humanistic and personal: “we stress the healthy an effective personality and common struggles most of us experience in becoming autonomous”, empahizing accepting personal responsability for our choices and “consciously deciding whether and how we want to change our lives”. Yes, this is very me. I call it growth discipline: doing things when we must do them, and how we must do them. May be the word “must” can change to “how we discern we must do them”.
The authors also affirm they are not interested in convert the reader to a particular point of view. Good. I am that way as teacher. “Our basic premise is that a commitment to self-exploration can create new potentials for choice”. Are they saying there are choices we don’t know they are even there? 🤨 That is something to think about.
“The book encourages to take an honest look to our lives and challenge ourselves ro certain changes”… Its not a bad idea.
Is there a class of Psychology of Personal Growth? Never had seen that class, never, in any of the faculties or universities I had been.
The authors have the intention of cause interaction, but above all to provide the reader with an avenue for reflection. Great!
These are all my comments of the preface, I am ready for the adventure!
Let’s being with Chapter 1.
Chapter 1 beings with a daring sentence: “one thing I can see niw that I didn’t see before is that I can change my life if I want to. I never knew I had a choice!”
That sounds beautiful, but my reality is that I don’t have a choice to exist humanely. Said in a few words: I can only exist i jected and treated like a cow. My own life is not in my hands: my body is slaved to my progenitors, even my professional execution is slaved to them, either due the secondary effects of the toxic gassing or due they sabotaging the car and things I use to work (example: they stealed the special accomodations papers from my backpack, I don’t know the special accomodations of my students nor I dared to explain the situation to the principal of the school). The only thing that is not slaved to them is my spiritual being… but my spiritual being is also organic body and social subject, so it is affected at some extent by what they do (example: I can’t pray if they cause me somnolence, nor I can go to mass and have social interaction in the parish because there are narcissistic abusers there too).
I do believe everyone should be entitled with the choice to grow and keep growing, but I do not have that choice. As a matter of fact, the only choice I am given by my progenitors is to die by suicide or murdered by them, either by toxic gassing or causing an accident with the sabotaged car. They, nor anyone else, don’t give me, literally, any other choice to escape their abuse. I have tried over and over again to denounce their abuse, and I have never sucedded. I do have tried to change tht slavery and abuse, but my progenitors falsely projected, with help of corrupt doctors, a false diagnosis of schizophrenia to disguise my abuse claims as paranoia. I have had very solid evidence of abuse, and still no one believed me. During many years, the only choice I had been given to escape the abuse, the social slavery and the extreme cruelty around me is killing myself, something I have not done because it is not compatible with another choice I did: becoming the living Eucharist I am called to be as I “give light” to Jesus Charity. That is the single only reason that have stopped me from committing suicide, but the abuse, the cruelty, the hate, the sociopathy of my progenitors and of those who collaborate with them remains intact, and I can’t change the slavery and abuse I am subject to. So… it is not true that we can always change our lives if we want to.
Further on the book says: “Sometimes it is not possible to make a desired change…”
Lets be clear: in my circumstances, getting out of here and receiving the help I need is not exactly “a desired change”… it is actually a legal change: what is happenning here is criminal, its illegal, period. It shouldn’t be happening, but thanks to authorities who doesn’t act, it is happening.
I continue the quote: “Sometimes it is not possible to make a desired change, but even in these cases you have the power over your attitude. You can choose how you perceive, interpret, and react to your situation. The serenity prayer outlines the sphere of our responsability:
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, courage to change the things I can change, and wisdom to know the difference”
First of all: I am surprised to see a prayer in a book that is non theological. Usually in college books you don’t see prayers.
How should someone react to a social abortion, to someone acting deliberately to dehumanize and slave you and control you, even unto death? The fact is that everyone have normalized it and I am given no other choice than “accept it as normal”. The fact is that this had been considered normal during 37 years. The normalcy here is the normalcy of the victim: I am a victim of narcos and narcissistic abusers, and I have no other choice than accept that I will always be the victim, as I had been my whole life, with everyone knowing it and no one stopping it.
For the same reason, the paradoxical theory of change doesn’t apply to me.
“Perfection is a direction, not a destination”. True.
Definition of self-exploration: “being honest with yourself and others [and God], thinking for yourself, and making a commitment to live by your choices…” I don’t feel I can live by my own choices. I am retraint to what my progenitors allow me to do or don’t do. As example: I chose to become a teacher, but I had been sabotaged once and once again, and now that I am not in an enviroment where I am sabotaged by students and personel, I am being gassed through the night in such way I feel all kind of secondary effects during the day, so I can’t teach the best way I can. So, some way or another, I can’t truly actually commit the choice of teaching, except in a sabotaged or mediocre way. Its not my choice, I do want to teach as I should, but I am being sabotaged/gassed by the very same persons who paid my teaching degree.
And that is a very simple example. My situation is very complex. If I talk about the medical arena the examples can become quite nasty and cruel.
So… how do you self-explore when you are a social slave, with a cucumber and thats it? Because that is the only personal “self-exploration” they will allow.
I am sorry to tell you I have no “other-steem” for my progenitors and those who collaborate with them. I respect them as human beings, but I have no steem for them at all. I want them out of my life, in the jail, for the safety of everyone, including the kids of this street whose parents may be doing the same to them. I do have tried to understand them, and I do understand they came from extremely poor environmets and didn’t have the resources to make better choices… but they did committed their choices, and I can’t be more disgusted by them. Notice my word: disgusted. I didn’t said “angry” or even “disagree”. It doesn’t matter if I agree or not with their choices. The word here is “disgusted”. I know I should feel disgust for anyone, because we are all human beings and brothers and sisters, but I can’t avoid to feel disgusted for the extreme nastyness and cruelty that happens here. Sorry, I try to avoid it and I can’t avoid it. They are commiting very disgusting choices. I would say the same if this was done to anyone else: its disgusting. Forcing someone to exists the way they are doing it with me is disgusting. This is not a lack of bath issue (I can only bath one per week): its a lack of soul issue. I forgive them all the times that is necesarry, but the contact with them is so disgusting I can only pray for the coversion of all and say no more words than necesary, not answering violence with violence, harm with harm, abuse with abuse, dignity violation with dignity violation… I do forgive them, I do… but being forced to remaing in contact with them, after all they have done and still do, is disgusting, is like being socially raped over and over again.
Due the extreme of my circumstances, you may understand my social connectedness is not an habit of my heart, not at all. I have grown used to be socially isolated, sometimes completely isolated (no internet, no human voices, no words spoken or heard, except in prayer). I do understand the importance of sociability and socializing, but it is the least of the essential dimensions of the personal formation for me, at least if you apply it as socializing with people. During years my only socialization had been prayer. There were times I draw sticks in the wall, counting the days without any contact with civilization except radio to hear news. I don’t know if it is possible to say “you can survive without socialization” but I have done it, and several times, with prayer. As a matter of fact, in my forced mental health hospitalizations there were some in which my socialization was zero, I spoke with no one except if forced. Why? I knew the people around me were collaborating with the social exploitation systemof my progenitors.
If there is joy in social connectedness, and stable social connectedness that is both psysical and spiritual (not only spiritual as it had been until now)… well, I do not know that joy to be sincere.
What you call self-actualization I call it realization.
What Jung call individatuion I call obration or projection.
“Self-actualizing people are more aware of themselves, of others and of reality than the non actualizing people”. I don’t know if we mean exactly the same, but theough my whole life I have seen around me things only I see, and I don’t mean ghosts, I mean life details. I had been called “too sensible” for that.
Talking about reality therapy, the book says that “everything we do van be explained in terms of our attempts to satisfy basic needs”. That can be true with small children, but it is not true with adults, and it is absolutely not true with me. If I have learned something is ignoring my needs, because those around me ignore them too.
I now finished reading chapter 1, except the reflect section. Congratulations, it is the most concise text I have read about psychological theories of personal growth.
The problem to me with these theories is that they are not systematized with a foundational personal formation model, a model that embrace all what the person is and is called to be. Many things of what I read could explain the realization part of the integractive personal formation model.
If we could achieve a model like an adn of personal formation that unifies what all these humanistic psychologists are saying, I think that would be great. Each one of them has a spark that must be heard.
I am answering the questiojs in page 20, the scales and the question about Maslow’s theory. Probably the qualities I feel most appealing is ethical awareness, creativity and sense of purpose, because they are very strong in me…
How to explain this…
Interpersonal relationships arise my curiosity sometimes. I don’t know how people’s hearts are, except Jesus Charity, because He has revealed me His heart… but how are psysical and real huam hearts? I mean, I don’t have a friend who comments me her or his day by day stuff, I am heart-blinded. I have asked myself, and to my guardian angel too, many times, how human hearts are supossed to be, how a person is supossed to feel in his or her day by day. Of course, I don’t make questions to anyone about this stuff, you don’t go in live asking people if they are happy, except if they are your students (yes, I educate by heart too)… but how a person is supossed to feel everyday?! 😲 How do you share who you are to another human, non-spiritual being? How do you touch a human heart of flesh the same way you touch Jesus Charity’s flsh heart? If I could could choose one of Maslow’s qualities to cultivate, would be that one.
I associate them all with living a full a meaningul life. It is the first time I read them and I am fascinated with that notion of self-actualization (I have seen the pyramid before, but I have not studied self-actualization before).
Sorry, I have no examples to exemplify Maslow’s self-actualization. People around me don’t strive to do the best, but to comply with requisites/rules. That is the usual teacher life.: you gotta comply with what you are told and thats it. If you go outside the lines, you are the outsider. Yes, thats me
Tomorrow I will continue with the next part of chapter 1 (the multiple intelligences theory).
This book is like McDonalds: I’m loving it! 😂
Here are the pictures of the scales: