The privilege of a lifetime is to become who you truly are. –C.G Jung
There are limits to the usefulness of science when it comes to becoming the person you are meant to be—what Carl Jung called the Self. As psychiatry has become increasingly based on neurochemistry, brain imaging studies, and other technologies, the danger is that the immeasurable ways that human beings become themselves will be valued less or set aside.
Becoming oneself has been likened to the process of alchemy—turning lead into gold. It requires a process of examining one’s emotions and thoughts and behaviors and determining which are false fronts (base metal like lead) and then journeying deeper into one’s heart and mind to find the perspectives, talents, goals, dreams and elements of personality that are truest to you (precious metal like gold).
That doesn’t sound very scientific, does it? Well, it isn’t. That’s because human beings aren’t just their physiology or neurochemistry. We’re spiritual beings. And reawakening the essence of who we are—finding our core strength and creativity and capacity to love—requires looking inside us in ways an MRI or CT scan or PET scan never could—via tools like honesty, introspection, the power of narrative thinking and the harnessing of human empathy. These tools are less about “imaging” than they are about “imagining,” less about chemical “messengers” in the brain than powerful “messages” from deep inside us.
Pain-2-Power is meant to facilitate this alchemy through a process of guided self-examination. It is meant to get to the “gold” of self-knowledge and self-expression that leads to actual self-esteem and, then, a roadmap to real success. The process focuses, in part, on relationships and struggles and hurdles in one’s life—sometimes early in one’s life—that created distance between the person one really IS and the way one has been functioning. By revealing those detours and unpacking the emotions associated with them, insight increases, anxiety decreases, mood increases and huge reservoirs of energy are freed up to move forward powerfully in life.
I’ll close with another quote from Carl Jung that should help motivate folks to begin the process:
Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart.
Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakens.
Dr. Keith Ablow