Select Page

There is something about when psychology and theology that makes me nerd out. I can feel the serotonin levels just booming in my mind! I came across a quote from Metropolitan Anthony Bloom in his book, Beginning to Pray. “As long as we are real, as long as we are truly ourselves, God can be present and can do something with us. But the moment we try to be what we are not, there is nothing left to say or have; we become a fictitious personality, an unreal presence, and this unreal presence cannot be approached by God.” It reminded me of something Carl Rogers said in his book, On Becoming a Person. “It seems to me to have value because the curious paradox is that when I accept myself as I am, then I change. I believe that I have learned this from my clients and within my own experience—that we cannot change, we cannot move away from what we are, until we thoroughly accept what we are. Then change seems to come about almost unnoticed.” Another great book that speaks about this similar concept is How to Be a Sinner by Peter Bouteneff. The basic idea of the book is that “if we accept that we are sinners, how do we understand that in a proper way? How does it help us heal and find redemption?” We can boil this all down to accepting who we are to become Who He is. 

Denial is probably one of the most challenging struggles addicts deal with. It doesn’t matter what a person is addicted to; it could be drugs, alcohol, or any behavioral addiction. There is, most of the time, a great deal of denial at the beginning of recovery. The root of this denial is fear. Addicts have a “fear of strong moral judgment, or social consequences [which] keeps them silent and alone. They think, ‘Whom do I tell? Other people will get angry with me, reject me, or go running and screaming out of the room. I will lose my job, my family, my social standing.’ These fears create a deep need to be silent and an even more desperate need to control the behavior. This fear of negative consequences and rejection, and the resulting need to control, becomes intense for any addict.”

Now you may be thinking, well, I’m not an addict, so what does this have to do with me? We often deny who we really are because we can’t bear the pain of the rejection from God, others, and even ourselves. So it’s easier to deny our weaknesses and shortcomings simply because we might not like what we see in the mirror. I can’t help but laugh at the irony because, as Carl Rogers shares, ” it does not help, in the long run, to act as though I were something that I am not.” Have you ever seen a diabetic behaving as if they didn’t? Have you ever seen a person with a broken hand act as if they didn’t? If either of these people did that, you’d find them in an insulin shock and a person with chicken scratch! 

So how do we accept ourselves? Well, essentially, we need to listen to ourselves. To turn in and tune into our minds and hearts. When you tune in and “when you begin to recognize and listen to your heart again, it will recognize you and guide you to the place where you can start to live life in openness. This openness will take you to fuller, more prosperous living through relationship. To acknowledge that truth is to become vulnerable to your heart. Vulnerability exposes neediness, and neediness can lead us to seeking and knowing others and God.”

Bouteneff, P. (2018). How to Be a Sinner. St Vladimirs Seminary Pr.

Dodd, C. (2014). The Voice of the Heart: A Call to Full Living. BookBaby.

Laaser, M., & Carnes, P. D. G. S. (2004). Healing the Wounds of Sexual Addiction (Revised Edition). Zondervan.

Rogers, C. (1969). On Becoming a Person A Therapist’s View of Psychotherapy. Houghton Mifflin Company.