EVER wonder why some people drive you so crazy? Well, it could just be that the very traits they have that we despise are secretly dormant (and not-so-dormant) within us. This refers to Jungian thinking.
Jungian thinking has taught us much about how to wrestle with our mental ill-health, yet his thinking has taught us more about enhancing our mental health.
Wrestling with Carl Gustav Jung’s (CGJ) thinking is about embarking on a grand lifelong journey of awakening into the Self. From a Christian’s viewpoint, this is very much about tussling with the broken sinful nature and our identity in Christ that brings fullness of self out of honest journeying with God.
Read this through the lens of a solid Christian theology:
“Your visions will become clear only when you can look into your own heart. Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.” (CGJ)
Mark Sayers brought us the vertical self and it’s been very helpful in my thinking. When we keep our thinking vertical — thinking on matters within and matters above — God communicates spiritual truth and he finds in us a willing audience. His truth awakens us, and humility and gratitude are our heart responses.
“Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” (CGJ)
If only we’d learn to ask the question when we’re irritated by others: “Why is this causing me so much angst?”
“Where does this stop being about them and start being about me?”
“What is my response saying about me?”
Such questions invite the Spirit of God to indwell us with the heartland of his truth.
I have to watch myself for the things in others that I dislike. Because it’s coming back at me. Give it time, give it the space of a fresh opportunity, when tables are turned, and I’ll do the same thing I don’t like them doing. Scary, but true.
The best thing about this is anger toward others for how they behave — in the best of their intents — should alert us to the compassion we should wisely set aside. For them and for ourselves.
Maybe it’s not as easy as it looks.
“Knowing your own darkness is the best method for dealing with the darknesses of other people.” (CGJ)
Knowing our own darkness is being truthful about who we are; it’s being humble. It makes us more grateful to God for his grace that accepts us, because of Christ, for who we are, darkness and all.
Sure, others have their quirks of darkness, too. But, the more we focus on others’ darkness the less we see their light, the more we complain, the less grateful we are.
Again, the vertical self teaches us the vitality of spirituality in the fact of the relationship we need most — the one that edifies us in truth. It’s the relationship we have with God. When our vertical self is alive in its vibrancy, God is showing us more and more the truth of our darkness — to which we see through the eyes of his grace. The vertical self engages our humility. It compels us to truth. The more we see that grace in God, the more we juxtapose his grace with our sinful nature, the more we get the priorities in our lives ordered and sorted.
Journeying inward brings blessedness of gratitude from a receptiveness for truth that awakens a soul to its need of humility.
A humble soul knows and accepts their truth and for that soul gratitude overflows.
Again, the more we focus on another’s darkness the less we see their light, the more we complain, the less grateful we are… the worse life is.
We can do better than that.
© 2015 Steve Wickham.