Carl Jung had a difficult life. His mother had a breakdown when he was three, his father lost his faith as a minister and became an irritable hypochondriac, and Jung was badly bullied at school. He was introverted, aloof and had no friends. As an adult, Jung broke with Freud and suffered a breakdown that lasted five years. During this time, he almost lost his grip on reality completely.
Emerging from these difficulties, Jung went on to become one of history’s most influential scholars in the fields of psychology, psychiatry, anthropology, art, literature and religious studies. How did he do it?
Here are some lessons Jung leaned in his journey to wholeness—what he calls “Individuation”. These lessons can help you to find inner happiness and realise your true potential. They also form the basis of Story Image Therapy (SIT)®:
- “Don’t Let Others Define You.” Recognise that you are your own therapist. Use symbolic stories and images to ‘tap into’ your unconscious and find the answers within.
- “Understand Your Passions.” Question yourself. What are you passionate about and why? Do that thing over and over in your individuation journey.
- “Focus on Who You Want to Be.” Jung reminds us that we are not what happens to us, but rather, who we choose to become.
- “Give up Your Addictions.” Jung said any addiction can be harmful. Try to reduce/remove addictive behaviour from your life as much as possible.
- “Be Honest About Your Capabilities.” Embrace the positives of who you are, rather than focusing on who you are not.
- “Make Strengths from Your Weaknesses.” When you are honest about your inadequacies, you can draw upon internal strength to overcome your difficulties.
- “Find a Connection to the Infinite.” See yourself as part of something greater to help you gain perspective and insight. This can mean seeing yourself as part of the natural world, the cosmos, history, a religion, or something else limitless.
- “Make Time for Deep Reflections.” Meditate through regular reflective practice. Draw a picture, sit on the beach, listen to quiet music. Take regular time-out to connect to Self, Spirit and Nature.
Remember to savour the mythic moments in your life.