What does "unconditional" in Unconditional Self Acceptance Mean ???
A reader says that his English teacher advised that he avoid "modifiers" as they weaken the strength of the word they are modifying. So, rather than "Unconditional Self Acceptance (USA)" he just leaves it at "self acceptance." Nothing wrong with that, but it does raise some interesting questions. Read on . .
Good Morning REBT Mates!
I have been an English teacher for more than 20 years, and in my humble opinion, overly-broad rules such as modifiers wreaking the strength of a word are best taken with a grain of salt. I think we all tend to overuse modifiers, but that does not mean that they do not have a place and a function. We also tend to overuse adjectives (Wonderful!) until they begin to lose meaning and are replaced with stupid, bastard hybrids such as "awesome!" In any event, "unconditional" in our context means that I do not place conditions on my self/other acceptance. In other words, I do not accept myself only if and when I perform well or fulfill some other criteria I have arbitrarily set for myself. If I have a good job, I am cool, but if I am out of work, I am a bum. So, in our context, "unconditional" is not really being used as a modifier in the way that your English teacher probably meant it.
In all due respect to a friend, I have to modify his wording from ("I am forever a fallible, fucked up human being" ) to : "People often and persistently behave fallibly and fuckedupidly." It is quite difficult to write this stuff in English without sounding goofy. I imagine that is why Dr. Ellis stopped trying to write in ePrime and why revisions of "Guide…" we written in more standard English. My friend thinks I quibble, but it's not true! This distinction is essential to my world view as well as to my REBT theory and practice: Separating behavior from self. If I, my self, is, say, 98 cents worth of chemicals, or a "soul" or consciousness, an array of atoms, or a bundle of synaptic responses, or any other concept of self that cannot be rated, it CANNOT be forever fallible and fucked up. It simply cannot. Neither can it be whatever the opposite of fallible and fucked up is. It simply is. It does not need to be saved, spiritualized, improved, transcended, reformed, rehabilitated or any of the fashionable things we like to do to the self these days. It is an ontological/existential fact with no qualities other having the characteristic (it is indeed a characteristic) of existence. My 98 cents worth of chemicals are no better and no worse than yours or Jesus Christ's or even Hitler's. It is all just universal "stuff" expressing in an infinite variety of ways, no matter how we choose to define it
Now, if we are talking about behavior, that is a horse of a different color! Even in describing, judging behavior, however, it is important to be rational and avoid awfulizing, moralizing and over-generalizing, etc.
As no one knows what or can perfectly agree on exactly what "self" is, you get to choose your own self concept. From an REBT standpoint, it is best to choose one that cannot be rated. The collection of atoms that I call "my self" are neither good nor bad atoms. Simply atoms. Simply universe stuff. Just like yours and everybody else's!
As I like to offer up in my own smartass way, I go along with that great, 20th Century philosopher, Popeye the Sailor : "I yam what I yam, and dats all what I yam!"
HAPPY NEW YEAR EVERYBODY!
Mahalo nui loa & Aloha!
Khon Kaen, Thailand
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Originally posted 2012-12-28 18:19:03.
Quotes that matter!Most people do not really want freedom, because freedom involves responsibility, and most people are frightened of responsibility.Sigmund Freud
Founder, psychoanalysis.. "Civilization and Its Discontents "
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