Learning to love the messiness of myself, the shadowy parts, the complexes, my noisy unconscious, is crucial to my individuation process and is the most effective thing I do for that aim. It means I have to acknowledge the beauty of the thing within exactly as it is in order to accept and love it. Hoffman (2014) wrote, “It is the heart that beauty engages, and in the heart intellect is protected from intellectualism and will is protected from moralism, because beauty gives heart to the intellect so it can become wisdom, and beauty gives heart to the will so that it can become love” (pg.58). It’s not easy, but I can always tell when it’s happened because I can feel the shift. I feel it psychologically and in my body. My gaze softens, my breath deepens my thoughts loosen, and compassion begins to flow. The messiness is still there, but my relationship with it has changed and seeing its beauty allows the wisdom and love Hoffman talks about to aid those parts toward more conscious actualization.
I find it relies on seeing past the temporary mask it wears and into its beautiful nature and therefore my own. Acknowledging the beauty, turning toward love, always feels like becoming more myself. Jung says, “the more numerous and the more significant the unconscious contents which are assimilated to the ego, the closer the approximation of the ego to the self, even though this approximation must be a never-ending process” (CW. 9 part 2, para 44). Two things are crucial in that sentence. First, approximation means the ego and the Self become more similar in values but they are not equal to one another. Rather they are true to its Latin root of proximus and very near. The second is the process has no end. If we think we’ve done “it”, we are in danger.
Dylan Hoffman (2014) Becoming Beautiful: The Aesthetics of Individuation, Psychological Perspectives: A Quarterly Journal of Jungian Thought, 57:1, 50-64
Jung, C. G. (1979). The self (R. F. C. Hull, Trans.). In H. Read et al. (Series Eds.), The collected works of C.G. Jung (Vol. 9 pt. 2, 2nd. ed.). Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press. (Original work published 1959)