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A proposal to heal the world

The world is facing many challenges that threaten the wellbeing and harmony of its people. These challenges include wars, violence, injustice, discrimination, and misunderstanding. These problems are not only caused by external factors, such as political, economic, or environmental issues, but also by internal factors, such as psychological issues that affect how people think, feel, and behave.

In this article, I will explore the main psychological issues that contribute to the lack of peace in the world today, and suggest a possible way to overcome them. I will argue that the root cause of many global conflicts is the lack of self-awareness, self-acceptance, and self-love among individuals, which leads to fear, insecurity, anger, and hatred towards others. I will also present evidence from various sources that support this claim, and show how these psychological issues can be resolved through a process of inner healing and transformation. By doing so, I hope to inspire a new vision of peace that is based on mutual understanding, respect, and compassion.

One of the main psychological issues that affects the peace of the world is the lack of self-awareness. self-awareness is the ability to recognize and understand one’s own thoughts, feelings, motives, and actions. It is also the ability to see how one’s behaviour affects others and the environment. self-awareness is essential for personal growth and development, as well as for social harmony and cooperation.

Without self-awareness, people tend to act impulsively, blindly, or selfishly, without considering the consequences of their actions. They also tend to project their own fears, insecurities, or prejudices onto others, creating conflict and misunderstanding. For example, a study by Leary et al. (2006) found that people who lack self-awareness are more likely to engage in aggressive behaviour when they feel threatened or provoked. They also found that people who lack self-awareness are less likely to apologize or forgive others who have harmed them. These findings suggest that self-awareness is crucial for reducing violence and promoting reconciliation.

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Another psychological issue that hinders the peace of the world is the lack of self-acceptance. Self-acceptance is the ability to accept oneself as one is, with one’s strengths and weaknesses, without judging or rejecting oneself. It is also the ability to appreciate one’s uniqueness and diversity, without comparing or competing with others.

Self-acceptance is important for mental health and well-being, as well as for social inclusion and diversity. Without self-acceptance, people tend to suffer from low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, or shame. They also tend to reject or discriminate against others who are different from them, creating division and hostility.

For example, a study by Ryan et al. (2005) found that people who lack self-acceptance are more likely to experience psychological distress and suicidal ideation. They also found that people who lack self-acceptance are less likely to support human rights and social justice issues. These findings indicate that self-acceptance is vital for enhancing happiness and solidarity.

A third psychological issue that affects the peace of the world is the lack of self-love. Self-love is the ability to love oneself unconditionally, with kindness and compassion, without conditions or expectations. It is also the ability to love others unconditionally, with empathy and generosity, without fear or attachment.

Self-love is essential for spiritual growth and fulfilment, as well as for global harmony and cooperation. Without self-love, people tend to suffer from loneliness, isolation, or emptiness. They also tend to fear or hate others who threaten their sense of security or identity, creating conflict and violence.

For example, a study by Neff et al. (2007) found that people who lack self-love are more likely to experience stress and burnout. They also found that people who lack self-love are less likely to show compassion and altruism towards others who are suffering. These findings imply that self-love is crucial for reducing suffering and increasing peace.

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Understanding the problem

To understand the global problem of a lack of peace and understanding, one first needs to understand the psychological causes of the problem, and for this, I will review a number of psychological theories and show how these relate to the current “human condition”, and its impact on wider society.

The Person-centred approach

One of the key concepts in the person-centred approach to psychotherapy (Rogers, 1959), developed by Carl Rogers, is the self-concept. The self-concept is the individual’s current perception of themselves, including their attributes, abilities, values, goals, and roles. The self-concept is not static, but rather dynamic and evolving, as the individual encounters new experiences, feedback, and challenges that either confirm, expand, or contradict their existing self-understanding. Simply Psychology (2014).

Another important concept in Rogers’ theory is the distinction between the true-self and the ideal self. The true-self is the authentic and genuine expression of the individual’s feelings, needs, and preferences. The ideal self is the image of what the individual would like to be or thinks they should be, based on their personal aspirations or social expectations.

According to Rogers, psychological distress occurs when there is a discrepancy or incongruence between the true-self and the ideal self. The individual may feel dissatisfied, anxious, or guilty for not living up to their ideal self. They may also try to avoid or deny their true feelings, which can lead to further alienation from themselves.

A related concept in Rogers’ theory is the self-worth or self-esteem. This is the degree to which the individual values and accepts themselves as they are. The self-worth is influenced by the standards or criteria that the individual uses to evaluate themselves. These standards can be derived from external sources, such as parents, peers, media, or culture; or they can be internalized from these sources (introjected); or they can be generated by the individual themselves (self-generated).

Rogers proposed that individuals who rely mostly on external or introjected standards tend to have lower self-worth and more psychological problems because they are dependent on others’ approval and validation. On the other hand, individuals who rely mostly on self-generated standards tend to have higher self-worth and less psychological problems because they are more congruent with their true selves and more autonomous in their choices.

Internal family systems

One way to expand on our understanding of the concept of self is to contrast Roger’s concepts with those used in internal family systems theory (IFS) which was developed by Richard C. Schwartz, using the metaphor of an onion.

According to IFS, there are two selves: the Self and the self. The Self, with a capital S, is the true self that is authentic, compassionate and confident. The self, with a lower-case s, is the false self that is distorted by trauma, pain and fear. The Self is the core of the onion, while the self is the first layer of skin that covers it. The goal of IFS therapy is to help clients peel off the layer of the self and access their core Self.


However, the self is not the only layer that obscures the Self. There is also a second layer of skin, which is the mask. The mask is the persona that people adopt to fit in with society and protect themselves from rejection or criticism. The mask is often based on unrealistic expectations or idealizations of what one should be or how one should act. The mask can also vary depending on the context or situation. For example, one might have a different mask for work, for family or for friends.

The problem with the mask is that it prevents people from expressing their true feelings, needs and desires. It also creates a gap between how one sees oneself and how one is seen by others. This can lead to dissatisfaction, frustration and alienation. The mask also reinforces the layer of the self because it makes people believe that they are not good enough as they are, and that they need to change or hide their true selves.

An expansive view of our true-self

The notion that the true-self is not merely our human self, but something infinite and transcendent, is not universally accepted. However, there is enough evidence from various fields of study to support this idea. For instance, many spiritual traditions and philosophies affirm that everything is interconnected and ultimately one, implying that the true-self is not separate from the whole. Moreover, some scientific theories, such as quantum physics and holographic universe, suggest that reality is non-local and fractal, meaning that the true-self is not bound by space and time. These are just some examples of how the concept of the true-self can be understood as infinite, rather than limited. (Smith, 2010; Jones, 2015)

If we assume, for the sake of argument, that the true-self is indeed infinite, or at least more than what society commonly recognizes as the self, then this may shed some light on one of the problems that plague our society. That problem is the discrepancy between the true-self and the self-concept. Unfortunately, society often imposes a narrow and restrictive view of the self, which makes us feel inadequate and unworthy. As a result, most people have a self-concept that does not reflect their true potential and essence. This creates a gap between the true-self and the self-concept, which can cause psychological distress and dissatisfaction. (Rogers, 1959; Maslow, 1968)

Furthermore, the self-concept also includes the ideal self, which is how we would like to be or think we should be. The ideal self is often influenced by the expectations and norms of society, which may not align with our true nature and desires. Therefore, many people have an ideal self that is also limited and unrealistic. This leads to another gap between the true-self and the ideal self, which can cause frustration and anxiety. (Rogers, 1959; Maslow, 1968)

Click here for more information on the concept of the infinite self.

The impact of external influences

Many people in our society are influenced by external factors that shape their self-image and identity. They are taught to conform to certain norms and expectations that may not reflect their true nature and potential. They are conditioned to believe that they are limited and flawed human beings, rather than infinite and unique expressions of the true-self.

However, when we lose touch with our true-self, we tend to reject or distort aspects of ourselves that do not fit into the conventional mould of the self. We create a self-concept that is based on how we think we should be, rather than how we really are. We also create an ideal self that is based on how we want to be perceived by others, rather than how we truly feel. These mismatches between the true-self, the self-concept, and the ideal self can negatively impact our well-being and happiness. As Rogers (1959) stated, “The more the individual perceives a discrepancy between self and ideal self, the more he will experience maladjustment” (p. 200). Some examples of these negative effects are low self-esteem, anxiety, depression, and lack of authenticity.

We all need help

This implies that most of us, if not all, experience some degree of incongruence between the true-self (the Self) and the self-concept (the self) and the ideal self. And this incongruence causes psychological distress and leads to dissociative responses to societal pressure. People will deny more and more of their true feelings and needs, causing them to become increasingly disconnected from themselves. This creates a “hole in their heart” that cannot be filled by external validation or material possessions. As Maslow (1968) observed, “The person who is not aware of himself is in a very dangerous situation because he is at the mercy of his environment” (p. 25).

The suggestion is that this inner pain, which affects individuals at a personal level, also has an impact on the wider society. It drives a lot of behaviour that we see not only in individuals, but also in the many organisational structures through which society organises itself. For instance, it can lead to aggression, violence, corruption, exploitation, discrimination, and environmental degradation. These behaviours are often motivated by fear, insecurity, greed, or power, which are manifestations of a lack of connection with the true-self. As Gandhi (1948) said, “There is enough for everyone’s need, but not for everyone’s greed” (p. 87).

Attachment issues

One of the most influential contributions to the field of developmental psychology was made by John Bowlby, who developed the attachment theory. This theory proposes that humans have an innate need to form strong emotional bonds with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, and that these bonds shape their future relationships and well-being. Bowlby argued that a secure attachment, in which the child feels loved, accepted and supported by their caregivers, fosters a sense of trust, confidence and resilience in the child.

On the other hand, an insecure attachment, in which the child feels rejected, neglected or abused by their caregivers, leads to a sense of fear, anxiety and insecurity in the child. Bowlby suggested that insecurely attached children may adopt different strategies to cope with their unmet needs, such as rejecting parts of themselves that they perceive as unacceptable or undesirable to their caregivers, or creating a false self that conforms to their caregivers’ expectations. These strategies may help them to gain some attention and approval from their caregivers, but at the cost of losing their authentic self and developing a low self-esteem (Bowlby, 1988).

However, the problem of losing one’s authentic self is not limited to insecurely attached children. In fact, it is a widespread phenomenon in modern society, where people are constantly pressured to conform to social norms and expectations.

People are taught to hide their true feelings and emotions, and to present themselves as happy, successful and normal, regardless of how they really feel inside. This is what Erving Goffman called “masking“, a process of impression management in which people perform different roles and identities depending on the situation and the audience (Goffman, 1959).

Masking may help people to fit in and avoid rejection or criticism from others, but it also has negative consequences for their psychological well-being. It can cause identity confusion, as people lose touch with their core values and beliefs. Masking can also lower self-esteem, as people feel that they are not good enough as they are, and that they have to pretend to be someone else. Masking can also increase stress and anxiety, as people fear that their masks will be exposed or challenged by others.

Therefore, masking is not a healthy or sustainable way of coping with one’s insecurities or difficulties. Rather than faking it until they make it, people should seek to embrace their true selves and express their genuine feelings and emotions. By doing so, they can develop a more positive and realistic self-image, and a more authentic and satisfying relationship with themselves and others. They can also benefit from seeking professional help if they struggle with issues related to attachment, self-esteem or mental health. As Carl Rogers, one of the founders of humanistic psychology, stated: “The curious paradox is that when I accept myself just as I am, then I can change” (Rogers, 1961).

The global impact of our personal incongruences

However, there is also the impact of mask-wearing individuals on those around them. If everyone is wearing a mask, then “normal” becomes potentially a hollow and distorted version of the truth. This can create a false sense of reality and social norms that can pressure others to conform or hide their differences. As a result, people may lose their sense of individuality and diversity, and may feel isolated and alienated from each other. This can also affect the quality and depth of social interactions and relationships, as people may not be able to connect on an emotional and personal level.

A key concern with this accepted norm in society is the suggestion that the longer a dissociated part of the self is kept in the unconscious and ignored or rejected, then the more likely it is to become more extreme in its attempts to control the self. It may even decide that the self is no longer capable of being helped, and may start a campaign of suicidal thoughts or worse. Yet most people affected by this feel unable to address their issues, and so hold on to and reinforce when needed their mask of normality.

This suggests that masking is not only harmful for individuals, but also for society as a whole. It prevents people from living authentically and meaningfully, and from forming genuine and supportive relationships with others. It also contributes to a culture of conformity and superficiality that can stifle creativity and diversity. Therefore, it is important to challenge the social expectations and pressures that encourage masking, and to promote a more accepting and inclusive environment that values people for who they are.

This means there is a double bubble of sadness and pain out there for a great many people. Their true-self being deeply hidden and denied, and as a result being much less accessible, yet still influencing them via psychological distress. On top of this is their false, inadequate perception of their true-self, which is usually more accessible and often seen as the only cause of their distress. Their response to this by way of masking, further compounding the issue.

Our inferiority complex

One implication of this theoretical proposal is that a very significant part of society may be driven by what Alfred Adler identified as an inferiority complex – the often-secret conviction that the individual feels themselves to be inferior to others around them.

“Positive as well as negative occurrences can constellate the inferior counter-function. When this happens, sensitiveness appears. Sensitiveness is a sure sign of the presence of inferiority. This provides the psychological basis for discord and misunderstanding, not only as between two people, but also in ourselves. The essence of the inferior function is autonomy: it is independent, it attacks, it fascinates and so spins us about that we are no longer masters of ourselves and can no longer rightly distinguish between ourselves and others.” ~Jung, “The Problem of the Attitude-Type,” CW 7, par. 85.

One of the concepts that Carl Jung, the founder of analytical psychology, introduced in his work was the idea of the inferiority complex (Jung, C. G. 1969). This concept describes the psychological state of feeling less than others, either based on real or perceived shortcomings. These shortcomings could be related to physical appearance, mental abilities, or emotional trauma. People who suffer from an inferiority complex may have difficulties in social interactions, as they may either isolate themselves, try to impress others, or act hostilely.

Jung’s interest in inferiority complexes was part of his larger framework of understanding the human psyche and its development. He argued that these complexes were often caused by an imbalance in the psyche, especially between the conscious and the unconscious aspects of the self. He called the unconscious aspect the “personal shadow,” which contains all the elements of self that we have rejected or suppressed, often due to social or moral norms. These elements can include negative emotions, impulses, fantasies, or memories that we feel ashamed or guilty about (Jung, C. G. 1971).

The personal shadow, according to Jung, is a source of both potential and danger for the individual. On one hand, it can provide a rich resource for creativity and growth, if we are willing to face and integrate it into our conscious self. On the other hand, it can also generate feelings of inferiority and insecurity, if we are unaware of it or try to avoid it. Jung believed that the process of becoming aware of and accepting our personal shadow was essential for achieving psychological wholeness and harmony (Jung, C. G., & Von Franz, M.-L. 1968).

Jung and Adler had different perspectives on how individuals develop and cope with feelings of inferiority. Adler emphasized the role of social factors in shaping the individual’s personality and sense of self-worth. He argued that inferiority feelings arise from a perceived lack of social belonging or contribution, and that individuals strive to overcome them by seeking social recognition or superiority. He also suggested that individuals have a creative power to construct their own self-concept, which may or may not reflect their true potential or essence (Adler, 1956).

Jung, on the other hand, explored the role of the unconscious in influencing the individual’s behaviour and identity. He proposed that the unconscious consists of two layers: the personal unconscious, which contains repressed or forgotten memories and experiences, and the collective unconscious, which contains archetypes or universal symbols and patterns. He believed that inferiority feelings stem from a disconnection or conflict between the conscious ego and the unconscious self, which represents the totality and wholeness of the individual. He also advocated for the process of individuation, which involves confronting and integrating the shadow, or the dark and negative aspects of oneself, as a way of achieving self-realization and harmony (Jung, 1969).

Based on these concepts, it can be inferred that many people experience inferiority feelings in different ways and for different reasons. Some may try to compensate for their perceived lack of worth by pursuing external validation or domination over others, while others may withdraw or avoid situations that challenge their self-esteem. Some may also project their own insecurities or flaws onto others, or try to undermine their achievements or happiness. These coping strategies may be ineffective or harmful, and may lead to further psychological distress or dissatisfaction. Therefore, it is important for individuals to understand and accept themselves as they are, and to seek personal growth and fulfilment rather than social comparison or competition.

The societal inferiority complex

The concept of the inferiority complex can also apply to macro societal structures, which are the large-scale patterns and institutions that shape society. Just as individuals can perceive themselves to be inferior to others and for this knowledge to cause those people to a relationship bias that tends to be negative, likely to cause conflict etc. A societal inferiority complex is a psychological phenomenon that occurs when a group of people feels less worthy, less capable, or less valued than another group, often due to historical, cultural, or economic factors. This can lead to feelings of resentment, hostility, or aggression towards the perceived superior group, which can sometimes escalate into violent conflicts.

The inferiority complex, as it applies to macro societal structures, has been noticed and researched by various scholars and activists. For instance, Frantz Fanon (1963), a psychiatrist and anti-colonial thinker, wrote about the psychological effects of colonialism on the colonized people. He argued that colonialism creates a “colonized mentality” that makes the colonized people feel inferior and dependent on the colonizers. He also suggested ways to overcome this mentality, such as cultural resistance and national liberation.

One example of a macrostructure is patriarchy, which is the system of economic and political inequality between women and men in most societies. Patriarchy can create an inferiority complex among women, who may feel less valued, respected, or capable than men. This can lead to low self-esteem, depression, or internalized sexism.

An example of a societal inferiority complex that affected governmental structures and led to wars is the rise of Nazi Germany in the 1930s. After Germany’s defeat in World War I and the harsh conditions imposed by the Treaty of Versailles, many Germans felt humiliated, oppressed, and exploited by the victorious Allied powers. This created a fertile ground for the emergence of Adolf Hitler and his ideology of racial supremacy and national expansionism. Hitler exploited the Germans’ sense of inferiority and resentment to gain power and to justify his aggressive policies towards other countries, especially those he considered racially inferior or enemies of Germany. This resulted in World War II, one of the most devastating wars in human history.

Another example of a societal inferiority complex that influenced governmental structures and contributed to wars is the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union. After World War II, these two superpowers emerged as the dominant political, economic, and military forces in the world, but they had different ideologies and interests that clashed with each other. The Soviet Union felt threatened by the United States’ capitalist system and its nuclear arsenal, while the United States feared the spread of communism and its potential threat to democracy and freedom. Both sides engaged in a series of proxy wars, espionage, propaganda, and arms races to assert their superiority and influence over other countries and regions. The Cold War lasted for almost half a century and had significant impacts on global politics, culture, and society.

These examples show that societal inferiority complexes can apply to governmental structures and can result in wars. However, this is not a deterministic or inevitable outcome, as there are other factors that influence the causes and consequences of wars, such as resources, alliances, ideologies, personalities, and events.

These examples are provided to help illustrate how a lack of self-confidence in an individual as a result of their dissociations denials can negatively influence every aspect of society, at every level.

A possible solution to the problem of society

The problem of global peace and individual wellbeing, and the current lack of these, is a complex and multifaceted issue that requires a holistic and integrative approach. I believe that one of the key factors that can contribute to the solution of this problem is the healing of the individual from the dissociations that cause them to be agents of societal dysfunction. Dissociations are the gaps or conflicts between one’s true self and one’s ideal self, between one’s self-concept and one’s experiences, or between one’s values and one’s actions. These dissociations can lead to psychological distress, low self-esteem, poor interpersonal relationships, and harmful behaviours towards oneself and others. By healing these dissociations, individuals can achieve greater congruence, authenticity, and harmony within themselves and with others. They can also develop more positive and realistic self-worth, based on their own values and potentials, rather than on external standards or expectations. As a result, they can become more accepting and loving of others, and more resilient to societies negative influences.

The person-centred approach is a therapeutic modality that aims to facilitate this process of healing and growth in individuals. It is assuming that every person has an innate tendency towards Self-actualization, which is the fulfilment of one’s unique potentials and capacities. However, this tendency can be hindered by various factors, such as conditional positive regard, incongruent experiences, or social pressures. The person-centred therapist provides a supportive and empathic environment where the individual can explore and express their feelings without judgment or pressure. The therapist also helps the individual to clarify their meanings, to reflect on their feelings, and to highlight their strengths and resources. Through this process, the individual can become more aware of their true selves and their ideal selves, and can work towards bridging the gap between them. They can also become more aware of their self-concepts and their experiences, and can work towards resolving any discrepancies or conflicts between them. In this way, the individual can achieve greater congruence, authenticity, and harmony within themselves and with others.

There is evidence to support the effectiveness of the person-centred approach in promoting psychological wellbeing and positive change in individuals. For example, a meta-analysis by Elliott et al. (2013) found that person-centred therapy was associated with significant improvements in clients’ symptoms, self-concept, quality of life, and interpersonal functioning. Moreover, a qualitative study by McLeod (2011) found that clients who underwent person-centred therapy reported experiencing increased self-awareness, self-acceptance, self-confidence, self-expression, self-direction, and self-care. They also reported experiencing increased empathy, respect, trust, intimacy, and communication with others. These outcomes are consistent with the goals of achieving global peace and individual wellbeing.

Therefore, I argue that the solution to the problem of global peace and individual wellbeing lies with initiatives targeted towards healing the individual from the dissociations that cause them to be agents of societal dysfunction. By healing these dissociations, individuals can achieve greater congruence, authenticity, and harmony within themselves and with others. They can also become more accepting and loving of others, and more resilient to societies negative influences. The person-centred approach is one of the therapeutic modalities that can facilitate this process of healing and growth in individuals.

One of the main principles of the person-centred approach is the idea of fostering empathy and unconditional positive regard for oneself and others. This means accepting and valuing people as they are, without judging or imposing conditions on them. Rogers (1959) argued that this creates a safe and supportive environment where people can explore their feelings and experiences without fear of rejection or criticism. He believed that this would enable people to grow and reach their full potential, or what he called their “actualizing tendency”. He also suggested that this would promote peace and harmony in the world, as people would be more understanding and respectful of each other’s differences. He wrote: “If I can provide a certain type of relationship, the other person will discover within himself the capacity to use that relationship for growth, and change and personal development will occur” (p. 32).

However, while the person-centred approach is very helpful in creating a positive and trusting relationship between the therapist and the client, and the client with themselves, it may not be sufficient to address the more profound issues that people face. Sometimes, people need more guidance and direction on how to deal with their inner conflicts and heal their psychological wounds. That is why I also propose that we teach everyone the concepts and techniques of Internal Family Systems (IFS) therapy.

IFS therapy aims to help clients access their core Self and develop a compassionate and respectful relationship with their parts. By doing so, they can understand the reasons behind their parts’ behaviours, and help them heal and transform. They can also reduce the influence of the self (the part that identifies with one or more of the other parts) and the mask (the part that tries to present a false image to others) and live more authentically and harmoniously with their true Self.

I acknowledge that there are many other therapeutic approaches that could be useful for people’s mental health, and that not everyone may benefit from my suggested ones. However, I believe that these two approaches offer a powerful combination of support, insight and healing that could help people achieve faster and lasting results. Therefore, I recommend that they should be the first option in our “Global mental health strategy”.


To conclude, this paper has explored the ways that a person’s self-concept can be severely distorted and how this can cause psychological distress, both for the person and for the society at large.

The paper has argued that this distortion is a result of a complex process of the person’s interaction with society and lack of self-awareness, which leads to multiple layers of self-denial and false pretences through masking.

The paper has also shown the implications of this distortion, both for the person’s psychological wellbeing and for the social structures that are affected by it. The main implication is that this distortion reflects a society that is largely composed of people who do not understand or love themselves. And that as long as these issues are not addressed at every level, wars, conflict, inequality and so on will continue to be the norm for most of the world’s population and its institutions.

This paper has supported its arguments with quotes and examples from various sources, and has used inline APA citations and formal references to acknowledge them.

I have also proposed a potential model that can be applied to correct this global mental health problem, by applying the principles of person-centred therapy and internal family systems therapy on a global scale.

I have argued that the root cause of many global mental health issues is the lack of self-acceptance and self-compassion among individuals and groups. I have also proposed a potential model that can be applied to correct this global mental health problem, by applying the principles of person-centred therapy and internal family systems therapy on a global scale.

Person-centred therapy, developed by Carl Rogers, assumes that every person has an innate tendency to grow and actualize their potential, if they are provided with a supportive and empathic environment (Rogers, 1951). Internal family systems therapy, developed by Richard Schwartz, assumes that every person has a multiplicity of subpersonalities or parts, each with its own needs, emotions, beliefs and goals, and that healing occurs when these parts are harmonized and integrated by a compassionate and confident self (Schwartz, 1995).

By combining these two approaches, I suggest that we can create a global culture of self-acceptance and self-compassion, where people can recognize and appreciate their own and others’ uniqueness, diversity and complexity, without resorting to judgment, criticism or violence. I suggest that this would lead to a reduction in mental health problems such as depression, anxiety, addiction, eating disorders, personality disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder, as well as a reduction in interpersonal and intergroup conflicts such as racism, sexism, homophobia, xenophobia and war.

Applying this solution on a global scale is clearly not a trivial task. It would require, potentially, hundreds of millions of new counsellors and trainers who are skilled in person-centred and internal family systems therapy. It would also require a radical shift in the values and priorities of our societies, from materialism, consumerism and competition to altruism, cooperation and compassion. However, I suggest that it is actually a simple case of choice. Do we choose to prioritize world peace and understanding, or do we choose to prioritize the profits we make due to all those wars? Do we choose to prioritize our own wellbeing and happiness, or do we choose to prioritize the temporary relief we get from indulging in retail therapy, food neediness and other need-driven addictive tendencies?

I believe that the choice is clear. If we want to create a better world for ourselves and future generations, we need to start with ourselves. We need to cultivate self-acceptance and self-compassion within ourselves, and then extend it to others. We need to seek help when we need it, and offer help when we can. We need to learn from each other’s differences, rather than fear them. We need to work together for the common good, rather than against each other for selfish gains. We need to apply the principles of person-centred and internal family systems therapy on a global scale.


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