A Way of Being by Carl Rogers Summary

You cannot let your parents or society choose what you want to do. If you allow others to make your life decisions for you, you will lose self-esteem.

A Way of Being by Carl Rogers Summary

There are as many credentialed charlatans as un-credentialed ones.

The principles from Rogers' previous book, On Becoming a Person, apply to all relationships, not just clinical psychology.

Rogers became a therapist because it allowed him to have deep connections. In therapy, he could skip the small talk and get tight into deep topics.

Accept everything about yourself. It's human nature to be:

  • Insane
  • Ambitious/arrogant
  • Overly sexual
  • Murderous

Rogers was influenced by Kierkegaard, Martin Buber, and Michael Polanyi.

When you’re older, young people can give you more insights than elders or peers.

There are as many realities as there are people. We must be open-minded and willing to understand someone else’s viewpoint.

Rogers tells the story of a woman who wanted to marry a student but her parents did not approve. This made her question her ability to gauge reality. She also wanted to be plumper but society wanted her to be thin, so she developed an eating disorder. She dreaded getting fat and had repressed feelings. She is a great student and has hopes of doing something great. She had poor mental health at age 24. She married her cousin and at 32. She became even more obsessed with being thin. She took 60 laxative pills a day. She did psychoanalysis but it didn’t work. She killed herself with poison at age 33.

  • Takeaways from the story: You cannot let your parents or society or anybody else choose what you want to do. If you allow others to make your life decisions for you, you will lose self-esteem. This also means that you cannot give guidance or tell people what life decisions to make.

One of the biggest reasons that people feel lonely is the belief that their real self (the self that they hide, the unconscious self) is unlovable. This happens because the spontaneous feelings of a child have so often been disapproved of by their parents and others that they come to develop the same belief themself. They believe that who they truly are is not lovable. Even outwardly attractive people or charming people can have this problem — they think that there is something wrong with them on the inside.

Psychology should not try to be rigid like physics.

Rogers says that the school system seems like something you have to do until you get home to do what you want to do.

School does not allow kids to make their own decisions. This stops them from developing self-confidence in their decision-making.

The students should learn from each other as much as from reading.

Lectures are not as efficient as books.

Students should be evaluated on how well they have learned how to learn. Not by how accurately they can restate the views of the professor.