“We cannot change anyone else; we can change only ourselves, and then usually only when the elements that are in need of reform have become conscious through their reflection in someone else.”.

M. Esther Harding,  The “I” and the “Not-I”, A Study in the Development of Consciousness

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Esther Harding was a British American Jungian analyst who is considered to be the first significant Jungian Analyst in this country. Her 1975 first book, The Way of All Women, was one of the first books I read as I first tried to connect to a feminine spirituality. President Jimmy Carter writes about getting to the place where we can give thanks for our difficulties. That is almost impossible, but I can see his reasoning a little more clearly in Esther Harding’s writings. We can see it in 12-step programs where it is so difficult to see our character defects which keep us from a connection to God. We wear them like an old bathrobe that is ugly and tattered but comfortable and a known entity. We can only see these defects so glaringly in someone else as we are repulsed by the defects in others, and finally may realize they are also in us. They are what is keeping us from our connection to God. I continually am amazed how God uses everything, everything to bring us back to God’s love. At some point, when it is right, I can share this with spiritual friends who also are suffering.