I get sent a "Thought for the Day" by an on-line support group for addicts which sometimes makes me think. This recent offering certainly did:
"Getting to know myself is my most rewarding and powerful adventure, my God story. It is a day-to-day task, it does not happen once and for all because the self evolves. Today I will try to get out of my own way and allow the deeper pulse of life and love and spiritual energy to flow through me. I often attempt to rid my personality of what I perceive to be undesirable aspects, to get them out of me once and for all. But today I wonder if rather than get rid of parts of myself, perhaps I need to learn to work with these troublesome areas and reintegrate them in a new way. It need not be my goal today to get rid of pieces of myself I dislike, but instead to work with them and transform them into something better through attention, care, self-honesty and self-forgiveness. I get more done with a loving and caring attitude toward others - why not try to be loving and caring with myself?"
There is a strong purgative tradition in some Christian spirituality's - spiritual growth comes through rooting out the dark spots in the soul. But that can sometimes be either self-destructive or deeply traumatising. Especially if you have deep within yourself elements which clash with the common vision of what it is to be "a Christian".Flogging things into submission or cutting out the canker both involve a level of spiritual violence that can leave scars. This more developmental approach strikes me as being potentially more fruitful. of course it will never be pain free - self-knowledge and self-love come at a cost and with tears. But they might be tears of joy and relief, rather than pain and lament.