Claiming Your Self Esteem. Brilliant!

Claiming Your Self-Esteem  A guide out of co-dependency, addiction, and other useless habits.   by Carolyn. M. Ball, M.A.

This is a brilliant book – and the following is basically a Precise of it – and chunks of information that I think is superb!

From the Preface.

…  Without the knowledge, high regard, and acceptance of ourselves that are the foundation of true self-esteem, we do not know how to care for ourselves properly nor create what we want and need in our lives.  When things are not going the way we want, when we’re on the downward spiral, when we’ve made mistakes, or when we’re criticized or ostracized – do we become our own best friend?  Are we gentle and loving with ourselves?  Not at all.  We add our own insults to the injuries we have already experienced, mercilessly berate ourselves, and in essence, are the first to abandon our own ships.

…  We are not in a culture that teaches us to love ourselves unconditionally.  It teaches us that we are lovable only IF we look good, are wealthy, and produce perfectly a lot of profitable widgets. (Lin: this is one of the reasons – I believe that people have fallen for the lie that they have to look like so, and thus, in order to be taken seriously.  “Lions don’t need to Roar”!  We pick up within 7 seconds of meeting someone who they “really” are).  Thus we learn that love is not only conditional, but it is conditional upon standards to which we can almost never measure up.  Despite our best efforts, we all get old, spend our money, and continue to discover that our perfect widgets, in time, lose their glamour.

…  Sadly, it is often the most painful experiences that awaken us to the changes we need to make in our lives.

…  With all the benefits our society provides, one that has been lost along the way is the inner knowing that each of us has inherent value, apart from what we do, what we have, and what we produce.

…  To have self-esteem is to have respect, admiration and a high value of ourselves; it is unconditional.  When we speak of low self-esteem, we are referring to a low regard or value of ourselves.

…  When our self-esteem is low, we attempt to compensate with certain behaviours that give us artificial self-esteem.  We fill the emptiness created by our lack of self-worth with co-dependent relationships.  A co-dependent relationship is one which is compulsive and mutually dependent in an unhealthy manner.  We feel we NEED it, that we are not okay without it.  …Co-dependency says, in essence,  “Since I don’t have any innate value, I’ll act and look a certain way if you (spouse, career, alcohol) will make me feel good about myself.”  …  I am convinced that low self-esteem lies at the core of most human unhappiness.   (Lin:  look at that statement – Gosh it makes so much sense!)  …  Carolyn feels that co-dependency and addictions do not make issues with self-esteem, but it is completely the reverse.  It is because of low self-esteem that people turn to co-dependent relationships and addictions.

From Chapter 1 – What Self-Esteem is and what it isn’t.

…  She talks about having the job of her dreams, and being fired from it, and she was totally devastated.  …  Although I could not know it at the time, this event was to be a great blessing in disguise – perhaps the greatest of my life.  But at the time I wanted to die.  I was bitter.  I was lost.  I had no idea how to put it all back together.  I blamed myself for not being good enough.  If I was not cut out for the work I loved, what was there to live for?  I told myself that I was useless and that I would never be able to do the kind of work that was meaningful to me, that I was powerless, had no social skills, and I was a waste of space on this planet.  I accused myself of having something basically wrong with me, and for being stupid because I couldn’t figure out what that was.

…  I thought about the things I’d told myself when I lost my job – that “I was useless”, that “I couldn’t do the kind of work I wanted”,  that “I was powerless” and “that there was something basically wrong with me”.    (Two things:-  Liz’s questioning to our stuff – “Is that true?  Is that really, really true?” to every statement we make.  And 2.  Look at that from an esoteric point of view – If I say, “I am powerless” with emotion – what am I creating?  If I say,  “I can’t do the work I want” with emotion – what am I creating?  If I say,  “I am useless” with emotion – what am I creating??????)  …  What soon became evident was that when things didn’t go the way I wanted, I had abandoned myself.  …  I became clear that I needed to shift my focus from my failures to my successes.   (Lin: want to share something right now and on this level.  No-one to help with the pool since November – Alan has been helping with the “waste” but I have been doing the bulk of the cleaning of sponges.  I have found it very tiring, and some times exhausting.  Yesterday when I started the sponges, I was much kinder with myself – and kept telling myself that I was doing a good job; and what I was doing was great.  Today the pond water is clearer than it has been since before Chappies left.  The fish look bright and happy, and I can see every one of them.  I think the fish and the water have responded to my statement to the universe that I was doing a great job.  Furthermore, Al and I went and had a coffee in Cresta very late in the afternoon, when the pool chores were finished.  I had a ball, loved the Late, the muffin and the chat.  Normally, if I had gone, I would have felt so tired or crotchety that I would not have enjoyed it at all!)

…  the basic belief we have about ourselves when we have self-esteem: no matter what happens to me or around me, no matter what others may think of me or what I do, I can always love and value myself.  …  low self-esteem lies at the root of most emotional problems.  …  One of the first things we look at is the TYPE of situations in which we experience the lack of self-esteem.  In other words, when do we start telling ourselves we are not good enough?  …  Usually, low self-esteem is experienced at times when we have not lived up to OUR OWN expectations OR those of the people around us.  …  We often think of ourselves as “less” when we compare ourselves to others and see them as “more” – more intelligent, wealthier, better looking, healthier, happier, or more whatever.  …  No matter how much we do, we tend to judge ourselves as being “insufficient” if we have not been a Mother Theresa to our friends, lovers, or family.  Further, when we do not get what we want, we tell ourselves we are not deserving, that we could have done more, or that we are simply inadequate.

…  What is important to understand here is that self-esteem, or the valuing of oneself, is based on beliefs.  What we think or believe about ourselves is what determines self-esteem.  When there is low self-esteem, there is the belief that “I am not good enough.”  This is usually accompanied by negative feelings, which are the result of the thoughts and beliefs.  Typical feelings associated with thoughts of “not being good enough” are hurt, depression, anxiety, frustration, anger and most often shame.  …  Shame is that painful empty feeling that accompanies low self-esteem.  Sometimes it also has a quality of anger directed toward ourselves.  There is much currently being written about shame, for it is the emotion that many come to feel when growing up in a dysfunctional or alcoholic family where the child can never be enough or do enough to rectify an impossible situation.

…  True self-esteem is not based on situation or performance.  It says, “I am good enough even when I make mistakes and perform poorly; I value myself even when others don’t.”   …  Self-esteem is to unconditionally believe you have high value and unconditionally feel love for yourself.

…  She refers to Co-dependent no More by Melodie Beattie.  Some of the co-dependent characteristics and behaviours listed:-  taking responsibility for others, trying to fix and change people, not taking responsibility for one’s own needs or feelings, depending on other people’s opinions to feel good about oneself, over-committing, being a workaholic, eating compulsively …  What I noticed was that each time I didn’t feel happy, I could track my feelings to something negative that I was telling myself.  …  I would habitually and automatically undertake some compulsive behaviour to “fill the void”, to make me feel better.  …  At the time I was, coincidentally, experimenting with certain dietary changes, and I had eliminated the goods I normally used to cover my feelings – chocolate, cookies, crackers and coffee.  What I observed was that if one compulsive behaviour wasn’t an option, I would easily switch to another – anything to take my mind off the emotional discomfort.  If chocolate was out, keeping busy would help; if sugar was out, sex would serve. …  I noticed it was fairly easy to SUBSTITUTE one for the other, as long as it helped me to AVOID NEGATIVE FEELINGS ABOUT MYSELF.  …  I broadened my view of co-dependency and began to see it as the adaptive behaviour patterns whereby one achieves the ILLUSION of self-esteem by using an EXTERNAL SOURCE to achieve TEMPORARY BELIEFS of self-worth and feelings of happiness.

…  What makes our behaviour CO-dependent is that we, in effect, create a trade agreement with the other person (or habit).  This agreement says, “I will give you power over me if you will make me feel good.”  …  The co-dependent behaviour becomes the clue that low self-esteem is occurring internally.  Co-dependency, in other words, is the symptom.  Its cause is twofold …  The core and primary cause is the lack of self-esteem, the negative beliefs and feelings about not being good enough.  Yet there is a secondary, equally powerful cause of co-dependent behaviour, and that is HABIT.  When we are growing up within a dysfunctional family (and all families have some degree of dysfunction), we adopt certain co-dependent behaviours in order to adapt and survive.  In time these patterns become a regular part of our repertoire, and they stay with us through habit long after they serve a function, unless we consciously undertake to change them.

From Chapter 2 – Thoughts create our Reality.

…  People who are wealthy think it’s all right to have money.  People who are poor think they’ll never be rich.  …  When we believe something, we act as if it is true, whether it is or not.  …  A very dramatic example of the power of thought is in the case of people with multiple personalities.  One personality may require glasses while another doesn’t, one will have abilities another doesn’t have, and one may have an illness which the other personalities in the same body do not have.  (Lin:  Gosh this is amazing – something I have never thought about!)  …  In subtle but powerful ways we communicate our THOUGHTS to others and gather as much evidence as possible from our environment to confirm these THOUGHTS.  …  Mindtalk – when it is habitually negative towards ourselves, becomes the source of low self-esteem.  It is this negative mindtalk toward ourselves that we must examine and change if we are to convert low self-esteem and co-dependent behaviour into high self-esteem.  …  Beliefs are like “resident thoughts;’ we may not consciously think them, but they are part of our mental “computer program”.  …  OUR REALITY IS ABSOLUTELY CREATED BY THE THOUGHTS WE HAVE.  When we believe the mindtalk, our behaviour perpetuates and confirms those thoughts.  …  If we believe that women are always manipulative, or men are always children, that is the only type of person we will ever see.  We will be blind to direct and honest women and to mature and responsible men.  They simply will not exist for us; they will be invisible.  …  to become familiar with our conscious and subconscious thoughts involves allowing ourselves to be in touch with our own feelings.

…  We learned to be who we are when we were very small.  …  By the time we were two we already had very solid beliefs about whether or not the world was a nurturing place, whether or not we were lovable, and what rules we had to follow to get our needs met.  With each event in our lives we responded with thoughts that evaluated that event and taught us how to best respond to the outside world.  …  Yet when parents are stressed, out of balance, and struggling with their own self-esteem issues, it is not unusual for them to vent their frustrations on their children, or at minimum, forget to be psychologically attuned to their kids.  In some families there is not so much the style of venting frustrations but of cool withholding of love or subtle manipulation in order to elicit the preferred behaviour from the children. (Lin:  – I can relate to that so much!)

…  Carolyn talks about an incident when she was very small wanting some cake tins while her mother was busy in the kitchen.  When she did get her mother’s attention, she was already exasperated with being interrupted.  “Want, want, want, you always want,” she yelled, (Lin: look at the NLP anchor!) and I was whisked off my feet and shut in my room.  I cried for what seemed like hours.  Extrapolating from that event, my mindtalk very quietly in the back of my mind said,  “I always want too much; I should never want; I’m a big bother to my mother; I take up too much of her time; I shouldn’t want anything; when I want things it makes people angry; I don’t deserve things I want; I shouldn’t have fun; I shouldn’t want pretty things; I’m a selfish person; I’m no good; and, my parents don’t want me.”  (Lin:  Gosh – this is so close to home – frightening!  {Go and play!  Go outside!  Go to your room!  Why do you want clothes?  Why do you want pocketmoney?})

…  The only thing we can do to change and to heal our self-worth is to change what’s in our minds.  …  we are the only ones who can change them!!  …  Our culture supports the notion that changing what’s outside of us will make us happy; in fact, it is the cornerstone of our economic system.  We are bombarded with messages that say,  “If you feel pain, take a pill.  If you feel ugly, buy something to make you beautiful.  If you are bored, watch TV …”   (Lin:  Is that the reason why people find it difficult or really not interested in changing their cv?  Not interested in taking responsibility to market themselves better?  Someone else will do it????  The Reminder Network??  SMI??  Coaching??  It’s the pain/pleasure thing!)

…  When an event occurs, we generally experience a feeling, an EMOTIONAL REACTION.  …  It is not the event, but our interpretation of the event that creates the pain. …  The event appears to cause the feelings, but in actuality, it is our interpretation of the event that stimulates our feelings. …  we can choose whether we will use the old interpretation or begin living with a new, more supportive and self-loving view of the event. …  our interpretation not only affects how we feel, but it ultimately results in our choice of actions.  And those actions in turn affect how others respond to us.  Ultimately it creates a feedback system in which it sooner or later becomes evident that we create our own reality.

…  Our thoughts create our reality, and it is time to create our lives in a way that makes us feel good about ourselves!


From Chapter 3 – Getting to Know Ourselves.

…  “Beliefs” are thoughts that we have decided are true, whether they are or not!!!

…  An important type of thought which tends to have a negative effect on our self-esteem is our “judgements.”  …  For many of us growing up in a dysfunctional family, we learned that always being happy, trying not to feel anger or hurt, and putting others’ needs before our own was “good.”  Expressing our opinions, attitudes, needs and feelings was “bad.”   …  These “judgements” fall into 2 categories.  1.  the perfectionist demands we place on ourselves to live up to the expectations of others and ourselves in order that we may be accepted.  2.  criticisms we level at ourselves when we do not live up to the unrealistic demands we place on ourselves.

…  Allowing ourselves to experience our feelings is the key to healing ourselves.  …  avoiding our feelings was the “self-control” we were taught as children.  …  others learned to “stuff” or “shut-down” feelings because they were simply too painful.  …  In order to heal ourselves it is necessary that we give honour to and allow expression of our feelings, so that we can look inside our minds and adjust the belief systems that are causing the pain.  …  If we are experiencing unpleasant feelings, it is an indicator that we are thinking something negative and believing it is true.  …  Emotions we typically try to bury are hurt, anger, resentment, pain, jealousy, guilt, shame, depression, anxiety, frustration, loneliness, numbness, shock and embarrassment.

…  Many of us actually live outside of our bodies.  We are like people who never spend time at home!!!!!  …  When we believe our feelings are unacceptable, we often believe we will be rejected if we feel anger or hurt or embarrassment.  …  Yet if we are to claim our self-esteem, we need to validate our feelings, even if other people around us do not

…  Reprogramming Process.  …  we first become aware of the negative mindtalk that has not served us; then we replace it with new thoughts that are based on loving and respecting ourselves.

  1. When an event occurs, fully experience the feelings, both emotionally and physically.
  2. Listen closely to the interpretation of that event, noting specific mindtalk and beliefs.
  3. Reprogram the mind by correcting each statement in the mindtalk to reflect an interpretation based on self-esteem.


…  if we only allow ourselves to experience superficial levels of feelings, our mindtalk will be focused on other people.  However, when we go to the depths of our feelings we will discover those beliefs that keep us from fully valuing ourselves.  …  on the surface there may be statements such as,  “I should be in a permanent relationship with the perfect person right now,”  “nothing ever goes right for me”,  “I never win”, etc.   but at the deeper level we are most likely to uncover things like, “I’m responsible for other people’s reactions”,  I’m inadequate”,  “I’m not lovable”,  “I’ll never get what I want”,  “I don’t deserve to be treated well”,  “I’m not good enough”  and  “I’m not enough”.  (Lin:  this is so interesting!  Remember doing the exercise a short while ago about the birthing trauma, and the anger it brought up, and the inner thing at the very depths of my being that I felt that I was good enough, and I was enough!)

…  At the bottom of those layers there are always the key beliefs that are the basis of our interpretations and the cause of low self-esteem.

…  as we have changed our thoughts, our feelings change as well!

…  our negative mindtalk is usually based on unkind criticism and unrealistic demands we have made of ourselves or others.  …  It is necessary to recognise that thebulk of the negative things we say to ourselves are simply untrue.  (That is why I love Liz’s – “Is this true?  Is this really, really true?”)  …  Each time we use one of these words – should, ought, shouldn’t, ought not, have to, can’t, always, never, we are giving up our choices and our power.

…  signs of resistance (to the work we are doing to lift our self-esteem) are when we suddenly become sleepy, blank out on part of a conversation or a part of our processing, when we need to change the subject or interrupt, or even when we suddenly need to use the bathroom.  …  In completing the Reprogramming Process, it is a good idea to make a powerful statement that summarises the truth of our value in relation to the event which occurred.

…  We reach a point where we say to ourselves,  “Oh, its that old one again.  That’s not true.  I really am lovable.”  It becomes very easy to nip the mindtalk in the bud before it starts a whole line of negative interpretations that interfere with our self-esteem.

From Chapter 4 – Getting Artificial Self-Esteem from Co-dependency.

…  in triangulation, two parents who are emotionally estranged over-involve their children in their own aloneness, setting up patterns that are perpetuated for generations.  …  When parents depend on their children to be the shock absorbers of their own unresolved issues, they teach them co-dependency.  (there are some interesting examples of children picking up co-dependency).   …  in most dysfunctional family situations, children do not learn that they are inherently valuable and worthy.  Instead they learn rules for survivalrules of how to behave to keep things from going awryrules for getting their value by negating their own needs and/or somehow attempting to save their parents.  But because they can neither successfully negate their own needs nor save their parents, they also learn that whatever they do is “insufficient” or “not enough”.  …  In fact, low self-esteem is learnt first.  The co-dependent patterns are the result of adapting to the belief that we are not good enough.

When there is the belief that we are not enough and that we do not have value, then the concept that we can solve our own problems, fulfil our own needs, and make ourselves happy, is simply not in our mental computer.  …  most people going to therapy state that they feel empty and hollow, and that there is a big hole they want to fill.  So we look outside.  We depend on someone or something to fill that aching hole.

…  Co-dependency is a stop-gap measure to create the illusion of self-esteem.  It says I need someone or something else to feel complete, balanced, secure and whole.  It says,  “I don’t have value unless someone or something else confirms that value.”  It looks outside for solutions to problems because it says,  “There is nothing here inside.”

…  It takes an act of WILL to start changing co-dependency into self-esteem.  And, the decision to do that is the first and greatest act of self-esteem, for it says,  “I AM worth-while, and I AM going to start learning how to treat myself accordingly.”


1.         Believing we are not enough.

2.         Fear of abandonment and fear of being alone.  …  we believe that any love we receive is conditional upon what we can do to keep another person happy.  …  since we do not see ourselves as essentially lovable, we experience being at constant risk of abandonment.  …  Often, however, we were emotionally abandoned.  If parents are preoccupied with their own problems, the children’s need for love and support may not be met.  Whether children are criticised or abused, or whether they are given to believe that their feelings don’t count, the net effect can be that they face many of the major crises of childhood ALONE.  …  Being alone is often very frightening when we are co-dependent.  …  Since we do not believe we are lovable or worthy of respect, we do not love or respect ourselves.

3.         Choosing a partner, substance, or behaviour based on filling the emptiness.  …  As co-dependents, we choose partners based on our deficits and our unmet needs.  A man who is afraid of being powerless may marry a woman who is afraid of making decisions.  He trades taking care of her for being able to have the power.  …  We all tend to repeat what we learned in childhood.  Whatever patterns are familiar, they are almost universally repeated in adulthood.

4.         Giving in order to get.

5.         Giving our own power to others.  …  When we choose partners based on filling that empty feeling inside instead of mutual sharing, WE GIVE OUR POWER AWAY.  We give away the control over our lives to someone or something else.  We do this because there is a deep desire that the other person take responsibility for us.  We want the “other” to be the loving parent we always wished we had.

6.         Attempting to regain power by caretaking, dominating, manipulating, or avoiding: taking control in disguise.  …  Each one of the above is an indirect way of controlling the other person.  …  Perhaps the most clever way of controlling is CARETAKING. …  It offers the caretaker with “secondary gains” in the illusion of self-esteem, for it fosters the belief that “If I help people, then I’m good.” …  A more obvious control device, but one which is less obviously co-dependent, is DOMINATING.  If we use dominating to control, we are blustery and demanding, make decisions for others, may be a “rage-aholic,” and insist on getting our way.  We keep others dancing in order to avoid our outbursts.  We are likely to pair up with caretakers, it makes a good trade.  It looks as if we are in charge, and quite often demonstrates that we can handle a great deal of responsibility, for it reinforces the belief that “I am powerful.”  …  perpetuates others “putting up with me”, which fosters the continuation of my low self-esteem; and the message to others is they aren’t important, and that is why I have to take charge.  …  MANIPULATING we analyse and discover what makes others tick, and then capitalise on our knowledge of their strengths and weaknesses to get what we want.  …  When we practice AVOIDING – we simply do not engage with others.  We control them, by not dealing with their concerns. …  Both Manipulating and Avoiding create the illusion of self-esteem because we can tell ourselves  “I’m a good person because I’m calm and controlled.”

7.         Feeling consumed and losing a sense of one’s self.  …  we begin with the premise that we are not acceptable the way we are, much of our energy is focused around being something else.  …  We reject what is really going on with us and attempt to live a life based on how we “should” be. …  tight lid on feelings  …  act in ways that are not in alignment with our feelings, values, needs or preferences.  …  In losing touch with what is going on within us, we lose touch with our source, our means to healing.

8.         Lack of ego boundaries.  …  Co-dependents regularly take inappropriate responsibility for each other.

9.         Wanting unconditional love but not giving it.  …  When we believe ourselves to be worthless and unlovable, our only hope to be loved is by the prince charming or fairy princess of our dreams.  …  We want our partner to take up the slack, to save us, as it were, from our own negative beliefs about ourselves.  In essence, this means we require unconditional love from our partner, and we are indignant, hurt, and/or angry when we do not receive it.  This, of course, adds to our already massive belief that we are not good enough.  …  WE CANNOT GIVE WHAT WE DO NOT HAVE.

10.        Fear of risk, change, and letting go.  …  in essence, if one partner wants to step out of the co-dependency state, there’s quite likely to be hell to pay from the other partner.

11.        No true intimacy; refusal to commit to another and perpetuation of the pattern.  …  When we are not acceptable to ourselves, we certainly cannot imagine we will be acceptable to another.



From Chapter 5 – Getting off the Treadmill of Low Self-Esteem.

…  Low self-esteem is the cage we put ourselves in when we believe we are not good enough.  …  criticism, demand, criticism, demand, criticism – we keep racing around the wheel of low self-esteem.  With our criticism we brand ourselves as unworthy; with our demands we desperately race toward an unattainable goal in an attempt to avoid the criticisms pointed and to return again to yet another criticism.  Around and around the cage we race, unfulfilled and exhausted by the effort.  …  If we can just work hard enough, etc., etc.,  be rich enough, look unthreatening enough – then we can respect ourselves sufficiently so as to not judge ourselves ever again.

…  Growing up in a dysfunctional family we learned very early that we were not inherently valuable, that we did not inherently deserve to be treated well.  We learned that there were RULES and CONDITIONS for being loved or accepted.  If we fulfilled those conditions, we were good enough.  That is, we received CONDITIONAL love.  If we did not follow the rules, we seemed to invoke anger, coldness, or some other form of punishment or abuse.

…  the more needful we were of love, the greater our willingness to compromise our sense of self.  …  It simply means we must take responsibility to honour ourselves – unconditionally.

…  Start at the beginning instead of the middle.  The first step in creating self-esteem in our lives is to start where we are.  …  How often do we find ourselves saying,  “If only I had more money, then I could afford to relax more,”  OR  “If only people weren’t so power-hungry, then I could do what I want,”  OR  “If only my spouse would take more responsibility then I could stop having to work two jobs,”  OR  “If only I were more attractive, then I would have more friends.”

…  The premise here is that if we, or others, or circumstances were different, we could be happier.  It is based on the low self-esteem BELIEF that “I am not adequate enough to provide my own solutions,” and it operates out of the co-dependent HABIT of making someone else responsible for our actions and choices.  When we base our happiness on things being different from the way they actually are, we are giving away our power.  We are reinforcing the belief that “I am not enough; I do not have the resources within me to live my life the way I want”.

…         THINGS ARE THE WAY THEY ARE.  …  Things are the way they are.  We can caretake, dominate, manipulate, and avoid, we can stomp and cry, plead and pray, visualise and affirm ALL WE WANT – it won’t force things that are not under our control to be different.  …  How long have we each been working on some form of psychological and spiritual growth?  It’s a stubbornly slow process.  And yet we want it different and we want it NOW.  …  when we have an inner demand that circumstances be the way we want them to be instead of the way they are, we actually increase our pain.  …  When we embrace “how it is” and whatever unpleasant circumstances and emotions that are involved, we thus honour ourselves and our reactions.  In doing so we move through “how it is” with much greater ease, which actually has the net effect of improving our situation.   …  The pain in our lives brings us messages about the things we are doing that don’t work.  …  Let us say, for example, we have a headache.  If we allow ourselves to FEEL it fully, giving it all our attention, we can actually listen to what it is saying to us.  …  If we focus on it for a few minutes, we might even notice if there is a sentence it wants to say to us.  …  Pretending things are different keeps them the way they are, for we make our choices based on how we wish it were instead of how it is.

From Chapter 6 – The Dynamics of Choosing to Change.

…  We must first make the decision to change the habit, then we must do what it takes to change.  …  If we do not learn to create GOOD FEELINGS about ourselves through our own self-esteem, the desire to feel better can lead us right back into our old habits in a moment of weakness.  Since all ACTION ORIGINATES IN THOUGHT, the real habit to break is the HABIT of low self-esteem, that is perceiving ourselves as lacking inherent value.

…  The pain forces us out of our comfort zones and we start looking for new ways to live that will not create so much havoc.

…  I occasionally see people who appear to clear up the same issue over and over again, but never seem to apply it to their lives.  There is a sense of being stuck, of almost not wanting to change.  In situations like this, there is usually some kind of benefit or payoff – sometimes called secondary gains.

…  I discovered that my resentments gave me permission to see myself as a victim of these two women.  I got to see myself as well-intentioned and long-suffering, and I blamed them for keeping me from doing the work of which I’d always dreamed.  My mindtalk permitted me to use that resentment to stay safely in the victim role and thus avoid risking and stepping out to fulfil my dreams.  I was making them responsible for me.  In continuing to work under them and in their systems, I was avoiding stepping into my own power and creating my own system.

…  When we are faced with two conflicting things that we want, we choose the one we want the most.

…  If I am a CARETAKER – hidden benefits to staying in the old habits:-  See myself as a good person, holy, virtuous, cheerful and nice.  See myself as the responsible one.  See myself as a victim and martyr.  See myself as long-suffering, hard working, sacrificing, and helpful.  Have permission to be involved in others’ affairs.  Have permission to show anger and insults disguised with a smile.  Have permission to indulge in food, shopping, resting, and other things to make up for all I have done for others.  Have permission to let others take responsibility for me.  Have permission to control others.  Have permission to avoid looking at my own issues and behaviour.

…  If I am a DOMINATOR – hidden benefits to staying in the old habits:-  See myself as powerful, in charge, strong and effective.  See myself as the responsible one.  See myself as right.  Have permission to make sure I get my way.  Have permission to avoid vulnerability.  Have permission to rage or ignore others’ feelings.  Have permission to hide in work, alcohol, sexual encounters, etc.  Have permission to control others.  Have permission to avoid looking at my own issues and behaviour.

…  If I am a MANIPULATOR – hidden benefits to staying in the old habits:-  See myself as the one who can keep things organised.  See myself as having the correct view and the right answers to problems.  See myself as the responsible one.  Have permission to see others’ perspective and feelings as invalid and thus ignore them.  Have permission to get what I want no matter what.  Have permission to withhold love and affection.  Have permission to avoid intimacy.  Have permission to control others.  Have permission to avoid looking at my own issues and behaviour.

…  If I am an AVOIDER – hidden benefits to staying in the old habits:-    See myself as controlled, calm and unemotional.  See myself as independent, self-sufficient.  See myself as being above conflict.  See myself as victim.  Have permission to avoid facing problems.  Have permission to be passive-aggressive (ie withhold what another wants, or give them what they don’t want).  Have permission to make others responsible for me.  Have permission to withhold love and avoid intimacy.  Have permission to control others.  Have permission to avoid looking at my own issues and behaviour.

…  Being imperfect IS acceptable.  Even though we got the “benefit” of the illusion of worth from the lies our minds told us, we also paid an enormous price for maintaining those illusions.  We made compromises in every area of our lives in order to keep the drama going, but above all, we gave up the most important things we have.  We paid the price of our integrity, our feelings, our freedom.  We sold out the most important person in our lives :  our self.

From Chapter 7 – The Higher Self: Being all that we can be.


…  the following is an excerpt taken from Advice from a Failure  by Jo Coudert (1965)

“You do not need to be loved, not at the cost of yourself!  The single relationship that is truly central and crucial in a life is the relationship to the self.  It is rewarding to find someone you like, but it is essential to like yourself.  It is quickening to recognise that someone is a good and decent human being, but it is indispensable to view yourself as acceptable.  It is a delight to discover people who are worthy of respect, admiration and love, but it is vital to believe yourself deserving of these things.

For you cannot live in someone else.  You cannot find yourself in someone else.  Of all the people you will know in a lifetime, you are the only one you will never leave nor lose.  To the question of your life, you are the only answer.  To the problems of your life, you are the only solutions.”

…  I am the answer and solution to every one of my issues/problems.     She talks about going out with a guy who was sometimes abusive …  She looked at me and shrugged,  “I don’t know why you think you need to do something about him; it’s YOUR issue.”  “My issue?”  I was shocked.  “How can it be my issue; he’s the one being obnoxious.”  “Yes,” she answered, “and you’re the one choosing to hang out with someone who does not treat you well.”

…  She talks about being with a therapist for a year, then comes to the conclusion:  If I didn’t like her, she wasn’t the right therapist for me.

…  When we have self-esteem, we recognise that making mistakes is perhaps our greatest resource for progress and growth, for it shows us what doesn’t work.  …  She talks about a book called 2150 by Thea Alexander (1971)  …  This society does not believe in failure, per se.  Instead, they believe that it takes a certain number of failures to reach any given success.  Each error is a part of the process of becoming successful.  Therefore, every mistake is applauded, for it is considered a “SUCCESS-FAILURE”.

…  We are all powerfully creative beings.  We can all be much, much more if we choose to be.  All it takes is a shift in our thoughts.  Remember, our thoughts are the creative force of our lives.  If our thoughts are centered around self-criticism and seeing what we are not, we create our lives in alignment with those thoughts.  If we see ourselves as magnificent, delightful, loving, kind, and worthy of many good things, that is what we create.  As we start to understand the magnitude of the power of our thoughts, we then recognise that our only option is to take responsibility for what goes on in our minds each and every moment, no matter how abusive or sad our lives may have been before.  It is up to each of us to LEAP out of our own darkness and step into the light.

From Chapter 8 – New Program for the Mind:  The Truth.

…  Sooner or later we finally have to face the fact that all the external manipulations have not accomplished that which can only be changed from within.  This is the magical point where we step out into the always exciting and ever challenging path of personal growth.

…  Gentleness is also an aspect of genuine self-esteem.  When we are unconditionally loving to ourselves, we recognise when we are doing our best.  We do not make ourselves wrong for our mistakes, but instead become our own cheering section.  (Lin:  doing the fish sponges, always got extremely tired and very irritable by the end of the process.  Then I started telling myself what I wonderful job I was doing.  It was a miracle, the following day the water was the clearest it had ever been since Chappies left, the fish were the happiest I had seen them in months, and I had a wonderful coffee and muffin, feeling invigorated instead of dead tired and grumpy).

…  Perhaps the most important time to make use of an affirmation is the moment we notice our negative mindtalk.  “I can’t kick this habit,”  can be replaced with,  “I CAN kick this habit.  I know I can.  I’m a powerful person and I know I can do it.”  …  “I’ll never be able to make decisions by myself,”  can be replaced with, “I CAN make my own decisions,”  OR  “Sometimes it is scary and lonely but my decisions are just as valid as anyone else’s; I choose to honour my choices.”  …  “I can’t handle this pain,”  can be replaced with, “I don’t like this pain, but I am able and willing to experience it, for I know it has important information for me.”

…  Keep in mind that it is of no benefit to use false affirmations.  …  Virginia Satir (1988) refers to self-esteem as the ability to treat oneself with love, dignity AND reality.  …  The OK Process.  …  I can’t do it by myself — It’s OK that I think I can’t do it alone.   I’ll fall apart — It’s OK if I fall apart.    I won’t be a good mother — It’s OK if I’m not the perfect mother.  …  She does an interesting Forgiveness Process.  …  The Mirror Process.  (Lin: interesting that it comes up again!)  …  Louise Hay (1984) healed herself of cancer, and has taught thousands of others the techniques by which she achieved that healing.  To her, mirror work is one of the most important methods to learn about loving and healing ourselves.  …  Now, speak aloud to that person in the mirror, saying,  “I love you.  I respect you.  You are wonderful and worthwhile.  You are lovable.  You deserve good things.  I love you exactly the way you are.”

…  We think life will be a certain way, we act accordingly, and naturally, others treat us as if what WE believe were true.  Our body language, our tone of voice, our choice of words, and even the subtle psychic projections of our thoughts let everyone know how we see the world.  People who think the world is a miserable place draw everyone into their “dark cloud.”   People who know the world is full of love are surrounded by loving people.  …  The more we identify what we want and visualise it coming about, the more we are actively participating in creating our reality instead of experiencing life as a victim.  Either way, WE ARE THE CREATORS; WE EITHER CREATE LIFE UNCONSCIOUSLY OUT OF THE MORASS OF UNEXAMINED MENTAL HABITS, OR, WE CREATE IT CONSCIOUSLY BY THE APPLICATION OF OUR WILL AND CHOICE.

…  In order to consciously create, we must first be clear on what we WANT to create.  …  When we are confused about what we want, we create confusion.

…  She talks about Treasure Mapping. …  The year that I attended graduate school full time, I did not know how I would possibly get by financially.  But I created a treasure map for unexpected income and, while I was at it, a vacation in a beautiful place.  I received a very generous scholarship, and was also asked to accompany a friend, all expenses paid, on a tour of the Ozark Mountains.  It was wonderful.  …  She also talks about wanting a Honda Accord, cutting a picture out of a Mazda 626 and putting it on her dash board, which she figured would be close enough!  After a month it fell off, and got lost under the seat.  She purchased a new car, and when she was cleaning out the old one, she suddenly realised that she had bought the … Mazda 626!!!

From Chapter 9 – Self-Esteem and Healthy Relationships.

…  The only person we are responsible for changing or even can change, is ourselves.  …  If I am uncomfortable, then I’m the one who needs to change.  …  It takes a constant turning within to remind ourselves that we are the creators of our reality, and to ask ourselves by what habit and belief did we draw this experience to us.

…  The people around us are mirrors of our internal experience.  If we believe we are ugly and unattractive, we will choose lovers who are constantly looking at other, more attractive bodies, or spouses who complain about our appearance.  If we think we are inept, we will find jobs where our boss gets impatient with our every move.  If we think we are responsible for other people’s feelings, we will find ourselves being blamed at every turn.  Thus, if we don’t like what is coming to us externally, it is time to check and see if we are not feeding ourselves with the same thing internally.

…  The people in our lives reflect who and what we are.  We have drawn them to us to help us see and hear better what we think.  When we experience ourselves to be in love, we are actually loving ourselves unconditionally.  …  We all had to laugh, for what we had discovered was that what bothered us most about other people was what bothered us most about ourselves.  If we notice our irritations and hurts about others’ behaviours, our greatest path to clarity is to ask ourselves how we do that very same thing.

…  We must look to our thoughts, keeping in mind that thoughts are the primary creative force.  We may not DO hate, but if we THINK hate, we will reap the same results.

…  I once knew a very wise old Indian swami who had two important mottos which he abbreviated KIV and DIN – “Keep (the goal) in view.”  and “Do it now.”

…  In Why am I Afraid to Tell you Who I am?  John Powell (1969), suggests that it is common for us to believe that others cannot tolerate emotional honesty in our communications.  We thus give ourselves permission not to be clear or honest about our real feelings and thoughts, defending this behaviour with the rationalisation that we are avoiding hurting others or that we are being noble, when in fact we are merely settling for superficial relationships.

…  So often when we are in a disagreement with another person – we may be complaining about the dishes not being done, or defending ourselves against accusations of unequal treatment – but underneath there are usually deeper issues where our mind is saying “That person doesn’t love or respect me; I’m not lovable; I don’t deserve good treatment; I’m not good enough.”  If we stay focused on what we don’t like about the other person, we ignore what are important and very real issues for ourselves.  By being honest with ourselves about what is going on inside of us, we not only can heal our own lives, but we can allow genuine communication to occur with another person.


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