Valuing Yourself Highly

Here’s an excerpt of chapter 16:   Even when we have done the work of facing painful feelings and restructuring self-defeating beliefs, many of us continue the habit of questioning ourselves unnecessarily or turning against ourselves when something goes wrong. Self-doubt is a habit that no longer serves a protective purpose. It only undermines our efforts to build self-assurance and a new outlook by uncentering us and thus disorganizing our sense of ourselves. We must see that self-criticism and shame are not based on the reality of who we are but rather are attempts to control our pain without dealing with it directly.

If our old sense of self is based on self-criticism and self-hatred, we must be emphatic in treating ourselves positively in order to build a stance based on self-love and a realistic appreciation of our worth. It isn’t overcompensation. It simply feels that way if we’ve had a taboo against being on our own side.

Three things turn the tide

Here’s what turns you from a life based on self-criticism, hurt, or disappointment to one of joy and fulfillment:

  1. Giving feelings the time they need to be acknowledged and to flow through, and not despairing that they will never end, simply because they are not going fast enough to suit our impatience. When they have subsided enough (not disappeared for good – that’s an unrealistic goal) we will not be swept away by them, and we’ll be able to tolerate their resurgence if they’re triggered, because they are no longer overpowering and we know how to handle them. They won’t run us. We’ll be in the power seat of our lives, and then we can turn our attention elsewhere freely and grow new habits. (This we talked about in the BWITSY chapter.)
  2. Turning our attention toward a palpable experience of self, with a rich sense of being firmly in our core and valuing what we find there. (We started building this in the Centering chapter.)
  3. Building a new internal structure based on a strong belief, staunchly practiced, in our own value. And this is what we are learning in this chapter.

To be life-affirming and experience-altering, centering needs to be based on a belief that we are wonderful!

One of the first things people notice when they center is that they feel grateful for what they have and who they are. As we continue to practice, this sense of fullness in ourselves builds a solid core. We then can experiment with a different response pattern, taking the stance that we are fine, good, and wonderful, and then behaving in line with that conviction. This is a crucial step in uncovering joy and really changing how we feel in our lives. Developing the habit of feeling ourselves, at our core, to be valuable and good is the key to building a new personal reality.

Our center continues to strengthen over time as we stop ourselves from going down old, worn paths of self-blame, excessive apology, or excuse- making, (or whatever our automatic artillery is). Then we must insist on taking the stance that we are fine. We can then see what life is like when standing in our ‘worthy’ position, noticing new options that appear – not our old usuals…

…Valuing ourselves is not just a nice idea. It is crucial in order to turn away from those deeply grooved pathways of self-doubt, second-guessing, anticipating disaster, and despair. We cannot wait for circumstances to pop self-confidence over our heads like a new sweater. We must train our minds to see ourselves as valuable and precious. Joy is not an externally induced event, which actually is a great relief.  Our joy is not dependent on events or other people. Even if it feels as though we’re breaking taboos, and the wrath of all the gods will pour down on our heads for doing so, we can choose to invest in a true, positive sense of ourselves.

Turning your focus toward your good qualities connects you with your true self. Really. When you do so, you can see that self-negation is not accurate at all. It’s been loaded heavily with the weight given to negative thoughts. When you see that those self-doubting voices are merely an attempt to keep you out of trouble by keeping you from taking risks, you can calm them down and begin to let your old self-image slip off your shoulders.

Getting our nervous systems to help build a new sense of self

How our neurology can help our efforts is clearer if we understand the physiology of adaptation. For example, the reason that you get out of shape if you lie around on the couch is that human bodies readily adapt to changes in circumstance in order to survive. If you had to wait out the winter in a cave or a yurt, your body would reduce all internal activity to a much slower state, closer to hibernating. It accomplishes this by dismantling or reallocating quite a few synapses from action-oriented to being-on-hold and transforming your muscles into fat as fuel storage.

This same physiological mechanism can be used to help you build your new self-definition. Your internal structure – either based on self-criticism or on self-support – builds or atrophies based on usage, just as your muscles do.  It’s a miracle of being human that the more conscious awareness you bring to any system or function, the more development occurs in that area, because awareness sparks energy, and more energy can build more structure.

To help that old-view-of-you to atrophy, we need to champion our healthy view of ourselves staunchly, even fiercely. Especially when you’re in the middle of some stressful event, it takes committed effort to combat old fault-finding thoughts. Insist on seeing yourself as good and valuable by rehearsing affirming messages, even if they seem artificial at first. After a while, your self-perception will start to shift.

Own your own power

To staunchly support ourselves we must own our own power. To do so, we must first identify when and how we have given it away to others. Sometimes we don’t even know what power is rightfully ours, thinking that we have to please too many people or be too good in too many situations. We don’t realize that it is our job to stick up for ourselves. When we don’t know what power is rightfully ours, we drain and belittle ourselves by avoiding responsibility and giving the decision-making or action-taking to others, or when we trance out, taking refuge in a numb internal place.

We must activate our energy, come back to the present, and insist on seeing ourselves in a positive light, refuse again and again to go down those old paths that say that we can’t do it, or don’t deserve to get it, or might as well give up, or can’t count on anyone, or (what’s yours say?).

When we build a habit of being our own champion (and who better to do it, I ask you?) we can let our gifts blossom. The more we support ourselves, the more they grow. As we remove the constriction of negative thought patterns, more energy is freed up to apply to our talents, and they develop even more. We deserve to treat our gifts as precious and sacred and to do whatever is needed in order to protect and nurture them.

Being centered with a positive self-awareness allows us to relax into ourselves, giving birth to a profound peace which in turn uncovers the joy waiting for us in our core. Returning to it, or staying with it, demands that we continue to support ourselves insistently and repeatedly. The earlier and more chronically that trauma happened in our lives, the fiercer we have to be in supporting our sense of ourselves as worthy.

As we claim our right to determine our own opinion of ourselves, the past can slip into less importance. Abuse, as well as other people’s criticisms, can become more peripheral to our self-concept. Freedom does not, ultimately, have to do with our circumstances. It is in our power to keep from continuing to imbue events with the urgency or horror that has thrown us off in the past. True freedom lies in seeing that we are in charge of how we interpret events, of our attitude, and in how we choose to be within ourselves. Freedom and peace come when we do not let events, either internal or external, knock us off our center for too long. Then joy is uncovered, at first for a minute, then, with practice, for longer stretches of time.

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How do we process the shooting in CT elementary school?

Several people have asked, “I feel my heart is broken. Maybe I’m supposed to be heart-broken for a while. But what do you tell yourself when you hear the news like this, so that you can go on?”
Besides working out their own issues and growth, people remain stuck in the cycle of death & rebirth – samsara – cycling back into physical lives, by being caught by certain emotional experiences, especially sex, greed, horror, disgust, and fear. To evolve personally, and to dedicate energy to the Light, and to free ourselves from old pain, it is important not to get caught in these feeling states.

When you feel horrified or lost in your reaction to an event like this shooting, you become ungrounded. You are spinning in an acceleration of thoughts-and-feelings, caught by them, unable to be anywhere else. When you get ungrounded, you lose perspective, so the feelings become extreme. You aren’t any help to yourself or others when you are lost in the horror. When you are ungrounded, your breathing is constricted and all in your chest.

It is possible to process the feelings and help the world heal. To do so:

  • First you must free your breathing. Take deep breaths and expel forcefully if your chest feels really tight. then, breathe into your belly, freeing your diaphragm.
  • Then, come back to your own reality by grounding yourself. Breathe into your hips, legs, feet. Breathe down into your feet until they start to tingle, and you can feel the floor, and the earth. Feel your awareness, and your energy mingle with the energy of the earth.
  • Then, keeping your feet and legs, become aware of the rest of your body – your lower back, spine, rib cage area, shoulders, arms, hands, upper chest, upper back, neck, and head. Occupy all of your body, so that you are fully present in yourself, as much as possible at this moment.
  • Next, center. Become aware of the place in which you feel yourself BEING. Ask yourself to settle into that place. Watch what happens as you settle into the still point in which you are one with You, and Spirit, with. Rest here.
  • Then, to keep from being trapped in (the totally normal reactions of) helplessness, depression, and rage, be proactive – use energy to make something positive happen. So, when you feel filled with your present reality within your own body, and in the present moment with Spirit, while staying grounded, send White Light to all the people affected by the shooting.
  • Do not deplete yourself. Stay in the place of channeling Spirit’s energy for healing, staying grounded in yourself. Don’t give energy to dark side by getting lost in images, or news casts, or fear thoughts. Keep breathing, grounding, centering, and radiating White Light to those affected. And there are lots.

Keep on your task. The more you ground and center, and then radiate White Light, the more you’ll feed the side of good. You’ll be helping the world. Blessings to you, and to us all.

For more information and exercises on breathing, grounding, centering, and protecting yourself around toxic people, buy From Hurt to Joy: how to transform self-defeating patterns with Energy Dynamics. Click here: fromhurttojoy.com

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Inherent Worthiness

(a Meditation on Happiness by Tal Ben-Shahar, PhD, in his book, Happier)
“To lead a happy life, we must experience a sense of inherent worthiness. As Nathaniel Branden writes, ‘In order to seek values, man (sic) must consider himself worthy of enjoying them. In order to fight for his happiness, he must consider himself worthy of happiness.’ We must appreciate our core self, who we really are, independent of our tangible accomplishments; we must believe that we deserve to be happy; we must feel that we are worthy by virtue of our existence…
If we do not accept our inherent worth, we ignore or actively undermine our talents, our potential, our joy, our accomplishments…Inherent worthiness is a state of openness–of being open to happiness.”

This seems like a great thing for me to keep in mind always. As a survivor of early trauma, this has been something I’ve worked hard to instill in myself. A great message to put out there as my book is at the printer finally! I feel a mixture of relief, excitement, nervousness – OMG! what is going to happen when it’s in my hands and in other people’s hands??? And then there’s marketing to get it out there….

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The Journey ~~~~~by Mary Oliver

One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice–
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
“Mend my life!”
each voice cried.
But you didn’t stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with its stiff fingers
at the very foundations–
thought their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice,
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do–
determined to save
the only life you could save.

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How the Book is Coming

I’m going over last corrections and illustrations now, and it’s time to start moving on the marketing plan. Even with big houses, you have to have your own plan, and most importantly, your own following.

Any plan these days involves getting as many people as possible interested in the book before it comes out, as well as once it’s available. So there will be special offerings, audios, and videos on YouTube.

It’s vital to get as many people to buy on the launch date as possible, to be noticed by best-seller lists, which is what gets the book out to a wider audience. Here’s how you can help:

  • LIKE the book page, and talking about it on Facebook
  • Follow the blog fromhurttojoy.com
  • Mention book/blog/Fb page to your followers
  •  Follow on Twitter:  twitter.com/ fromhurttojoy
  • Share it with your email list or anyone you think could benefit from the book.

I want From Hurt to Joy to help as many people as possible! Thanks so much for helping me with this dream! Look for specials coming shortly!

How have you gotten the word out about a big project?

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Why to go with a small publisher

Of course I wanted a well-known publisher to grab my book and offer me a huge advance. I sent proposals and samples to agents and many houses. This is a terrible time to break into the publishing biz. Over the past 10 years, they have let go of up to 70% of their staffs. They aren’t picking up unknown authors.
They also aren’t offering editing or marketing. First question they ask: “What’s your marketing plan?”

I didn’t want to self-publish. After all the years I’ve put into From Hurt to Joy: how to transform self-defeating patterns with Energy Dynamics, I didn’t want it to look half-baked or not be properly put out there. I arranged for several rounds of editing.

The reasons I went with a small publisher are these:

  • I retain much more control over content, design, cover, and future use. Since I plan to make CDs of the exercises in the book, so people can listen to the instructions while practicing, this was important.
  • They do all the same things big houses do: arrange for printing, get the ISBN#, set it up with Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.
  • They design both the inside and outside much better than you can do yourself, or than the vanity presses, such as xlibris, do.
  • You can have a real relationship with them.
  • They give some ideas and have connections to help start the marketing process.
  • They can arrange for editing, illustrations, etc.
  • Large firms look for books from small publishers with an following, i.e. have sold well. THEN they offer a deal and pick them up. That’s the main way to get in with a major house these days. It means you have to make your own reputation by doing all the work, and then maybe hit the big-time.

My publisher is awesome: Distinction Press, in Vermont. Ask for Kitty Werner.

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It’s so important to relax

It’s getting to the latter part of summer. Some people are clinging to every last sunshine moment, and some here in the USA are already buckling down to work. Americans take very little vacation time, and often it’s several long weekends rather a continuous few weeks. In European countries, people get 4 to 6 weeks. Having taken a week in June and then one now in August, it’s hit home again how important it is for our health, outlook, and physical and emotional resilience to take 2 or 3 weeks one or two times per year. If we don’t, besides affecting our health, we forget how to relax, and so do our bodies!
For the last several months, I’ve been trying to lose some weight I gained when I was first editing the book to send it out. I couldn’t get anywhere. Then, when vacationing with my two best high school buddies, even though we ate desserts and drank wine for days, I lost a bit! When you are stressed your body holds onto calories, fearing that the next crisis will be lack of food right when you need the fuel. The only way I’m going to be able to lose the weight is to have enough down time that my system can turn off from full-steam-ahead for a bit.
I also notice that my optimism and patience improve, as well as being able to see more options when confronted with a situation.
So take advantage of these last wonderful weeks of summer. It’ll benefit you all year.

Terrible or not, difficult or not, the only thing that is beautiful,
noble, religious and mystical is to be happy.
–Arnaud Desjardins

Here’s the beautiful cover:

I’m so excited now to get it on the shelves! Stay tuned for the launch date!
Please pass this on to anyone you think would benefit from the book. thanks!

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