> Loretta is a member of the Meditation Society of America, and many
> you are familiar her wisdom from the several articles she has shared
> in our newsletter, The Inner Traveler. She occasionally sends her
> replies to questions out to those on her mailing list. Here is her
> most recent. Enjoy!
> Progress in my life has been dogged by very low self esteem - always
> as a child put down by my mother and lately by my husband. Do I have
> to go through life like this? Help!
> Answer: My heart goes out to you. My answer is going to be very
> direct. I offer it to you in the spirit of encouragement and to give
> you a sense of hope.
> No, you do not have to go through life like this. You have
> it takes to make the progress you want to make. You lack nothing.
> just don't know it yet. Here are nine practices and beliefs that you
> can begin to cultivate right now to help you improve your self-
> and march boldly in the direction of your dreams.
> 1. Let go of the past:
> The number one most important thing you must do in order to progress
> in life is let go of your past. Often we are led to think that we
> we can't find love, enjoy a fulfilling career, or make progress in
> life because of the abuses and dysfunctions we suffered in the past.
> We become convinced that we are defined by what we were deprived of
> our past. But the past is the past. It exists only in a fantasy. We
> turn the fantasy of the past into a present reality by constantly
> focusing on it. What we tend to do is unconsciously model our adult
> relationships after the relationships we suffered through as
> Then we repress the bad behavior that we are guilty of and project
> out onto our partners. Thus we perpetrate the past by interpreting
> present in past terms.
> All of us come from "dysfunctional" families. Certainly some of us
> experience more psychological adversity in life than others. Yet,
> there are countless examples of people who come from extremely
> parents and almost unbelievable backgrounds of privation and
> and rise above their circumstances to achieve success in life. Often
> siblings who suffer the same abuses in early life have noticeable
> differences in self-esteem and their ability to cope with life.
> determination not to be defeated by life's challenges is the
> difference that makes all the difference. No one can erase the
> influences of the past but everyone can decide whether those
> influences will continue to rule them in the present. To do
> is to say that you are powerless over your own life.
> 2. Forgive
> Forgiveness is the primary way for letting go of the influences of
> past. It's easier to let go of the past when we think of life as a
> classroom that presents us with lessons to learn. Our number one
> lesson is always to learn love and forgiveness. Until we learn to
> and forgive those who mistreated us in the past we are doomed to
> attract the same lesson into our lives in the present. The fact of
> matter is our present relationships are healed as we let go of
> resentment over our past relationships. It doesn't mean that we
> condone mistreatment. It means that we rise above it. When you
> your mother you will discover that you will stop projecting her
> behavior onto your husband. Ironically, when you forgive your mother
> you will also be forgiving yourself because the grievances we hold
> against our parents are unconsciously held against ourselves. We are
> all more likely to gain self-esteem when treated with love and
> compassion. Surprisingly we also gain self-esteem when we treat
> with love and compassion. Your relationship with your husband can
> when you stop finding fault with him and see him thorough the eyes
> love and forgiveness. Everyone is fighting a difficult battle, him
> included. You don't have to forgive him until you're ready. But as
> release your grievances you will make more room in your heart for
> love. The moment you let go of past grievances is the moment you
> become free to experience a miraculous new present.
> 3. Become Conscious and Assume Responsibility
> One of our main responsibilities in life is to expand our
> consciousness as we mature. The wider vision that arises from
> consciousness increases our level of responsibility for the life we
> are creating and the lessons it presents to us. Our goal is to rise
> from dependence to independence and ultimately to freedom. If we
> to get on a higher plane in life we can't keep blaming the amorphous
> they for who we are. Our lives are either theirs or ours. It's up to
> us to decide. Most of us believe that we are responsible for our
> behavior but not for our thinking. As A Course In Miracles teaches
> are first and foremost responsible for what we think, because it is
> solely at the level of our thinking that we can exercise choice. As
> become more responsible for our thinking and the choices we make we
> become masters of our own fate.
> We are in this world to do just that. We are not in this world to
> judge our parents or our spouse or to make sure that they learn
> lessons. We are here to become conscious of our lessons, assume
> responsibility and perfect ourselves. It is our responsibility to
> our all and learn from the classroom of life. When we fail to do
> we betray our Selves and injure our self-esteem.
> Enlightenment requires that we not betray our Selves. We further
> cause by paying attention to the life we are creating. Psychological
> pain is always a sign that we are not paying attention at some
> Just as ulcers tell us that we're not paying attention to the stress
> we create in our lives, so poor self-esteem tells us we are not
> attention to how we are creating it. Paying attention does not mean
> you identify with your pain. Just as you are not your ulcer or your
> broken leg or your headache, you are not your psychological pain
> either. You are the person above your pain who can pay attention to
> taking the steps to promote healing and prevent it from occurring.
> are someone and something much grander than your lack of self-
> Your true Self is powerful beyond measure. To paraphrase Marianne
> Williamson our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate but that
> are indeed powerful beyond measure. To think anything less is not
> humility. It's arrogance, because it gives more weight to your
> than to that of your creator in whose image you were made.
> 4. Take Action
> In order to pay attention and live consciously and responsibly we
> take action. When we put off making amends with our parents or fail
> admit our part in being put down by our spouse we are failing to
> consciously and responsibly.
> You can take action by putting your attention on what you want
> of what you don't want. The law of consciousness says that whatever
> focus on in life expands. Put your focus on your singular desire to
> improve your regard for yourself. A higher part of you knows that
> are not a victim. You can never be "put down" without your consent.
> You are a powerful, vibrant, spiritual being capable of changing
> mind and your life. Demonstrate your new regard for who you really
> by taking care of yourself. Eat well. Get proper rest. Exercise.
> things will improve your reputation with your Self. Learn to
> Meditation increases your ability to live consciously. It is the
> gateway to connecting with the miraculous power of your spiritual
> 5. Ask for Help
> It is our task in life to become free of the limitations we set upon
> ourselves. Often this requires that we ask for help from a
> professional who can assist us in getting a new perspective on our
> problem and who can hold us accountable for our thinking. Taking
> action in this way demonstrates our fierce determination to change
> direction of our lives.
> When we rely strictly on our own strength we have every reason to be
> apprehensive, anxious and fearful. Let us admit to ourselves that
> fear-based thinking of our ego creates all of our problems. To rise
> above the battlefield of life we must ask for help from a higher
> source. Do not forget that you are a spiritual being capable of
> into a higher power. Ask for help through the power of prayer. As A
> Course In Miracles teaches prayer is the medium of miracles.
> Typically, we have to hit rock bottom before we turn to prayer. It
> isn't until we fall to pieces, that we fall to our knees. But the
> moment we do is the moment our lives begin to turn around. Until
> it's as though we've been waiting on God. The truth is, He's been
> waiting on us. It isn't that He's masochistic. It's just that love
> never forces itself. Love waits to be welcomed. When we finally do
> invite God's help it's because life has convinced us that of
> we can do nothing. Our understanding of our problem is too myopic
> our interest too self-serving. God, on the other hand, understands
> every facet of our problem and can resolve it for the good of all
> 6. Gain a Sense of Humor
> Don't take yourself so seriously. Cultivate a sense of humor about
> your shortcomings (as well as your husband's and your mother's). All
> of our wisdom comes from our foibles and the mistakes we make in
> anyway. Count them as blessings. Learn from them. Often our lack of
> self-esteem is a smoke screen for fear of failure or fear of
> Thus we live more to avoid the pain of life than benefit from its
> lessons. We seek to escape real intimacy and on some level seek to
> taken care of by others. Instead of being invigorated by the
> challenges of life we shrink from the unknown and the unfamiliar and
> look for ways to take ourselves off the hook All it takes to change
> this is a little willingness to do so and a good sense of humor.
> 7. Take Your Focus Off Yourself
> The grand mistake fostered by lack of self-esteem is self-
> Self-absorption leads to a sense of isolation, and loss. Take your
> focus off yourself. Real freedom in life isn't experienced until we
> get over ourselves and put our focus on something bigger. When we do
> this we realize that our problems do not stem from what we are not
> getting from life but from what we are not giving to it. The less
> self-absorbed we are and the more aligned we are with the principles
> of conscious living, forgiveness and giving instead of getting, the
> more empowered we become.
> 8. Live With Purpose
> If you want to make progress in life you must live it with a sense
> purpose. To do otherwise is to live it without meaning. Look at your
> relationships as gifts that have been given to you to help you heal
> your psychic wounds. See every relationship as a laboratory for
> becoming conscious, taking responsibility and learning your lessons
> love and forgiveness. Ask yourself what do I want to achieve through
> my relationship? What am I doing to contribute to its success?
> Cultivate the capacity of being ruthlessly honest with yourself
> your contribution.
> Nothing happens by accident in life. Know that you are on a grand,
> heroic mission to discover yourself and become a better person in
> process. Make this the purpose of your relationship. Discuss this
> purpose with your husband. Declare your desire and intention to
> common goal, open communication, and an equal investment in its
> 9. Visualize The Life You Want To Lead
> Visualization is our god-given ability to attract what we desire
> our lives. As Aristotle said, the soul never thinks without a
> Try this exercise.
> Close your eyes and create a picture of the person you want to
> See in your mind's eye what you will be doing .who you will be
> with .what your body will look like how you will sound how you will
> stand how you will breathe.
> Now recognize that the only thing that prevents you from stepping
> this picture is you. Ask for a miracle to come into your life and
> your perception of yourself and your relationships. Surrender to God
> every person, every dream, every heartache, every joy and sorrow
> connected with your lack of self-esteem. Tell Him that you want to
> trade grievances for miracles. Ask that He help you to remember that
> your real purpose in your relationship, and in life, is to love and
> forgive. Affirm that you have the power through Him to do this.
> Now take in a deep breath, open your eyes and live your life as if
> these changes have already occurred, because they have. Practice
> exercise regularly, especially at night before you fall asleep.
> No, you do not have to go through life the way you are. You have the
> capacity to change your mind and change your life. You can have all
> the self-esteem and all the freedom you are willing to create for
> yourself. Right now, today, you can begin to march boldly in the
> direction of your dreams.
> Loretta M. Siani, Ph.D
> Clinical Hypnotherapy
> 3115 East Vista St
> Long Beach, CA 90803
> Phone: (562) 434-7429
> Fax: (562) 434-7317
> Web site: http://www.lorettasiani.com
> E-mail: lsiani@a...
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