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We all come into this world full of promise and possibility. For some, when born into a healthy and highly functional family, the journey is quite easy, with guideposts and directions given freely. However, that is a very small population of people. Most of us were born into families that were in their own way struggling for independence, accomplishment, safety or security. For the millions of people who grew up in painful families, whether by absent parents, abusive parents, or those who were ill-equipped, noted...
We all come into this world full of promise and possibility. For some, when born into a healthy and highly functional family, the journey is quite easy, with guideposts and directions given freely. However, that is a very small population of people. Most of us were born into families that were in their own way struggling for independence, accomplishment, safety or security. For the millions of people who grew up in painful families, whether by absent parents, abusive parents, or those who were ill-equipped, noted therapist Sharon Wegscheider-Cruse shows that they do not have to follow a family tradition of compulsion or addiction.
In the revised edition of the classic Learning to Love Yourself, Wegscheider-Cruse explains that it is possible to create our own self-worth at any time in our lives, even as adults. She guides readers on a journey to greater self-worth, explaining how to eliminate toxic self-defeating messages, how to choose healthier, new perspectives, and how to reinvent yourself each day open to a world of possibilities.
The author leads us from low self-esteem to the realization of our own self-worth. We do not have to follow the family tradition or addiction.
Being asked to revise this book was a real treat. The belief that we are all worthy and much more empowered than we think we are is one I hold dear. We all come into this world full of promise and possibility, and then the journey to grow into our authentic selves begins. For some, when born into a healthy and highly functional family, the journey is quite easy, with guideposts and directions given freely, and with a practical and loving support system. However, my mentor, Virginia Satir, a well-known psychotherapist and author who is often referred to as 'the mother of family therapy,' used to tell me that this population is a very small group of people. Most of us were born into families that were in their own way struggling for independence, accomplishment, safety, and security. There were varying abilities, resources, and skills. Some caretaking was superb, but oftentimes there were limits, difficulties, and a lack of time, energy, and know-how. As we navigated through the many hurdles and changes in life, we added to—and sometimes took away from—our core of self-worth.
When I wrote the original edition of Learning to Love Yourself, I was actively working in the field of addiction with families of those who suffered from addiction (any kind of addiction). There was an explosion of helping professionals themselves who were the first to make the connection between coming from a painful family and facing consequences and challenges in their grown-up years. These early professionals led the way by seeking more for themselves and exploring their own lives. They then took what they had learned into their counseling sessions, wrote about it in their books, and used it in their own recoveries with the goal of helping all people find the link between their growing-up years and their self-worth.
The beauty of this early work (from 1970?85) is that we now know that all of us are impacted by our history, our environment, and our ability to make new and exciting choices in our lives. Today I awaken to a world of choices. I can choose to be wherever my life experience takes me, and I am free to reinvent myself with continued decisions. I can choose my behavior, and I am in charge of my own self-worth. I have choices, and I can change my mind (many times) and remind myself that I am the author of my life. I am the star in my story and the chairman of the board that is my life. It's up to me.
You, too, have this choice. By learning to love yourself, you can begin to put your heart's desires into action. You can choose to not procrastinate with your dreams. (Dreams will not go away anyway. They will only nag.) You can make a decision to change. If it's the right decision, celebrate. If it's the wrong decision and does not work out, then make another new decision. Either way, you have moved off dead center. Some decision is always better than no decision. When right decisions are made, the universe will support your decisions. When wrong decisions are made, things get harder and harder. Pay attention to the difficulties that you face and you will learn from them and find your path.
Continue to reinvent yourself as you change and grow. Don't let anyone ever tell you that you can't have it all. (Or worse, that you shouldn't strive to have it all.) You are a 'power-full' person and just how powerful you want to be is up to you. Powerful people do not have power over, they have power from within.
I invite you to journey with me as you incorporate these new chapters into your life and bring yourself to where you want to be. Remember: Self-esteem is the combination of self-confidence (which comes from action and risk) and self-respect (which comes from effort and compassion for oneself).
Chapter 1 Journey to Self-Worth 5
Chapter 2 Parents and Self-Worth 27
Chapter 3 New Perspectives on Old Feelings 45
Chapter 4 Enemies of Esteem 77
Chapter 5 Steps to Higher Self-Worth 105
Chapter 6 Intimacy, Commitment, and Self-Esteem 121
Chapter 7 Guidelines to Developing Intimacy 131
Chapter 8 Emotional Needs and Self-Worth 141
Chapter 9 Finding What I Did Right and Celebrating It! 157
Chapter 10 Coming Back from Loss and Grief 175
Chapter 11 Making Dreams Come True 197
Chapter 12 Ten Important Words: If It Is to Be, It Is Up to Me 211
Posted November 2, 2012
Posted May 28, 2013