The Enchanted Self

 


Seven Gateways to Enchantment

By Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Author of
THE ENCHANTED SELF: A Positive Therapy and
RECIPES FOR ENCHANTMENT: The Secret Ingredient is YOU!
Originator of THE ENCHANTED SELF®,
Dedicated to Delight, Purpose and of course,
Feeling Good About Ourselves!
www.enchantedself.com

When I began to call the special part of ourselves that can be found somewhere between the mind, body, spirit and heart THE ENCHANTED SELF®, women expressed their appreciation over and over again. "Thank you giving a name to this special part of myself," and "This is the part of me that I always devalued and ignored because I thought I wasn't entitled to it. Now that you've identified it, I feel justified in developing this part of myself!"


THE ENCHANTED SELF is indeed a very special part of each woman. You may not have given it a name, you may have dismissed it as trivial, perhaps unimportant in the scheme of a hectic busy, demanding life; but deep inside you’ve yearned to find it and let it out. There comes a moment in every woman's life when it is time bask in your personal delight, happiness and joy. When that time comes, and now that we know it as THE ENCHANTED SELF, we can proudly enjoy it and hold onto it.

But what are the tools to get to THE ENCHANTED SELF part of ourselves? What skills do we need in order to capture and hold onto this special part of ourselves?

This paper outlines the tools for you. It will show you how to walk through “Seven Gateways to Enchantment.” It will start you on your journey through each Gateway, giving you knowledge about it, a case study vignette to connect you to the journey, and an activity to speed you on your way. May you quickly become a delighted Enchanted Self, and may Enchantment follow you every day!



First Gateway: Honoring what is Right about Ourselves
Rather Than What is Wrong

As women, we're all experts in identifying what is wrong with ourselves. We can probably quickly make up a long list, detailing what is wrong in our lives. However, it's a lot harder to get in touch with what is right.

We need to know ourselves in positive ways. We need to learn how to honor our talents, strengths, even our coping skills which serve us so well. And most important, we need to treasure and enjoy our potential.

These parts of us, if not honored, identified and talked about both to ourselves and to others, will lose their power. We have to ignite them and nurture their specialness. We need to get to know ourselves in ways that emphasize the heroic, strong parts of ourselves.

This means using our memories in very different ways from what we've been accustomed to. It means searching through our history to find our talents, strengths and even lost potential, even if we have to sort through pounds of dysfunction. It means searching our past for what is right about ourselves, not for what is wrong.

Case Vignette

Stacie had very negative feelings toward her mother and her aunt, who would both often put her down and criticize her. However, once she was well into her therapy, she began to enjoy sorting through her past, realizing that many of the talents and strengths she had acquired had been based either by example from these women, or by compensating for their deficits. By example, she had learned to sew, cook and have the best vegetable garden that anyone could imagine, even while working full time. By compensating, she learned to guard her tongue and never jump to criticize others. This latter capacity has served her well in her job, while the former gave her day-to-day pleasure in hobbies and in good food.

A Positive Activity for You

Pick a time period from earliest childhood to the present. Find a quiet spot, a quiet time, and begin to list the talents, strengths, coping skills and potential that you got and currently display from that time period. You may have to sort through disappointments and hurts, but you will still find a way to label what's right about yourself.

Take your time. Keep this list with you, and add to it over the next few weeks or even months. Read it again and again to reinforce within you what is right within you, rather than what is wrong.


Gateway Two: Falling in Love with Ourselves


This is an extremely important gateway. This gateway is achieved after we have made efforts to reclaim and honor our talents, capacities, strengths, lost potential and coping skills.

Now we are ready. We no longer break our hearts by putting ourselves down and saying "No, no, you can't do that," or "You're stupid."  Now we are ready to say, "Yes, I love myself. I have a lot to offer. I am capable of having fun. I am capable of doing good, and no one can sidetrack me from who I really am."

When you fall in love with yourself, you begin to feel the positive self-esteem that comes when we don't deflate ourselves. You're ready to take yourself out for tea or to that wonderful spa for a day, or to go back and play the piano, which you always wanted to do. You're ready to recognize all the tools of wisdom that you have to offer. You're ready to recognize that you have an Enchanted Self that deserves to be part of your every day.

When you love yourself, you know when you need help. You know when you need guidance. It isn't a narcissistic love where you feel that you are perfect. It's a love of yourself, as you would love a child. If the child is ill, you take the child to the doctor. If the child comes home with a good paper from school, you put it on the refrigerator. It's a self-acknowledgment that makes you viable, real, and whole. Now you've become really ready to see the story of your life in a positive light. Even the disappointments, even tragedies have served only to hone you like tempered steel. You've been through the battles and have emerged stronger. You're in charge of your own self, a most wonderful feeling!

Case Vignette

Charlotte was constantly demeaned and criticized by her husband. Once she fell in love with herself, she had the courage to no longer put up with his attacks. When he became verbally abusive, she left the house and indicated that if he was not in a better mood and could not behave more appropriately when she returned home, she would leave for good.

Her husband slowly mended his ways and became less verbally inappropriate as time went on. And because Charlotte had learned to love herself, she found that she was able to do what she needed to do for herself. This included becoming more independent and spending time away from her husband.

Perhaps another woman would have left, but for her it made sense to build a world that still included him, but also included her own time for herself - for sports, spas, individual time with her grandchildren, time to enjoy music, time alone with women friends.

Although she stayed, she had become strong. Her love of herself made her conceivably able to leave at any point in time if she was not treated appropriately. Her husband realized this, and did not test the waters too deeply. A satisfactory conclusion had been reached, due to Charlotte's "new" self.

Positive Activity for You

Think about the story of your life. Think about it in positive terms where every hurdle ultimately resulted in some wisdom or in a turn in the road which had some good in it. Start to tell the story of your life to yourself, making yourself the heroine, and remember to make yourself a lovable heroine. You may find yourself going over the same material that we've talked about before, merely giving it a different twist to more clearly identify your talents, strengths and potential. Enjoy the positive story of your life. Discover how special you really are.


Gateway Three: Learning to Meet Our Needs

and Negotiate Successfully


There's nothing more demoralizing than a woman who does not know how to speak up for herself, who doesn't have a voice for herself. When we feel ignored or not understood, we can feel rage and anger building.

So often as women we find ourselves in a predicament where we don't know how to speak up. We simply don't know how to negotiate for what we want. While sometimes it's a cultural attitude that we've taken on, for instance that women should be demure, quiet, and modest, often it's due to a lack of understanding the appropriate skill-set necessary for negotiating effectively. All of these factors put a tremendous pressure on our true capacities. Our future happiness or fulfillment is restricted simply because we don't know the right road to get there.

Learning how to meet our needs and how to negotiate appropriately is a lot of work, but the satisfaction far outweighs the work. When you have been able to speak with integrity to a husband, mother-in-law or a boss, when you have been able to finish a level of training that moves you ahead professionally, you're really living your Enchanted Self. You feel as special as you deserve to feel. It's worth every moment of effort.

Case Vignette

Deborah had been hiding the bookshelves under her side of the bed for so long, she couldn't remember how many years they had been there.

Why were they under the bed? Because when she had brought them home, pretty and ornate with fancy wrought iron underpinnings, her husband had belittled the purchase and belittled her. "Those were stupid purchases," he had said. "They're too ornate. They're flimsy. They'll fall off the wall. You don't even know how to put them up. And don't think I'll help you." Finishing his tirade, he had turned around and stormed out of the room.

Deborah felt devastated. Not only had she believed they were perfect for the family room, but they had reminded her of some lovely built-in mahogany shelving that her grandmother used to have. But apparently that was then and this was now. It obviously didn’t fit into “now.” Her husband had just told her so.

Back in therapy, Deborah confronted once again some of the pain and inertia she had been living with, as well as the pain that was a result of the negative interactions that had continued between her husband and herself. She was determined to move ahead emotionally and to finally gain some resiliency.

While she wasn't ready to leave her husband, she was ready to put up those shelves. One day she took them out from under her side of the bed, brought them into the hardware store and obtained the appropriate advice and necessary hardware.

Much to her satisfaction, when she put the shelves where she had wanted to so many years ago, not only were they securely placed, but they really pulled the family room together. The finishing touch to the room was putting things on the shelves that had actually come from her grandmother's beautiful apartment. The last item, a photograph of her grandmother as a young girl, made the shelves fully come to life.

She waited in slight trepidation for her husband to remark about her enterprise. She said nothing, and interestingly enough he said nothing either for many weeks, seeming not even to notice them. He finally did comment on them, saying, "Oh, those look nice."

While it still wasn't a perfect marriage, and the shelves had slept much too long under the bed, Deborah was much happier that she had finally begun to meet her needs.

A Positive Activity for You

Think about different situations that you're in where you may need to meet your needs or learn to negotiate for them more successfully. Pick a situation that you probably can handle more effectively than you now are, without having to make a great deal of change in your life.

Perhaps you would like to negotiate more successfully with your husband about which restaurant to go to the next time you go out. Think about some of the ways that you can make clear what your needs are, and what you are willing to give in return if there has to be some compromising or conceding. When it's timely, go ahead and practice being clearer about whatever the situation is that you have chosen to discuss. And don't get discouraged. Remember that learning to speak up clearly and directly on our own behalf takes practice.

 

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