Fairy Tales Can Come True
by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein

In private moments we may find ourselves reflecting upon our lives, what could have been, and our true potential.  We often cast our hopes and dreams aside, and then experience feelings of disillusionment or emptiness.  We feel cheated of our inalienable right of happiness.

In this world of fast paced communications, it's very easy to become sidetracked when it comes to finding our Enchanted Self.  We are constantly bombarded with images from TV, radio, magazines and newspapers telling us what to wear, how we should look and smell, or what car to drive. 

According to these outside options, if we follow their plan then we should be happy, right?  Wrong!  When we place our lives in the hands of others we lose the magical, potential for happiness that exists within each of us.

How do we begin the process of looking within?  What do we look for?  First, we must understand that each of us has the ability to create our own happiness and joy.  Second, we need to realize that the most important tool we possess is our own unique memories. 

Memories don't just pop up out of nowhere; they sometimes have to be prodded or coaxed.  Think of them as children playing hide and seek, hoping and waiting to be discovered. 

How do we coax our memories out into the open?  Experiencing the moment can trigger positive memories from your past.  Learning to recognize your positive talents and strengths through memory retrieval is an important lease of the process toward discovering your Enchanted Self.

The third step is learning how to use positive memories to reinvent yourself.  Several years ago, while on vacation in Wales , I met Valerie Woodall.  Valerie had worked for an insurance company.  She held a high position and was responsible for many employees.  When her division closed, Valerie found herself out of a job. 

Valerie might have spent the following year searching for another job in the same field, but instead chose to make a career change.  She scanned her past for events that had brought her happiness, and went back to her love of fairy tales. 

When she was three years old her grandmother had given her a beautiful book of fairy tales (which she still has).  "I got this idea to have a fairy shop.  My husband thought I was crazy, that no one would come in.  Ignoring him, I found this little shop in a nice arcade and I have been swamped since we opened.  Who can resist buying a magic wand or a captured fairy in a bottle for a daughter, a niece or grandchild?"

Valerie had taken the fourth step in the process of discovering her Enchanted Self.  She had researched the practicality of her dream.  This takes lots of time and effort.  Needless to say, this paid off.  Valerie is a wonderful example of someone who scanned her own past, found her latent talents and potential and then did the hard work of researching and finding a way to re-invent herself.  As a result, she created a new career and a new passion for herself.  Most importantly, she had the courage to try.

It may take a single memory or a string of memories to give you the courage to reinvent yourself.  As in any worthwhile endeavor it takes practice, time and effort.  Remember that happiness starts within.

Exercise: Stimulating Your Positive Memories

Pick a favorite age.  It may have been when you were in high school or when you were a young child.  Make a list of your interest or hobbies, the things that you enjoyed doing the most.  They may include playing sports, reading detective novels, riding a bike, or picking up seashells at the beach. 

Make a second list describing your best traits or characteristics. Now imagine a person coming to see you for vocational or advocational advice.  This person has the same characteristics and interests as you.  This person is your present age. 

Brainstorm three ways that this person could utilize his/her interest and talents in new ways.   

What research would this person need to do to make these changes?

How did it feel giving this 'other' person advice? 

Is there anything you advised that you might want to take-on for yourself? 

If the shoe fits ... enjoy it!

Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, a positive psychologist, teaches people how to enhance their lives--and consequently live lives of meaning and joy--by reclaiming what is positive about themselves. This is different from the traditional psychotherapeutic model because it is a paradigm shift designed to help us focus on our strengths rather than our disabilities and our weaknesses. The treatment model teaches both the clinician and the client how to look for purpose and a sense of well-being in daily living. She calls this process The Enchanted Self, A State of Well Being, Joy, and Happiness. Visit her website at http://www.enchantedself.com. To join The Enchanted Self E-group, click here. To subscribe to The Enchanted Self Monthly E-newsletter, click here.

THE ENCHANTED SELF® is a registered trademark of Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein.

Copyright (c) 2002 Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein