The Rebbe Nachman of Breslow often said, "Always remember-Joy is not merely incidental to your spiritual quest. It is vital." As the years have gone by and I've been in the practice of psychology over 20 years, I have become more and more convinced that he was so right, that joy is not an option. When we take away joy and we take away a sense of well-being, a sense that we are thriving, we allow ourselves or seem to find ourselves in circumstances that seem to drain, tire and weaken us. We are no longer the whole human being that is our birthright!
THE ENCHANTED SELF is a positive psychology approach to mental health that works both in the treatment room and out. I teach people the techniques they need to start to think in positive ways about themselves and their world. Thus I teach them how to see what is right about themselves, rather than what is wrong. I also teach them to appreciate their own life story, its ups and downs; the roller coaster ride that we all go on. I teach how to value our potential even if in childhood we were put down or criticized, as so many of us are. I have the belief and I teach the belief that inside of each of us we know when we are on track and we know when we are living a wholesome life that fits with the integrity of our particular spirit.
I call this sense of well-being "The Enchanted Self" and I teach people how to find their "Enchanted Selves" again and again-how to recognize and celebrate the states of well-being that signify they are in touch with the best of themselves. I stress the positive benefit of recalling memories about one's life in a fashion that permits us to discover and rediscover our own talents and resources. I also emphasize how to find in our past the kernals of pleasure, and reservoirs of strength, that we can come home to again and again, even if we need to reshape these facets of ourselves to suite new circumstances Basically, this learning involves listening to yourself, and reviewing your own past to see what worked for you, what really gave you pleasure.
What aspects of yourself and your life can you identify as necessary to experience a state of well-being? What do you need to feel whole? For example, if you loved to play the piano as a child, then you may not really enjoy watching football games as an adult. You may much more enjoy listening to classical music. However, in order to live a full life, you may also enjoy football games because your son loves them or your husband loves them. Thus there is also an accommodation to someone you care about and a resulting interest develops. I think you can begin to see that what is going to work for each person is so unique to that individual! It involves a review of our history, and it involves analyzing the circumstances currently in our lives. If we have a handicap we may not be able to become a ballerina.
Even if we have severe arthritis, we may not be able to become a ballerina at forty. However, the love of dance since childhood may easily be converted into wonderful yoga stretches that help arthritis and feel 'dancy'. So often, there is a creative turn in the road, thinking out of the box, that the Enchanted Self person develops. You find you have become an ENCHANTED SELF when you havethe courage to put together using your mind, heart, body and spirit new inventive ways of bringing pleasure and meaning into your life. The steps I teach people are rigorous but they are no harder then all the habits we learn that keep us in bad moods and keep us depressed. For example, if I teach someone how to review at the end of the day everything that has gone right in their day, that it is no harder than listing what went wrong. In fact it soon becomes easier than listing everything that went wrong.
The reason it becomes easier is that you don't build up some of the rage and some of the anger that one can build up when we review the problems in our lives. Now we are encouraged rather than discouraged and even may end up sleeping better and feeling better leading to much less energy drain. In next part we talk about how to come home to and release your ENCHANTED SELF. Meanwhile, why not try reviewing your day in terms of what went right, rather than what went wrong! Let me know how it goes.
Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein, originator of THE ENCHANTED SELF®, a method of bringing delight and meaning into everyday living, invites you to view her new line of ENCHANTED WOMAN products, downloadable e-books, and free gifts at http://www.enchantedself.com.
Publish this article: A Bird's Eye View of THE ENCHANTED SELF and what it means to YOU - Part 1