This article contains an excerpt from my book, THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy. The message is so important to all of us attempting to overcome adversity and to live a live of meaning and joy. I hope you enjoy the following and please try the exercise that follows.

Time continues to increase my conviction that the old adage "Practice, practice, practice" is as necessary to experiencing a state of enchantment as anything else. Unfortunately, I am convinced, In general, we work much harder than we realize to stay in state of disenchantment rather than to let ourselves enjoy moments of enchantment. We seem to practice staying in bad mood and seeing our faults and weaknesses rather than our strengths. Do we really feel that worry will help a situation, rather than patiently figuring out appropriate, more positive action? The ultimate solution is often simple, though the road to a permanent state of well-being requires practice and continual awareness and work.

The truth is: most of us get in the way of our good mental health. We may experience a lonely or sad emptiness inside, suffer a sense of disconnection from ourselves, or have repetitive occurrences of bad moods or self-generating negative messages. We constantly interrupt our potential for achieving positive states by permitting fears or the counting of our woes to take away potentially precious moments. Many of us lack a sense of comfort about being with ourselves in our own mental space, and within our own body. We forget how to recognize and emphasize our blessings.

My clients remind me every day of how we can get in our own way. I remind myself too, as I strive to maintain the wonderful sense of oneness with myself and the world that I call THE ENCHANTED SELF. This "oneness," if examined, is a reflection of our own unique talents, interests, potentials and individual life experiences. The result of being connected authentically to ourselves and our world is a chance to live a daily life of joy and meaning. Don't we all want that? I certainly do!

More and more I realize that maintaining this enchantment is not a trivial activity. It involves more than positive self-regard, yet it has no psychic power without the foundation of positive self-regard. It involves more than merely meeting one's basic needs, yet it cannot be activated and maintained without certain negotiating skills. It also involves valuing one's basic needs, yet it cannot be activated and maintained without certain negotiating skills.

It also involves valuing one's own Positive Fingerprints and Shadow Prints of the mind. (These are the actual concrete and more vague memories that each of us house within our incredible minds) Without these unique memories and impressions that create a pathway to building a positive self-narrative, these positive building blocks of our uniqueness are lost to others and, more sadly, to ourselves. We need our Positive Fingerprints and Shadow Prints of the mind so that our present and future will be able to reflect our talents, interests and potential. For if I deny the beauty and specialness of my own uniqueness, I am again locked out of the real experience of enchantment.

Personal enchantment is not a group activity. It remains a private exercise…this gaining the condition of sense of integrity and wholeness. Only the person herself knows if she is in a state of enchantment or disenchantment. Here are three exercises to get you started, geared to emphasizing positive self-regard and building self-esteem.

1. Please write down five positive comments about yourself. For example, "You are a most courteous and helpful person." "You are always there for me." "I can always trust you." You can make these statements in the first person or the third person, whichever is more comfortable for you. For example, you could state, "I'm a courageous person who tries to help others out even at great cost to myself." Or you could say, "You are a most courageous person who is willing to help others out, even at great cost to yourself."

After you have made your list of five positive remarks you'd like to hear about yourself, put this piece of paper in your wallet or pocketbook. Read it to yourself at least once a day for one week. You may think of other positive statements you'd like to add, or you may get tired of certain ones and delete them. That's fine, just keep the number around five.

2. After a week, answer the following questions:

(a) How did you feel reading these remarks?

(b) Were there remarks you wished you could have made but honestly felt you didn't deserve? If so, what do you think are some of the things you might need to work on before you can legitimately make a particular statement? Jot down some of those things. Try to be objective. Is your list realistic? Too perfectionistic? If it is perfectionistic, try to make it more realistic. Remember that incorporating positive self-regard requires practice and repetition just as incorporating negative self-statements required repetition. If you find this exercise uncomfortable at this time, return to it later.

3. Make a SELF PRIDE list. For those of you who may find it difficult to enumerate clearly some of your positive capacities, I suggest that you keep a journal for a week. During the week, write own at least one item a day that you can take pride in having handled well. For example, on your list you might find, "I was polite and kind to several people in the check out line in the supermarket, even though I was tired. "Or you might write another comment such as, "I used my head rather than my fist and really shared with my son my concerns over his getting another traffic ticket, rather than showing intense anger." Or you might write something as simple as, "I took care of my body today. I ate reasonable foods and went for a walk."

At the end of the week, read over your list three times at one sitting. After you've done that, give yourself a mental hug or visualize yourself shaking your hand or giving yourself the "high five" sign, or even placing a gold star on your forehead. Give yourself some recognition!

Author's Bio: 

Dr. Holstein is the originator of THE ENCHANTED SELF(R) and a positive psychologist in private practice since 1981. She is the author of The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy, Recipes for Enchantment, The Secret Ingredient is YOU!, Delight, and now The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything).

Dr. Holstein speaks on radio, and appears on television in NY and NJ. Her website is She gives lectures, seminars, teleclasses and her quotes appear often in national magazines. She has a weekly radio show on, Kids, Tweens and Teens, A Positive Psychologist Looks at All Three. She is the official guide for positive psychology on

Barbara Becker Holstein

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