Hello. I’m Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein. As many of you know, I am a psychologist in private practice and the author of the book “THE ENCHANTED SELF, A Positive Therapy”. I encourage finding out what’s good about ourselves rather than what’s bad, and seeing ourselves in a positive light; seeing the glass as half full rather than half empty, and recognizing that each of us are unique and in fact extraordinary in many ways, far from ordinary.
I’d like to tell you a little more about The Enchanted Self and get you involved in the process. I am probably a lot like you–busy, making a living, having a life, and trying to be a good family member. One of the things I have realized is that there have been many times when I was not feeling really, really happy. You’ve probably you’ve been there too–when you were not full of joy. This is a human predicament, but being a psychologist, I was interested in discovering more about it. Why don’t we walk around feeling elated more of the time?
I realized one factor immediately. In our society It’s all hustle and bustle. Many of us work overtime and often have more than one job. It seems like we’re frantic. We don’t even know how to get enough sleep. I started to think more about ourselves. What else is going on? I have discovered many things, particularly as I interviewed a group of women not in my practice. I found many of these women had indeed received negative messages growing up. These negative messages certainly did not help them. For example, if you are told when you are a child, you’re dumb, that’s a stupid idea. It really doesn’t help us. On the other hand, what I discovered when I interviewed these women was something extraordinary. These women were happy and joyful at least part of the time. They were tapping into their own talents and interests and using wonderful coping skills, yet not often recognizing their own successes or congratulating themselves.
I concluded that we often don’t recognize or document when we are really, really doing well or having a great time. Sometimes we know we’re in a good mood but then somebody puts us down and we let them! For example, we walk in the door after feeling pretty good on the way home from work a husband or wife says, “Did you do the errands, did you get this, did you do that?” If we haven’t or we forgot, we may feel suddenly criticized and the whole good mood disappears. Staying, and feeling happy, I began to see, is almost like a task.
It’s a positive practice activity–just like feeling miserable is something that we practice. The more I thought about it, I realized that I’m responsible for my mood just as you’re responsible for your mood. Although we can indeed blame lot of people when they have mistreated us, really there is something each of us has to learn about practicing joy. Over the years I began to conceptualize The Enchanted Self, A Positive Therapy, in terms of practicing positive, daily living. It began to take shape as a ‘Recipe for Enchantment’. In this recipe for enchantment, guess who is the most important, secret ingredient? The answer is, YOU ARE!
In any Recipe for Enchantment, you are the secret ingredient. It’s your uniqueness, your capacities to laugh or to have a good time, to take a little bit of money and make something still work, to be in a good mood and perk up someone else, to give a compliment, or make someone else happy. It is your particular talents that may be involved in throwing together a little birthday party for the local dog who just turned two, just because you want to have a birthday party today and it is nobody’s birthday. Why not the big collie down the street? Whatever it is, the inventiveness, the spark, the fire–it comes from you. You are the secret, main ingredient. Visit my web site at www.enchantedself.com to read more about how you can “get cooking” with joy and a daily sense of well-being.
Exercise: Recipe for Personal Pleasure
This activity is designed to be fun. It helps you to use your imagination to begin to focus on the ingredients you need to have a wonderful time. Give yourself a quiet space, a pad of paper and a pen, and permission to daydream. Here we go. The world is your oyster. Plan out a day that takes you into account totally.
What would that day be like and what would you do? What would the weather be like? What would you wear? Where would you go? Who would be with you, if anyone? What would you see? How would you feel? What would you eat that day? What are some of the aromas that would please you that day? What would be the highlight of the day? How would you feel at the end of the day when you are ready to go to sleep? Now pretend you’re looking back on that day. What would you be most pleased about?
Taking this wonderful, imaginary day and make it closer to reality. What are some of the ingredients you would need to make this day come true? Here’s the practical part: brainstorm your list.
I hope you’ve enjoyed creating a Recipe for Personal Pleasure. Now enjoy your thoughts about this special day, but permit yourself to put it aside to simmer. Come back to stir every once and a while. I hope that one of these times when you come back to stir, you will be ready to actually plan ahead and work on some real ways of bringing this day into reality.