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Gateway One: Looking at the First Gateway to Enchantment
By Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein
Welcome to my seven-part series on the Gateways to Enchantment. Over the next months we will take a close look at each Gateway, learning how traveling through each Gateway can lead to you living a life of delight, purpose and meaning, while feeling good about yourself!
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," many, particularly women, expressed their appreciation over and over again. "Thank you for giving a name to this special part of me," 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 of us. 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? Let's look at the First Gateway to Enchantment and you will begin to see what we need. In future weeks I'll take you through more of the Gateways to Enchantment!
First Gateway: Honoring what is Right about Ourselves Rather Than what is Wrong
I have found that 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 special qualities. 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 our selves, not for what is wrong.
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.