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April 30, 2013
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Chiseled over the
portal of the ancient Greek temple at Delphi: GNOTHI SEAUTON -
"Human beings have always employed an enormous amount
of clever devices for running away from themselves...
We can keep ourselves busy, fill our lives with so many diversions, stuff our heads with so much knowledge, involve ourselves
with so many people and cover so much ground that we
never have time to probe the fearful and wonderful world within...
By middle life, most of us are accomplished
fugitives from ourselves."
- John Gardner
within, or go without- Neale Walsch, in
"Conversations with God"
+ + +
This YouTube clip by the author previews what you'll find in this article...
The purpose of the
article is to raise your awareness of some vital
beliefs you hold which significantly affect your
This is not about what's right
or wrong, it's about knowing yourself.
The alternatives are unawareness, unrealistic
The content of this nonprofit educational Web site has been evolving
since 1986, triggered by my starting to recover from a very low-nurturance
childhood. The site is based on 50 adult years' observing and studying human development and behavior.
For more on my background and credentials, see
Premise - You'll enjoy your life and relationships more and
accomplish more with them if you become
aware of your
basic beliefs on....
to this self-improvement Web site, if you haven't done so already.
choose an undistracted time and place, and the open-minded
curiosity of a
student. Expect to learn something useful.
try this simple
with each premise below, reflect on whether you
Disagree, or ? (something else). Take your time!
1) There has never been another person like
you in the history of the Earth. You have...
talents, limitations, knowledge, beliefs, preferences, and
motivations. Your subselves and instincts cause you...
a dynamic mix of
which cause your emotions, thoughts, and goals; and motivate
your habits and behaviors. And you have...
as a dignified, worthy person; including...
the right to respectfully assert
your primary needs to other people.
These traits apply to every other person on the planet.
(A D ?)
Every child and adult (like
qualified to provide something of high worth to living things that no one
else can provide. Part of maturing
is discovering your true
life purpose and finding ways to manifest it. People usually guided
by their wise, resident true Self and a responsive, benign
Higher Power seem most likely to discover and manifest their unique
life purpose or mission. (A D ?)
Have you found your life purpose yet? Do you know anyone who has?
Personalities, Wounds, and Healing
This YouTube video clip provides perspective on what you're about to
3) Starting in (or before?) infancy,
all normal kids, and adults
evolve a unique personality.
Evidence suggests that
normal (vs. pathological) personalities are composed of
like the talented members of an orchestra or sports team.
One universal subself can be called the
true Self (capital "S"). S/He is innately talented at motivating, coordinating, and
the other subselves in calm and stressful situations.
When one or more
other subselves distrust and disable
the Self, they become a
"false self." (A D ?)
For more perspective, see this
articleafter yiu finish this
True and false selves cause observable
behaviors in adults and kids. This
allows assessing anyone to see who's controlling their life. (A
dominance causes up to five
wounds, ranging from mild to extreme. Recent
stress during early childhood
can significantly affect brain development and
functioning. This promotes psychological wounds and long-term
psychological, social, and physical health problems and
death. (A D ?)
From the above, the traditional
labeling or diagnosis of abnormal behavior as "mental illness" and
"sickness" is obsolete and potentially harmful. It promotes the
use of expensive drugs to moderate (some) symptoms of
psychological wounds, which hinders understanding and reducing the
wounds thru appropriate therapy and learning. Similarly,
is a less polarizing and misleading tem than "mental health" (freedom
from illness)" See my
YouTube video clip for
Lesson 1 in this site
and its related
are devoted to this vital wound-reduction process.
This YouTube video clip previews what you're about to read:
All infants, kids, and adults (i.e. you)
act to reduce current conscious and unconscious
needs(discomforts). Much of our human behavior is need-driven.
The rest is caused by primal instincts - automatic neurological and
hormonal responses like breathing, sleeping, laughing, urinating, and
digesting. Our needs (a) may conflict, and (b)
vary in importance
to us now and over time.
Often, what people think they
need is a surface symptom of underlying primary needs.
Anyone can develop the powerful skills of
''digging down'' to
discern their primary needs. Trying to fill surface needs is like
clipping off dandelion tops vs. pulling their roots - the primary needs
remain unfilled, and the symptoms return. (Agree
Premise 9) All personal and social
"problems" are unmet physical + psychological + spiritual + social
Most personal and social conflicts are clashing needs ("I need to
rest, and you need to dance."). Other conflicts are opposing
"Problem-solving" and "conflict resolution" are the process of
identifying, asserting, and filling each person's current primary needs
"well enough." (A D ?)
can learn to be more
aware of their
and options for satisfying them at any time.
Typical adults who have trouble doing this are psychologically
wounded, unaware, and
self-neglectful. (A D ?)
and filling (satisfying) your primary needs. You
expect, ask, or demand
that others help fill your needs, but you are ultimately
responsible. You can choose who to
help with their needs, how, when, and why.
(A D ?)
Nurturing means "filling
needs." Every infant and child has an innate set of
developmental needs. The adults who raised you and your childhood family can be
ranked between "very unnurturing (dysfunctional)" to "highly nurturing
depending on how well your and their needs got met.
This is also true of each of your
families. Families and groups where all
adults' and kids' primary (vs. surface) needs are
often filled well enough can be called
"high nurturance." (A D
Premises About Emotions
infants, children, and adults constantly experience a
of subtle to intense emotions (automatic mental + physical
reactions) in response to...
current sensory information (taste,
smell, sight, touch, hunger, thirst, sounds, etc.), and...
reactions to perceived
and expected environmental
Emotions range from very pleasant (like satisfaction, joy, ecstasy, love,
hope,...) to very unpleasant (e.g. terror, pain, overwhelm, jealousy, rage,
greed, depression, confusion,
anxiety, disgust, frustration, hurt,
guilt, and shame).
(A D ?)
14)Pleasant emotions occur when primary needs are filled, and/or certain brain
areas are stimulated.
always signal some current primary
needs aren't satisfied well enough. Because normal personalities are
composed of semi-independent subselves
and adults can feel several
emotions at once - perhaps pleasant and unpleasant.
15) Anyone (like you) can learn to
reject the myth that some emotions are "negative," shameful, or bad,
and recognize that all
emotions are useful ("positive") for identifying
and filling unmet needs. (A
Implication: judging some feelings or
emotions as negative suggests that a well-meaning false self wants
to avoid responsibility for filling some primary needs. Any motivated person can
develop and use
dig-down skills to
identify their emotions
and the related primary needs, and teach dependents and
others to do the same. (A D ?)
Typical men and women unconsciously
re-create and seek the same level of nurturance (low to
high) in their relationships, homes, and
workplaces that they experienced as a young child.
you're aware of this and accept full responsibility for filling
your primary needs, you (or anyone) can
improve (a) self-nurturance and (b) the nurturance-level of your environments over time.
(A D ?) Notice your reaction to this proposal...
More basic premises about persons that shape this Web site...
unimpaired people have
three "minds" - conscious, semi-conscious, and unconscious.
"Unconscious" means "outside my awareness." Your perceptions and
reactions every moment are shaped by a dynamic mix of body sensations
and reactions in your three minds and primal instincts. Your minds (i.e.
your personality subselves), body cells, and glands interact with each other in complex ways you can't
can often "sense" or "intuit." (A D ?)
has the innate ability to sense
spiritual guidance and comfort from a
(the?) Higher Power. This ability often manifests as a
personality subself which acts as a tireless liaison to your Higher
Self, your soul, and other spiritual mentors or powers.
who grow a non-judgmental interest in
what's going on
outside and "inside" of them (thoughts, feelings, urges, "senses,"
dreams, patterns, processes, sensations, intuitions, bodily processes,
hunches...) gradually learn to live more self-directed, satisfying,
productive, days and nights.
people also seem more apt to spontaneously provide more empathic
nurturance to kids and other adults. People often ruled by false selves
are frequently too distracted by
and reacting to others' behaviors to notice and understand what's going
on "inside." That can
any day - specially after experiencing some form of personal bottom.
any time,anyone (like you) can be judged to be
wholistically healthy to
Your degree of health will promote or hinder your developing your full potential as a
unique person - i.e. progressing on your life's purpose or mission (self
How well your basic developmental needs were met during your
early-childhood years has significantly affected how harmonious or chaotic your personality
subselves are, and who usually
leads them. Genetic factors
also affect this in little-known ways. (A
Pause, breathe, and reflect -
Do you agree with these premises
about persons? If not, are you clear on what you do believe? Do
you need a break before continuing?
Bonding, Losses, and Grieving
21) Starting in infancy,wholistically-healthy people
form weak to strong attachments
with other people and things. We also bond with special things, places,
sensory experiences (music, tastes, smells, movements,...) ideas, rituals, hopes, and fantasies.
(A D ?)
choice or chance, these attachments suddenly or slowly break. From infancy
on, our lives change and are
inevitably studded with these minor to massive losses. Environmental
changes may or may not cause
significant losses (broken bonds). (A D ?)
organically-normal infants, kids, and adults have the instinctive
abilities to (a) mourn and (b) endure the discomfort from significant losses until we
accept them and what they mean -
mentally, emotionally, and spiritually. (A D ?)
three-level grieving is
for wholistic personal health and high-nurturance relation-ships and families.
Our wounded, unaware
culture discounts and hinders healthy grief by
ceaselessly urging speed, over-stimulation, pleasure, and excitement. Older
cultures know better. (A D ?)
(like you) evolves a personal "grieving policy" to live by - i.e. a set
of semiconscious beliefs, values, and rules (shoulds, oughts,
musts, have to's, can'ts, etc) about bonding, losses, and
Most people are unaware of their personal and their family's grief
policies, which can promote or hinder healthy grief. These policies can be consciously
''pro grief,'' once (a) the person is aware of healthy grief
basics and (b) their resident true
Self is in charge (#3 above).
(A D ?)
and adults need
for healthy grieving. Our society doesn't teach or promote these
requisites, so we must often discover them on our own from life
experience. Intentionally providing these requisites to dependent kids is a priceless life-long
gift. (A D ?) Did your childhood caregivers give
you this gift?
raised in, and kids now living in, low-nurturance families often lack internal and/or external
permissions to mourn their losses and accept what their losses
mean. This grief-blockage can promote
personal illness + psychological problems
+ shallow or toxic relationships + low-nurturance
groups. (A D ?)
Lesson 3 in this Web site focuses on
adults learning "good-grief"
basics, and helping each other build
pro-grief attitudes, relationships, and
Again, pause, breathe, and reflect. What are you aware of now - what
you learning? When you're ready, review the last set of core premises
underlying this Web site...
Premises About Interpersonal Communication
behavior that causes a "significant" mental, psychological, spiritual, or physical change in
another person is "communication." So "not communicating" is
impossible, because silence or "no response" imply
meanings (messages). (Agree Disagree ?)
Communication is a
caused by each person's drive to fill the current
and (ideally) their partners' ruling subselves
(A D ?)
28) Communication is effective
all involved persons get their current primary needs met well
enough (in their opinion), and...
everyone feels good enough about
themselves, each other, and their communication process. (A D ?)
Subselves and people communicate to fill up to five current
Without mutual knowledge and
the odds of all participants filling these needs well enough in
important situations can
under 10%. (A D ?)
people are unaware of the communication processes among
their subselves and with other people. Your
can decide to become
learning to use key communication
they and their partner/s each need now;
and each person...
values partners' current
dignity and needs as
equally important and valid, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity,
and if each person...
brainstorming using all seven communication skills to see what options
best fill everyone's current primary needs in good-enough ways. (A
Whether relationships among
and between people are
nurturing (need filling) or toxic (need-creating or amplifying) depends partly on the
you) can learn to
improve the effectiveness of their
communications at any time. (A D ?)
Break the Cycle! self-improvement course,Lesson 2
and its related guidebook
Satisfactions are devoted to learning effective thinking and communicating. To
see what you (need to) know about communication basics, try this
quiz and review these
+ + +
These are the key beliefs that underlie the contents of this nonprofit Web site and
the related guidebooks. For more
perspective, browse these questions and answers, and
quizzes. If you
disagree with or don't care about most of these premises, this
may be of little use to you.
Learn something about yourself with
this anonymous 1-question poll.
Pause, breathe, and reflect: why did you read this article? Did you get what you needed? If not
- what do you need now? Who's
answering these questions - your wise, resident
true Self or