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Excerpted from Everyday Enlightenment by Dan Millman. Copyright © 1999 by Dan Millman. Excerpted by permission of Time Warner Publishers and Time Warner Bookmark.  All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.  HTML and web pages copyright © by SpiritSite.com.
 


"Our sense of self-worth is the single most important determinant of the health, abundance, and joy we allow into our lives."

Dan Millman, Everyday Enlightenment, Part 1

Opening to Life

It is a funny thing about life: if you refuse to accept anything but the best you very often get it. 

W. Somerset Maugham

Road Map: The First Key to Transformation

Aaron and Charlotte, brother and sister, are born into a two-parent, stable, middle-class household. Their parents are educated, hardworking, caring, have no alcohol problems, abusive habits, or guilty secrets. Aaron grows up successful--earns good grades, wins a junior chess championship, plays sports, and later earns a good income to support a family of his own. Charlotte does moderately well in school but chooses unsavory friends, starts using heroin and other drugs, turns to theft and prostitution to support her habit, which leads to jail time and the hell of withdrawal.

Not all siblings are as different as Charlotte and Aaron, but some of us take higher roads than others. In families all over the world, children grow up differently, make different choices, lead different lives. Many factors shape our lives, including beliefs, support systems, motivation, relationships, family dynamics, fate, or karma. But the central premise of the first gateway is that our sense of self-worth is the single most important determinant of the health, abundance, and joy we allow into our lives. In the case of Aaron and Charlotte, his behaviors demonstrated his higher sense of self-worth. But the story doesn't end there.

Charlotte, who had always loved children, later found new purpose, meaning, and opportunity for service in her role as a dedicated mother of two. As her children grew, so did her sense of worth. Charlotte got her life together and is doing better all the time. Not all stories have such a happy ending. Thousands, even millions, of us in all walks of life make self-destructive choices because we have lost touch with our own worthiness to receive life's gifts.

Discover Your Worth is no more or less important than any other gateway. But it comes first because only when you come to appreciate your unconditional human worth will you allow yourself to fully apply and benefit from the gateways that follow. Discovering your worth provides a foundation from which to build, one gateway at a time, a new way of life. Finding your worth is the first step in creating everyday enlightenment.

The purpose of this gateway is to assess your current sense of self-worth, to appreciate the arbitrary factors that created it, to understand how a low sense of worth can generate (largely subconscious) self-destructive behaviors, and, finally, to help you get out of your way and move into a more expansive life. In the first gateway you will learn how self-worth differs from self-esteem; how your sense of worth impacts the choices you make in life; three ways you can discern your own (largely subconscious) sense of worth; the source and mechanisms of self-sabotage and how to overcome it; and, finally, ways to appreciate your own unconditional worth.

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