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Excerpted from The Other Side and Back by Sylvia Browne. Copyright 2000 by Sylvia Browne. Excerpted by permission of Penguin Putnam, Inc.  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.
 

"Then tear up the list and throw it in the garbage where it belongs."

  Sylvia Browne, The Other Side and Back, Part 3

The quickest way I have found to rediscover my love for myself in those dark times when I lose track of it is to make a list of the things I know I am not. It seems to flow more easily and naturally than paying myself a list of compliments, but it has the same overall self-assuring effect. I am not dishonest, for example, I am not mean, I am not judgmental, I am not a coward, I am not an irresponsible parent and grandparent, I am not petty, etc., etc. What you are not helps define what you are, and it also gives you an idea of qualities you would like to work on so your "not" list can grow and, in turn, add to your list of "I am."

And check yourself regularly for something I call determinism. Determinism is that ridiculous barrage of supposed "facts" we are told about ourselves, usually when we are young, that limit us and, if we are not careful, unfairly predetermine who we are. Let me share a few of my favorites, to show you what I mean:

"You're hopeless with mechanical things."

"Of course you're fat - it runs in our family."

"You never were any good at managing money."

"So your marriage is unhappy. Don't complain. You're lucky you found someone."

"I'm not surprised you're sick so often. You were a sickly child."

One of my mother's mantras: "Face it, Sylvia, your sister Sharon is the pretty one, you're the one with the personality."

A friend of mine was told she could give up on her dream of having long hair, since her hair would simply never grow.

A man I have known all my life struggled with a low self-image well into adulthood after his father refused to let him try out for Little League because "you don't have an athletic bone in your body."

A woman I worked with wore red every single day, despite the fact that frankly she looked terrible in it. I finally found a discreet way to ask her about it. She said she actually hated red and had been sick of it for years, but she had been told as a child it was flattering on her.

Make a list. Write down every word of determinism you have been given by the people around you. Then tear up the list and throw it in the garbage where it belongs.

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