Hello, welcome to this new Breaking Freedom Me series, and I’m sharing with you some of the self-help books that I find particularly helpful. Now, some of them are a bit old, but still classics in the Recovery Movement. So this one, the first one that I’m going to share is Dr. Wayne Dyers. I’m sure some of you will remember he died some years ago, but he was a great character in the personal growth field. So his book, pulling Your Own Strengths was a great classic in its day, and he shares several core concepts and principles about how to take control of your own life. So I’m just going to touch on some of the main topics that he covers. I thought it was brilliant and it really, really did make a difference to me because at the time when I was reading this, and I think it was back in the 1980s, the introduction is the philosophy of non-victimhood.

And actually back then in the eighties, that was a fairly new concept at the time, and what does non victimisation, what does that mean? And so it was quite wonderful to make these discoveries that there was such a thing because I didn’t realise that I lived my life as a victim. And so this was a great eyeopener. So the main concepts and principles that he covers, there’s eight here that I’m going to tell you about. The first one is self-reliance to practice being self-reliant and trusting yourself to make your own decisions, to not be over-reliant on other people telling you what to do, and being used to that and recognising that you have the power to shape your own destiny, and he encourages you to believe in your capacity to handle the challenges that come up in all lives. We all have challenges in life, but

You be like, I just grew up being used to looking to be approved of appeasing and pleasing and fitting around other people and looking to see, well, what do you want me to do? And then I would just fit around it. And actually, I was a setting target for people who look out for somebody to control. So it was great for me to start to take on board principles of self-reliance and that actually I could decide how did I want to live my life. So that was great. So no surprise then that another principle was about victimisation and victimhood and having a victim mindset. Well, I didn’t know I had a victim mindset, and I would say that the vast majority of people who are experiencing life as a victim and being victimised, they don’t know that they have a victim mindset.

How would they just don’t? They’re not consciously aware of having a victim mindset. So Wayne Dyer in this pulling your own strings, it was great for that pointing out what was involved in that sense of powerlessness that victims have and helplessness and needing to be told what to do. So the book is pointing out that you are not powerless in the face of life’s challenges, and you need to start taking hold of the reigns in your life. The next principle is ity. And so getting to know what is it that you want? What is it that you value? What are your core values and beliefs? Now, I just was not conscious of what my core values or beliefs were. I had some, but I didn’t know what they were. And as Carl Young says, until you make the unconscious conscious, it’ll run your life and you’ll call it fate.

So I was just living quite unconsciously back at the time when I read this book, but I came to understand that living authentically meant living according to your values and your beliefs and not constantly dumbing them down and fitting in with somebody else’s beliefs and somebody else’s values. I had some idea that it was really selfish to want what you wanted, that it wasn’t okay, and it wasn’t even okay to be saying, I want as a child. It was that kind of an era when children were told children should be seen and not heard. So that was what I would’ve been hardwired with. And if you said, I want you, were likely to hear want doesn’t get. So I learned to not say I want and I learned to not want. So this was a great revolution for me that it was okay to want and to actually say, well, I would prefer or I want.

And being authentic. If the people you interact with don’t ever say clearly and explicitly what they want, it means you are always having to guess. Because they’ll say, as I used to say, if somebody asked me, do you want X, Y, or Z? I’d say, well, what do you think? Well, what do you want? So I would pass it back and I wouldn’t make a decision. But that puts the onus on other people to mind read and figure out what you might want. Otherwise, you are fitting in with everybody all the time. So another thing that fits in with that, being authentic and speaking out for yourself is actually being assertive. And assertiveness is actually about expressing your needs, your wants and your boundaries and what you find, okay, and what you don’t find, okay, rather than just constantly people pleasing, being nice and fitting in with everybody, it leads to a miserable life. So another principle that he highlights is that if you fall into these categories of a person who finds yourself being a victim or constantly fitting in, that you need to look around your social circle and evaluate the relationships that you have and identify those that actually may be toxic or abusive.

In my nearly 40 years now, working as a psychotherapist and a hypnotherapist and a coach and family mediator, I’ve come to see that a lot of people who are in abusive relationships actually don’t know that they’re in an abusive relationship. They don’t know that they’re being abused because they’ve just got so used to fitting in with things they might not be happy. And in fact, they may be very unhappy going around with the feeling of, well, my life’s not my own. My partner’s constantly telling me what to do, what not to do, when to do it, how to do it, how long to take about doing it, and all of that. But they may have normalised that from the culture that they grew up in, and they may be hardwired with, well, that’s just how life is. So what Wayne Di is saying here in this book is evaluate your relationships and just note how you do feel in the light of these principles.

And in fact, start to seek out relationships that don’t bring negativity to you that are supportive, uplifting, and mutually beneficial. So there is something about detoxifying your social circle. And as always, I always encourage you to journal. So I, I’m read Champion Journaler. It’s great to make notes of these things and to gradually, this is about rewiring yourself out of a victim mentality and into a more empowered mindset. So he talks too about out self-worth and the need to build self-worth and how that begins with self-acceptance. Well, if you don’t actually know yourself and you’ve never taken the time to get to know yourself and know what it is that you want, what it is that you need, and give yourself permission to want what you want and need what you need, and even express that and ask for it. So then you start to gradually begin to accept that it’s okay for me to be me.

Hence that’s why I’ve called this series Free to Be Me. It’s very liberating when you discover how it is being used. So having an empowered mindset by practicing optimism and gratitude and start taking the strap line is how to take control of your life. It’s great. It’s great taking control of your life. It’s very liberating. So in your social circle, those people whose communication with you is along the lines of criticising you, telling you where you don’t get things right, where you get things wrong, you are, they’re accusatory, they’re critical, and they’re authoritarian and controlling and parental those people you can do without them. And you need to start recognising them. And you start to cultivate relationships with people who are supportive and encouraging and who help you to build a good sense of self-worth, and that it’s okay for you to feel good about yourself and to even sometimes recognise some of the things that you’re good at, and that it’s okay for you to express that. So you see it’s gradually implementing these principles and making changes in your life, but actually inside and outside. So another principle that he talks about is freedom from manipulation victims and having your strings pulled.

I’ve come across another version of the book with actually a puppet with strings. People who are in abusive relationships, maybe in very addictive relationships or narcissistic relationships. It is like you’re a puppet on strings and somebody else is actually pulling the strings. It’s a good metaphor, and you’re constantly being manipulated. And so he starts to flag up to you the kind of tactics that are used in those kind of relationships. If you’re young as I was, and you’re a bit ignorant, or you’ve been in a culture where that was a usual treatment, particularly of women by men who were not respectful, you didn’t actually know what was manipulative. There’s a naivety about it, but it’s very immature. And there comes a time in life when you just have to grow up because otherwise you finish up being an adult child. You’re an adult, but you’re still psychologically operating as a child.

And actually that’s not very helpful if you have children and you’re operating that way because there’s a whole lot of blind spots that you have in relation to your children. They need a grownup, they need a grownup parent. And I have to confess, I was not a very grownup parent in the early years of my children. So you do have to cultivate a more positive and empowered mindset by becoming wise to manipulative tactics like guilt tripping and gaslighting, those kind of abusive relationships. I was green as the grass when I was a young woman, absolutely green. I think it’s quite shocking now when I look back and consider how green and naive that I was. But anyway, these kind of books, they are old, but very, very good and very comprehensive, and these are the giants that other people have stood on since then.

Finally, the other main thing that he talks about is the whole empowerment through the shift in your mindset. And I guess that’s what I’m wanting to convey to you all. If you are wanting to break out, just be free to be. You need an absolute shift in mindset, but it is very liberating and you do have to make a start, and there are no quick jumps into it. You actually need to study this to learn this, to take it on board. And I personally find it helpful to journal, to write it down, to reflect on where I was and I could roll my eyes, but I was very naive how long it took me to gradually change. But I’m going to share some other books that I personally find very helpful on my journey.

So I’m going to leave you with that. If this has been helpful for you, please do subscribe. If you want to be kept in the loop with the other books that I’m going to share with you and click like and sign up, you’ll find a link to sign up to my email list because I’ll be doing some live Zoom sessions for those who want to join me in the live sessions. So if you pop your email on my mailing list, I’ll be in touch with you. So I hope you find that helpful and bye.