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Most of us have read a book that made us see the world differently.
Amongst the ones that made me change a lot of my views are many of Nathaniel Branden’s books, especially Six Pillars of Self-Esteem, The Art of Living Consciously, and The Psychology of Romantic Love.
Healing is a long road, but it all starts with awareness. Without being aware of the fact that growth and change are necessary, you can read as many intelligent books as you want, but things are simply going to stay the same.
The following quotes are my favorite Nathaniel Branden quotes—the ones that made me realize, understand, and change a lot of things in my life:
1. “In the ultimate sense, I accept my aloneness. That is, I accept that no one is coming to make my life right, or save me, or redeem my childhood, or rescue me from the consequences of my choices and actions.”
If you don’t fully understand in the depth of your mind that you are alone, all of your attempts to heal are going to leave you broken. Alone doesn’t necessarily mean lonely, but alone in your mind, body, and soul. You alone are the only person that can make a change in your life.
So many of us think that a partner, more money, a better career, a child, or any other external influence is finally going to make us happy.
We have heard this so many times, but it cannot be repeated too often.
Happiness is within yourself! Find it!
2. “Romantic love is for grown-ups; it is not for children. It is not for children in a literal sense, and also in a psychological sense: not for those who, regardless of age, still experience themselves as children.”
Unfortunately, the age of a person is not always congruent with the maturity level we expect this person to have. We can meet adults whose maturity level is that of a child. Oftentimes, our maturity level stops evolving at the age we endure trauma. I am sure we all know people whose maturity level is nowhere close to their actual age.
It can be difficult and painful to accept that. We tend to believe that an adult would act mature, and struggle to accept the fact that sometimes age and maturity don’t match.
This quote above tells you what to do when you are dealing with immature people:
Leave them alone as they can only do the work themselves.
3. “If my aim is to prove ‘I am enough,’ the project goes on to infinity—because the battle was already lost on the day I conceded the issue was debatable.”
There really is not a lot to add. How many times do you see that “I am enough!” caption on social media? If you constantly have to remind yourself of the fact that you are enough, there is a part of you that doubts the fact that you actually are enough.
This is an issue. Work on that.
4. “Doing more of what doesn’t work, doesn’t work.”
Relationships, careers, addictions…whatever it is. If it doesn’t lead you anywhere, why continue doing it? Change is not easy, but it is inevitable when you are not happy. I was already in my 30s when I read these books, and I really hope I can save someone some brutally painful repetitions by looking into living more consciously a bit earlier than I did.
Instead of asking “why do I always meet…,” ask yourself “why do I always do…?” Identify patterns.
5. “Integrity means congruence. Words and behavior match.”
I wish everyone understood this because this is actually what frustrates me the most about today’s (dating) life and society in general. Words and behavior do not match. For some reason, it has become normal to say things and not mean them.
We shouldn’t say things that we don’t mean or do. It’s disrespectful.
6. “Be careful what you say to your children. They may agree with you.”
Words come out of our mouths so quickly but they cannot be taken back. Even when we don’t mean them, they are heard and felt, and can cause tremendous damage to our children. If I don’t like what people say to me, I have the power to walk away from them, but children are stuck with the parents/caregivers.
Watch what you say; your children don’t have a choice but to listen to you.
7. “It would be hard to name a more certain sign of poor self-esteem than the need to perceive some other group as inferior.”
Now, this one is for all the racists, homophobes, misogynists, etc. out there who are still trying to tell us they are superior. Read this out loud and repeat until you actually understand it.
I am neither a psychotherapist nor an expert, but there has to be a bigger issue than just a lack of self-esteem when it comes to those who suppress others because of something they don’t have any control over.
You can hate me because I did you wrong, but not because I am a woman (skin color, nationality, religion).
I didn’t choose to be me. But if I could have, I would have…
8. “Experiencing our feelings has direct healing power.”
How can we not experience our feelings, we might think.
Drugs, alcohol, sex…whatever it is we use to forget about our feelings or numb them and stay away from them in times of darkness. Otherwise, it is impossible to really know and understand one’s true self. It works. There is a reason feelings can be intense and there is also a reason we get addicted.
Numbing the pain doesn’t help.
9. “We tend to feel most comfortable, ‘most at home,’ with people whose self-esteem level resembles our own.”
It goes without saying that when you work on your self-esteem and your healing, you change—and you might outgrow some relationships. It is part of the journey; do not feel guilty for it.
Let the past be the past, and focus on your self-growth.
10. “The more I live consciously, the more I trust my mind and respect my worth; and if I trust my mind and respect my worth, it feels natural to live consciously.”
I used to be so unsure about so many things, had many regrets, and my mind was constantly busy overthinking situations that couldn’t be changed anymore or were outside my control. Once I became more self-aware, decisions became easier because I know what I wanted and I was sure about it. No matter what other people have to say, I will not become insecure again.
Knowing your truth—that is all you need.