Psychological Self-Help

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Old Myth
New Myth
Devoted mother or
Career woman or Superwoman
Super achiever
Smell the roses; get to know
your kids
Party animal
Likable serious student
(c) List the characteristics, actions, thoughts, and
feelings associated with each of these characters (which
reflect the myth). 
(d) In fantasy, play (with feeling) both roles and have
these two characters get acquainted with each other. Let
them discuss and understand the differences between
them (reflecting the differences between the two belief
systems). Try to improve the communication between
the two characters; they need to talk. Ask your Inner
Shaman to also help both characters find ways of
changing a harmful personal quality, e.g. self sacrifice,
competitiveness, impulsiveness, stubbornness, over-
confidence, anger, laziness, compulsiveness, pessimism,
insecurity, etc., into a constructive trait. These changes
help you integrate the old and the new myths. Finally,
have the two characters discuss possible compromises;
ask the Inner Shaman to mediate. Try to extract the
wisdom from both myths. 
(e) Imagine how the possible compromises and solutions
would work out in real life. What promises the best
future? Imagine carrying out the best solutions. You are
more likely to do what you have thought of doing. 
(f) Challenge your irrational self-statements (see
method #3 in chapter 14) and replace them with
rational, supportive statements. Establish some ritual
every day that reminds you to act out your new,
carefully considered myth. Use contracts, reinforcers,
and support from friends. 
The writers above all emphasize the influence of handed down
myths. McAdams (1993) emphasizes that we are powerful makers of
our own stories or guiding myths. Cultural myths aren't our guides, we
are! And, if we are going to understand ourselves, we must know our
own "life story" based on our memories, our situation, and our vision
of our future. The way we see our own life is a compelling force
directing our future. Yet, these forces may or may not be realistic nor
optimal for us. We need to be aware of these forces and prepared to
change the detrimental drives and restrictions if need be. 
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