Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out

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9780743509671: Self Matters: Creating Your Life from the Inside Out
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Your life has a root core that, once understood, unlocks a powerful force to create the life the way you want. Key questions and an amazingly clear "map" are now at your fingertips so you can "Live by Design."
In this groundbreaking work, Dr. Phil challenges you to find your "authentic self" -- that person you have always wanted to be, but were too distracted, busy, or scared to become. Instead, you have created a "fictional self" -- taking on the identity of who you believe you are supposed be. The incongruence between these two selves is what leads you to feel that your life is incomplete, unbalanced, and more difficult than it should be.
In Self Matters, Dr. Phil helps you to demystify your self-concept, and learn how to reclaim your authentic self. You can learn to think beyond the excuses and fears that have masked the person you want to be. By facing the cards life has dealt you, you can relearn how to best react to them.
Self Matters is one of the most forward-thinking works on self-concept and self-esteem ever published. We get only one chance in this world. Dr. Phil shows all how to make the most of it.

KEY ELEMENTS TO IDENTIFY AND BRING INTO ACTION ORIENTED FOCUS INCLUDE:

  • What are the ten most defining moments of your life?
  • What are the seven most critical choices you have made to put you on your current path?
  • Who are the five most pivotal people in your world and how have they shaped you?

"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.

About the Author:

"Dr. Phil" (Phillip C. McGraw, Ph.D.) is the host of America’s number-one daytime talk show and is perhaps the most well-known expert in the field of psychology and human functioning in the world today. In his 16th year on television and his 11th year of the Dr. Phil show, he has devoted his international platform to delivering common sense information to individuals and families seeking to improve their lives. Passionately pursuing such topics as family functioning, domestic violence, anti-bullying, addiction and the myths of mental illness, he works tirelessly both on and off the air. Dr. Phil has carried his message from the senate chambers of Washington, D.C. to the suburbs and inner cities across America. He and Robin, his wife of 38 years and counting, along with their "wonder dog," Maggie, reside in Southern California, as do his two sons, Jordan and Jay, along with daughter-in-law, Erica, and two grandchildren, Avery Elizabeth and London Phillip.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Chapter 1: What If...?

"Somehow we learn who we really are and then live with that decision." -- Eleanor Roosevelt

The sun beat down relentlessly on the young man standing in the barren parking lot. There was not a breath of air, and the black asphalt was sticky and melting as it gave way to the afternoon heat. It radiated up into his face like a blast furnace. He wouldn't be here, using a pay phone, except that he was out of town and this was one call that absolutely had to go through an operator.

Over the years he had placed collect calls back home many times, but this one was entirely different. This time, he instructed the operator to be sure to emphasize that the call was from "doctor," rather than "mister." How strange it sounded to hear her say "doctor" in front of his name when his father answered at the other end. It was "Dr. Son" calling "Dr. Dad," an achievement that had been so very long and hard in coming. Eleven years, to be exact. Three hundred hours of college credit, tens of thousands of pages read and studied, and hundreds and hundreds of all-nighters in preparation for nearly as many tests and exams. There had been miles and miles of long walks from the remote parking lots at the hospital, where students, interns, and residents were "dog meat." More recently, it had been month after month of enduring the inescapable, acrid smell of Thorazine-laced urine on the psychiatric wards of the VA hospital -- some might say warehouse -- where he had spent long days and longer nights "treating" (storing) the inpatients on those cold and desolate wards.

No less painfully, there had been the days, weeks, and months of dealing with a variety of insecure, "emotionally interesting" professors, many of them white-coated Napoleons who were all too eager to wield the power of their petty fiefdoms. Their torments had culminated in that unforgettable final year, when he had walked the halls at school and put in his time at the hospital, armed with a signed letter of resignation on his clipboard, daring just one more anal-retentive, power-hungry mentor-turned-tormentor to say so much as "boo" to him.

In spite of it all, and as surprised as anyone who knew him, here he stood. He remembered one of his favorite profs telling him he would never make it because he had an "attitude" and refused to "kiss ass." He was told, "You have too many options in your life to put up with this fiasco of dysfunction, you aren't near desperate enough to tolerate the abuse!" Yet here he was. One by one, the department heads had signed off on his final requirements, shaken his hand, and congratulated him on earning the highest degree in his profession. Doctor -- wow! He knew how proud his dad was going to be. This phone call would be a huge step closer to a father's dream come true: father and son, both doctors, practicing together, side by side!

Throughout the long ordeal, he had been powerfully influenced by his knowledge of his father's vision and dream. Theirs was a family of meager and simple beginnings. In fact, the young doctor and his father were the only ones from either side of the extended family ever to go to college, let alone earn doctoral degrees. Surely, then, this phone call was to be a proud moment indeed. The long journey was over. Victory was at hand, and parents and family were bursting with pride.

It was all cued up just right. Ready and waiting for him was a thriving practice, all set to explode with the energy and inspiration he would bring. That meant no more scrounging for money for him and his young wife. No more driving cars that were beyond old. No more living in apartments so small you had to go outside to turn around. Most importantly, the young doctor truly did care about helping people, and here was his chance to do just that. So there couldn't be anything wrong with any of this. Right?

Yet standing in that parking lot, mouthing the words of expected excitement -- even as he heard his father's voice breaking with unmistakable pride -- he looked over at his wife waiting in the car. There sat the only person in the entire world who knew him well enough to know that something was wrong. How could everything be so right, yet feel so wrong? He looked into her eyes. Without speaking a word, he knew that she knew.

But he would play the good soldier. He would shrug off the negative feelings and forge ahead. Soon he would be scrambling so fast that life would crowd out the nagging thoughts, and he would focus instead on meeting the expectations held by so many who loved him. He told himself it was probably just anxiety anyway, nothing a little hard work won't take care of. So with a healthy dose of dutiful self-righteousness, a work-your-butt-off commitment, and a naïveté that can only come from being young and stupid, he prepared to go to work. There were those doubts, and there was that vague uneasiness about the road he had started down. That nagging sense that something just wasn't quite right continued. But hey, he was going to make a lot of people really proud.

At the same time, he made a heartfelt promise to himself: I don't care how much money I get to making -- If I ever find myself doing this just for the money, if I am ever just going through the motions, I am out of here. I will turn on my heels and walk smooth away. I will never sell out and live without passion and fire just because it is secure, expected, or easy! I'm no one-trick pony. If I can succeed at this, I could succeed at a lot of things just as well, no problem.

Ten years later...

Ten years and thousands of patients later, the not-so-young, not-so-stupid, and not-nearly-so-naïve doctor and his wife step off of a client's private jet at a busy airport in the heart of a teeming, fast-paced city. It is a crisp and beautiful Sunday afternoon in October. His practice has exploded to perhaps the largest in the country. He has mastered his profession. Successful? Yes, certainly by any standard he knows of. A secure lifestyle? Without a doubt. Houses and cars? Only the best. Two great children, a wonderful marriage, and proud parents: he has it all.

So why doesn't it feel any more right than it did ten years ago, standing at the pay phone in that hot, deserted parking lot? His self-righteous declaration of ten years ago haunts him more and more. He has often wished he had never said it. There are those dreadful times when "the truth" runs faster than he can. It is particularly bad when he is really tired, or in those rare moments when he has allowed himself to become very still. He has hated those times, because it is then that his private reality mocks him: If I ever find myself doing this just for the money...if I am ever just going through the motions, I am out of here. I will never sell out. I will never live without passion and fire just because it is secure, expected, or easy....

The promise haunts him, because he knows that money and lifestyle have in fact "bought him," just as he swore they would not. Far from being vitally involved in his own life, he feels trapped by it. There is a part of him that remembers what it was like to have passion, hope, optimism, and energy. It is a part that has refused to succumb to and accept the roles assigned by an insensitive and sometimes hurtful world. It is a part of his concept of self that just wants to get in the game, the game he wants to play: a game that means something to him, whether it means anything to anyone else or not. It is a private, usually denied, part of himself that does not want to be controlled by what is expected. It is a part of him that knows what is genuine, yet it is a part that usually lives in silence.

The simple truth is that he is not living a life that he wants, or that he chose. He is living a life that pleases a lot of people, most of them well intended, but not him. He is doing what he does, simply because it is what his father did. He is even living in a place he did not consciously choose. In fact, it is the last place on earth he would have ever chosen. He has a life many would love, but his heart is not in it. It is not natural for him, so he has to do what he does by brute force: Everything is a chore. There is no passion; there is no excitement. He ignores his real dreams, but doing so is hard and getting harder. Being someone and something he is not is the hardest thing he has ever done.

Clearly, this is not some monumental tragedy. I mean, come on: "Poor baby has to work in a cushy office all day!" It is not the kind of cause célèbre that makes the evening news. Could he "get happy"? After all, his marriage and family are great. Could he be satisfied with that and just keep on keeping on? Yes. But it gets harder with every day that passes, days that have turned into weeks, months, and years. He sometimes hears a voice, his own voice, crying for relief, but he does not react. Sometimes it is just easier not to think about it. After all, does feeling right, does having passion really matter? Is he being just a ridiculous romantic to think that being "true to self" might be something more than just some high-handed philosophy? Shouldn't he be thankful for his many blessings, blessings that everyone else sure seems to hold in high regard?

He rationalizes that he really would make a change, give it all up and pursue something he truly has a passion for -- but he has "responsibilities." He has a wife and kids, for God's sake: How could he ask them to give up their friends, schools, and lives, just so he can chase some dream? He wonders if that is really what holds him back, or if he is just afraid. Maybe he really is just a one-trick pony. Maybe he isn't talented at all. Maybe he just got lucky and could never succeed at something different. He doesn't seem to know that confident part of himself as well as he used to. It's there, but the connection grows weak, the image that once was sharp and clear is becoming dim and fuzzy.

At the precise moment when he is wrestling with those very thoughts, his wife says, "Where were you just now? You have to tell me what you're thinking! Tell me where you go when you are lost in that hundred-yard stare." It's as though she is reading his mind. She says: "More and more each day, I feel like I'm losing a part of you. When it's just the two of us, or when we are alone with our boys, it's like the real you, the way you used to be before all of this we call our life. But as soon as the world creeps in, you glaze over. The phone rings, or something else breaks the spell, and you become totally different -- like a robotic machine."

For some reason, on this beautiful afternoon, driving across town with the top down and the cool autumn air breezing through the car, he decides once and for all to stop denying himself. He decides to give his feelings a voice and tell the truth: "Bottom line -- I'm going jack-ass batty in here. I hate to tell you this, but I think a huge part of my life absolutely sucks! I hate myself for getting in so deep that I feel like I can't get out. I hate my career. I hate where we are living. I hate what I am doing. I've hated it all since before the day I started it. I stood in that parking lot calling my dad on the phone ten years ago, knowing full well I didn't want to move to that godforsaken town and launch into that godforsaken career. I screwed up big time and now I'm stuck, trapped in a life I hate. I sold myself out and gave in to what everyone else wanted for me, not what I wanted. I have zero passion for what I am doing. I'm just going through the motions, and it is getting harder and harder every day. I should be excited about my life, but I am not, not even close. I'm cheating you and the boys because I'm not being me. I have one shot at this, one shot, and I'm choking, I'm blowing it. I'm now almost forty years old. I've wasted ten years of my life and I can't get them back no matter what I do. To even say that makes me sick to my stomach. I don't want to rock the boat, but I hate this deal, and if it were up to me I would shut this whole deal down, move away, and do something I want to do in a place where I want to do it. I'm sorry, but that's the truth. I feel like a fraud. I'm sorry to dump all of this on you, but you're asking and so I'm telling you. I'm running out of life energy here. I'm tired of being tired. I'm tired of not waking up excited in the morning. I'm tired of not being proud of what I do or who I am. It's no one's fault but my own, I've done it to myself because I didn't have the guts to stand up for myself. How dumb is that?"

I know every detail of this story, including what was said in that car, because I was in that car. The story, the "confession," is my own. I was the young man who stood in that parking lot in 1979, and it was me who drove out of Love Field in Dallas, Texas, with my wife, Robin, in 1989.

For those ten years, I lived a life of incongruency. The content of my life, the choices I had made, was incongruent with who I was and what I wanted. I was doing things I didn't have my heart in and was not doing the things I did have a passion for. On the one hand, I occupied a comfort zone where my life felt "safe," because it was as steady and predictable as the ticking of a clock. The problem was that everything I was doing was chosen to please other people by meeting their expectations while totally ignoring my own. I was miserable. If you had asked me, "Is this the kind of life you want?" "Is this the career you want?" "Are you fulfilling your purpose for being on this earth?" I would have had to answer, "No, not by a long shot." I knew I wasn't living the life I was meant to live. I knew there was something wrong with my life, but for those ten years, I avoided dealing with it because it just seemed easier to go along than to upset everyone. Instead of addressing the dull ache that I carried everywhere, instead of trying to root out what was bothering me, I chose to "keep on keeping on." Incredibly dumb, but it's the truth.

Like an enemy I knew as intimately as any friend, I came to know the nagging, constant emptiness of the incongruent life. I ignored my self and lived for people, purposes, and goals that weren't my own. I betrayed who I was and instead accepted a fictional substitute that was defined from the outside in. I betrayed myself, and mine was a life and an experience that was a fraud and a fiction.

So much of what I did -- while totally okay if it had been what I had a passion for -- was as unnatural for me as it would be for a dog trying to fly. There's nothing wrong with trying to fly, unless you happen to be a beagle instead of an eagle. I loved my family, but every other aspect of my life was, for me, a painful and forced ordeal because it didn't come from the heart. It wasn't something that sprang from who I really was. And in addition to the presence of negatives that came from being and doing that which was foreign to my authentic self, there was the glaring absence of positives. I wasn't having any fun or excitement. I wasn't doing what was meaningful for me. I wasn't doing what I was good at and therefore was not pursuing my mission in life, my purpose for being here. I never finished a day and said, "Wow! ...

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER AUDIO, United States, 2001. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Abridged. Language: English . Brand New. Your life has a root core that, once understood, unlocks a powerful force to create the life the way you want. Key questions and an amazingly clear map are now at your fingertips so you can Live by Design. In this groundbreaking work, Dr. Phil challenges you to find your authentic self -- that person you have always wanted to be, but were too distracted, busy, or scared to become. Instead, you have created a fictional self -- taking on the identity of who you believe you are supposed be. The incongruence between these two selves is what leads you to feel that your life is incomplete, unbalanced, and more difficult than it should be. In Self Matters, Dr. Phil helps you to demystify your self-concept, and learn how to reclaim your authentic self. You can learn to think beyond the excuses and fears that have masked the person you want to be. By facing the cards life has dealt you, you can relearn how to best react to them. Self Matters is one of the most forward-thinking works on self-concept and self-esteem ever published. We get only one chance in this world. Dr. Phil shows all how to make the most of it. KEY ELEMENTS TO IDENTIFY AND BRING INTO ACTION ORIENTED FOCUS INCLUDE: What are the ten most defining moments of your life? What are the seven most critical choices you have made to put you on your current path? Who are the five most pivotal people in your world and how have they shaped you?. Seller Inventory # AAS9780743509671

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Book Description SIMON SCHUSTER AUDIO, United States, 2001. CD-Audio. Condition: New. Abridged. Language: English . Brand New. Your life has a root core that, once understood, unlocks a powerful force to create the life the way you want. Key questions and an amazingly clear map are now at your fingertips so you can Live by Design. In this groundbreaking work, Dr. Phil challenges you to find your authentic self -- that person you have always wanted to be, but were too distracted, busy, or scared to become. Instead, you have created a fictional self -- taking on the identity of who you believe you are supposed be. The incongruence between these two selves is what leads you to feel that your life is incomplete, unbalanced, and more difficult than it should be. In Self Matters, Dr. Phil helps you to demystify your self-concept, and learn how to reclaim your authentic self. You can learn to think beyond the excuses and fears that have masked the person you want to be. By facing the cards life has dealt you, you can relearn how to best react to them. Self Matters is one of the most forward-thinking works on self-concept and self-esteem ever published. We get only one chance in this world. Dr. Phil shows all how to make the most of it. KEY ELEMENTS TO IDENTIFY AND BRING INTO ACTION ORIENTED FOCUS INCLUDE: What are the ten most defining moments of your life? What are the seven most critical choices you have made to put you on your current path? Who are the five most pivotal people in your world and how have they shaped you?. Seller Inventory # AAS9780743509671

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