The Two Most Powerful Self-endorsement Strens
Dear World Peace Leader,
This is letter 7 of the mini-course on How to Become a Powerful Force for World Peace and a Mental Wealth Millionaire. You will learn how to apply the two most important self-endorsement strens, what I call Emotional self-endorsement and Secondary endorsement. Skill in self-endorsement is among the most important of all the skills we require to survive and thrive in today’s world. But first, I want to show you why self-endorsement is essential to create the wonderful benefits we desire. You will be eager to add these two most powerful of all self-endorsement strens to your collection when you understand their benefits.
Here is the simple explanation why self-endorsement skills are essential for our well-being. Emotion usually trumps intellect. Instinct and tradition link their preferred problem-solving action pathways to the older part of our brain where emotion resides. We create common sense solutions to today’s problems by applying new knowledge and wisdom, using the matured intelligent cerebral cortex portion of our brain, our “freedom organ.” Self-endorsement is our freedom organ’s powerful means to add sufficient emotion to intelligence to override the established action pathways of instinct and tradition. Now consider the beneficial power of self-endorsement, which is the opposite of our more common habit of engaging in self-putdowns.
Skill in self-endorsement:
- frees us from dependence on instinct, tradition and human dictators to assume personal responsibility for who we are and what we choose to become.
- is the antidote for blaming others and blaming our self, what we call “guilt.”
- is the necessary prerequisite for love and forgiveness
- is the source of the patience necessary to attain important long term goals.
- is our means to rehearse, plan, and create prevention instead of impulsive harmful aggression that thereafter requires a “cure.
- provides the bonus of making our self our own lifelong best friend and traveling companion!
1. MENTAL FREEDOM: Skill in self-endorsement frees us from dependence on instinct, tradition and human dictators to assume personal responsibility for who we are and what we choose to become.
Fate and circumstance hardwire all life to serve instinct and tradition. Like parrots, we uncritically mimic whatever instinct and tradition would make of us. For good and ill, we are owned by instinct, tradition, and thereafter human dictators. We free ourselves to become our own person to the degree we teach ourselves sufficient self-endorsement skills. Only humankind is gifted sufficient intelligence to collect, store, share, and pass knowledge forward to become our own person. We alone may acquire sufficient self-mastery to resist both nature and nurture.
We are distinguished from other life by our mission to become civilized, humane individuals. We make ourselves powerful creators of who we are and what we choose to become. Our work-in-progress is to update established action pathways by applying common sense wisdom to current knowledge. Instinct and tradition do not easily yield. They are indelibly linked to the older portion of our brain where emotion resides; thereafter our nurturers inscribe through habit their traditions to automatically and effortlessly respond to life’s issues.
Intelligent problem-solving of itself is no match for instinct, tradition, and human dictators. Emotion must be linked to intelligence! As our cerebral cortex, the last portion of our human brain to physically and mentally mature, acquires sophisticated language and applies common sense wisdom to knowledge, we make ourselves powerful creators. The ability to add meaning to symbols is among the marvelous powers of intelligence. Meaning incites emotion. Emotion attached to intellect empowers our will to switch our prewired action pathways to paths and outcomes we ourselves determine. Historically and individually, humankind’s mission and work-in-progress is to acquire knowledge and apply our growing power of interpretation to increase our creative power. Self-endorsementis our means to add sufficient emotion to intelligence to become Chief Executive Officer of our Board of Directors. Self-endorsement is always within our control!
2. COMMON SENSE WISDOM: Skill in self-endorsement is the antidote for blaming others and blaming our self, what we call guilt. “Curing” blame allows us to switch to a newer way of thinking by applying common sense wisdom to knowledge.
Blaming others, leading to harmful aggression, is our most primitive and prevalent automatic response to frustration. If “others” are the source of what good we experience, whatever frustration we experience must also be attributed to those responsible for our well-being. When we experience injustice, whether real or imagined, our immediate tendency is to strike out, to engage in some form of harmful aggression. This is today’s expression of our established “fight or flight” survival behavior. During our decades of dependency, blaming becomes habit through repetition. Habit passed on through generations becomes tradition.
Blaming others is indicative of immaturity. Blamingis a common ingredient of self-serving dictators who remain stuck in the immature belief that someone or something other than themselves is the source of their distress and must be punished. The greatest instances of today’s problems, both global and local, are the outcome of our innate and early acquired blaming pattern.
A common tradition of our society is to divert harmful aggression to others by redirecting anger inward, to our self. The blaming-in process is called “guilt.” Guilt is a unique human quality we learn from expert teachers. Blaming others and blaming our self rarely lead to constructive outcomes, and usually results in resentment, self-putdowns, chronic tension and stress disease, depression, apathy, and a host other maladies. When the mental expressions of aggression fail to satisfy, we are prone to revert to the more primitive physical outcome of blaming - harmful confrontation.
Self-endorsement is the antidote for our unproductive blaming action pathways. Self-endorsement provides the immediate emotional satisfaction that allows us to delay our impulse to strike out; it is the immediate reward that allows us to pursue common sense solutions. Self-endorsement is our opportunity to make a quantum leap towards self-mastery. Self-endorsement skills are our means to redirect our blaming energy and assume responsibility for making our life’s experience joyous and meaningful. Our skill in self-endorsement also serves as a marvelous role model to our loved ones.
3. LOVE AND FORGIVENESS: Skill in self-endorsement is the necessary prerequisite for love and forgiveness.
Love is the gifting of something of value we create for others or our self. Observation and experience both indicate that loving is one of the most satisfying of all life’s experiences. We are all born “takers”; the ability to love unconditionally is an acquired skill indicative of maturity. Loving others begins with the ability to lovingly endorse our self. It is said, “You can’t give away what you don’t own.” Our philosophers and great religions universally value the common sense wisdom, “Love others as you love yourself.” Genuine love doesn’t depend on the recipient’s response. Self-endorsement satisfies our need for immediate reward; it frees us from the instinctive need to “give to get.” Immature individuals commonly offer love, and experience frustration and anger when their expectation that love should be adequately returned is not met. We make our loving action complete in itself by self-endorsement. We create our own reward for the worthy act of giving. With maturity, we welcome love when it is returned, but understand that it is a bonus, not to be demanded as a requirement!
Forgiveness is a form of love in that we are giving up our animosity towards another or our self and opening ourselves to the possibility for a loving relationship. We hold forgiveness to be among the most important among all the humane qualities to which we aspire. Resentment to a perceived injustice is a powerful negative emotion that saps our energy and commonly leads to harmful aggression. “Forgive them, they know not what they do” is among the most powerful expressions of love ever spoken.
4. PATIENCE: Skill in self-endorsement is the source of patience to attain important long term goals.
The complex skills that require work today to reap greater benefits in the future require patience. Every newborn expresses the motto “I want what I want when I want it.” Our work-in-progress is transforming ourselves from a demanding, self-centered crybaby into a powerful and wise creator. Patience is required toacquire knowledge, mentally imagine alternative action pathways, wisely select from the alternatives, and then devise and implement a plan to reach our preferred destination. Patience is a voluntary common sense decision to forgo immediate reward or tolerate stress because we understand that doing so will bring us greater lasting future benefits. Resignation on the other hand implies passively submitting to an authority other than our own. For example instinct and tradition demand that we automatically follow their directions even when they are not supported by common sense.
The means by which we create patience is self-endorsement. Most individuals have yet to recognize this critical knowledge. Self-endorsement provides the immediate reward to satisfy instinct’s demand for instant gratification. Emotion will continue to rule intellect until we equip common sense thinking with the self-endorsement skills that immediately reward patience. How often have you intellectually understood what is in your best long term interest but still took action to satisfy or relieve the tension of the moment? Can you think of examples involving food or anger where you gave in to emotions and later regretted your actions? “Short term gain, long term pain” is a hardwired behavior pattern that we can overcome with the immediate emotional satisfaction we ourselves create through self-endorsement.
Here is why acquiring patience is among the most necessary strens. The immature mind divides the world into two either/or opposing entities that incite confrontation to establish dominance. Patience is critical to claim our will power and elevate ourselves to the limits of our imagination. It enables us to teach ourselves the both...andnewer way of thinking that perceives our similarities and the benefits of collaboration. Without patience, we will continue to be dominated by instinct, tradition, and/or human dictators whose self-serving interests will perpetuate the continued use of every weapon we create. No matter how much we increase our creative power through new knowledge, our thinking remains servant to instinct and tradition until we teach ourselves to sufficiently reward patience with emotional self-endorsement.
5. PREVENTION: Skill in self-endorsement is our means to rehearse, plan, and create prevention instead of impulsive harmful aggression where damage must be repaired.
Don’t overlook prevention, a critical benefit of self-endorsement. Self-endorsement is our means to delaying impulsive action. We require time to create original common sense problem-solving solutions, mentally rehearse their long-term consequences, and then choose from the wisest alternatives. Too often, our instinctive bias to obtain immediate gratification burdens us; we are required to “cure” the longer term damage that so often follows impulsive prewired action pathways. Mental freedom from instinct, tradition, and human dictators is the process of emotionally rewarding our self so we may apply universal logic and wisdom instead of mindless blind obedience to authority.
6. BONUS: Skill in self-endorsement provides the bonus of making us our own best friend and livelong traveling companion! Self-endorsement, once learned, is always within our control!
WOW! Freedom from dictators to attain self-mastery, replacing blaming with common sense problem solving, love and forgiveness, patience, and prevention are all outcomes of self-endorsement. Each has such importance that they will be revisited throughout the 100+ strens that can be found on our Internet site, www.anwot.org. I hope this brief introduction has sufficiently motivated you to enthusiastically learn and practice the two powerful self-endorsement strens coming up next: Emotional self-endorsement and Secondary endorsement.
How often have you known what the wisest and best course of action was, but instead did what felt better at that moment? Understanding simply isn’t enough! Good feelings stir us to continued action. Immediate satisfaction is critical to sustain the work and practice required to attain the natural rewards of every important skill: getting an education, sustaining a relationship, keeping physically fit, playing a musical instrument, growing a garden, and growing our capacity for loving our self and others.
Emotional self-endorsement is our main source of immediate satisfaction which allows us to enjoy the work we do now in order to attain more satisfaction later. Knowing we are doing something worthwhile is intellectual endorsement; its satisfaction is usually weaker than emotional joy. Joining emotional self-endorsement to common sense intellect provides the most effective incentive to continue our efforts.
Few people know how to emotionally endorse themselves. Sadly, it is one of our greatest secrets. We get little training in this skill. You know how to say to yourself, “I did a good job,” or, “That was nice,” but after you say those things you go right on to the next worry or problem to be solved. You don’t extract all the honey you can from your efforts. Yet you are probably more than well-developed in the opposite of emotional self-endorsement, self-blame. When you became intellectually aware of a shortcoming, you experienced guilt, shame, or embarrassment in every fiber of your being. Most people are so practiced at blaming-in that the negative feelings come automatically, seemingly without effort or intention. Could you imagine that you can teach yourself to create “feeling good” with the same ease that you “naturally” feel guilty, embarrassed, ashamed or depressed? You can! ... if you become aware of how to endorse yourself emotionally and practice it.
Since you know how to emotionally blame yourself, you already have the skills for emotional self-endorsement. The problem is that you direct your emotional endorsement to others. Think of the times you’ve expressed yourself in such a way as to stimulate a response from your [a] dog -- you know how to get that dog to wag its tail, shake its behind, and get thoroughly excited. You’ve probably called forth great enthusiasm in doing the same kind of thing with a child. You’ve even emotionally endorsed food. “Wow! Look at that fantastic, gooey ice cream creation!” Recall the enthusiasm with which you’ve applauded a great musical performance or cheered for your team at a sports event. You just haven’t had much direction and experience in emotional self-endorsement, in “wowing” yourself. The skill is there. It simply needs to be directed to yourself.
Most individuals are familiar with directing emotional guilt to their selves, but unfortunately they were taught that it’s “selfish” to emotionally wow their selves. I have observed that the common tradition of most nurturers is to teach virtually every useful skill except those having to do with self-endorsement. We are taught a language, a religion, a political ideology, to whom and what we are to owe our allegiance, how to take care of our body, even what to think. Emotional self-endorsement skills are not only not taught, we are taught not to do so. One person recalled the specific admonition from his mother, “Saying nice things about your self is bragging, egotistical! Praise only counts only if it comes from others.” This is one reason so many individuals go through life as “love junkies,” addicted to others’ approval, dependent on what we imagine others might be thinking. They become deeply distressed whenever a “fix” is not forthcoming.
When you do something worthwhile (i.e., your “reasonable best,” which is virtually always in your control!), imagine a gala brass band marching down Main Street. Two people are carrying a banner that stretches across the whole street, streamers are being tossed about, and people are cheering you from their windows. There you are, smack in the middle of the parade, smiling proudly and waving, “Yep, I did it all right. It was me.” Such a self-endorsement tool in your repertoire is much more likely to call forth your emotions than an intellectual, flat, “That was O.K.” Use this image and/or create your own as a regular self-endorsement tool.
Some people can use or develop their existing creative imagery and fantasy to initiate enthusiasm. Others find it easier to call forth feelings of joy, inspiration, and enthusiasm from prior experiences. Make a mental scrapbook of times you’ve felt loved, got a pat on the shoulder, experienced joy, happiness, or enthusiasm. Permit yourself to call these “snapshots” forth to re-create similar good feelings. Combine past experience with the present creative imagery to develop the results you want.
Experiment by creating your own skills in emotional self-endorsement. Try it when you wake up in the morning. What do you say to yourself when you first look in the mirror? “What a hot sketch I am!” Or do you say something else? If you are like most people who are practiced in the art of emotionally self-blaming, but are weak in emotionally endorsing yourself, apply your conscious awareness to nurture self-endorsement. Your efforts will be amply rewarded. Practice! Practice! Practice!
Would you like to acquire the skill of creating good feelings as an effortless habit? You can. Combine emotional self-endorsement with skill in secondary endorsement. Secondary endorsement is endorsing yourself each time you engage in the very, very worthy act of endorsing yourself!
If you’re like most individuals, you have either been discouraged from emotionally endorsing yourself or never received effective education in this powerful skill. Your first experiences with generating emotional self-endorsement will be a bit like forging a path through the jungle. Unless regularly cultivated, the new path will soon be overgrown, until not even a trace of the hard-to-cut path remains. The long-established negligence toward your emotional needs and self put-downs re-appear and they will predictably soon overpower the new.
When you endorse yourself, you are engaging in one of the most constructive acts available to you. Self-endorsement inspires immediate encouragement for constructive acts whose natural rewards may not come until far in the future. Self-endorsement is the secret of creating patience – a required ingredient for all sophisticated skills. Therefore, give yourself credit each time you endorse yourself.
“Hurrah! Congratulations to me for endorsing myself. That’s worthy of a special bonus. I deserve to endorse myself for endorsing myself.”
Here is one of the most common observations: “Behavior that is rewarded is repeated.” Since self-endorsement is one of the most constructive means to build your mental strength, regularly practice secondary endorsement until it becomes automatic and effortless. You will be pleasantly surprised to discover secondary endorsement will rapidly build mental muscles that you will be proud to own.
Secondary endorsement is the opposite of secondary blaming. Secondary blaming is blaming yourself when you realize you’re continuing to put yourself down. It’s putting yourself down because you tell yourself that you are still putting yourself down and you “shouldn’t do that!” Once you recognize this tendency of, as one person described, “shoulding” on yourself, self-putdowns will become apparent like a blinking light bulb. By now, you may be wise enough to label instances of blaming-in. You are working to stop putting yourself down when you make an error, when you “do what you shouldn’t,” or “don’t do what you should have.” But since you, like most people, are a creature of habit, it will be only a matter of time before you recognize you are still blaming yourself. Many say, “I’m so stupid; I should have learned that by now!” Secondary blaming is far more persistent than secondary endorsement. This is because most of us get more training in putdowns than pull-ups. “Pull-ups,” i.e. self-endorsements, serve you better than putdowns.
Here’s a bonus tip re secondary blaming. When you recognize you are engaged in blaming or any variety of negative thinking, instead of the usual put-downs because you’re still putting yourself down, remind yourself that the very act of recognizing your negative self-talk is worthy of a self-endorsement. Instead of pulling yourself down with each act of blaming-in, endorse yourself for the important act of recognizing your negative thinking. Then add a secondary endorsement to reinforce your new behavior. When you endorse yourself for endorsing yourself, you pull yourself up and keep yourself up.
As soon as you recognize that you’re endorsing yourself, enthusiastically call forth images such as blinking lights, musical accolades, and cheers as your signal to trigger the secondary endorsement you deserve for endorsing yourself. This reinforcement can escalate the intensity of the immediate pleasure you experience and create the energy you need to overcome your old, established, negative patterns. Once blaming, avoidance, worry, and helplessness/hopelessness action pathways are established within you, they cling tenaciously until you substitute the positive pattern of self-endorsement.
Practice: Endorse yourself again each time you catch yourself endorsing yourself.
Emotional self-endorsement and secondary endorsement are only two of many ways we sustain our self-esteem. Each self-endorsement skill serves as a new word-switch that strengthens our will power as it frees us from dictators. This is why I have included many easily self-taught endorsement skills on our web site www.anwot.org. I urge you to continue to seek additional skills from the many resources available.
Thank you for participating in the Educational Community mini-course, How to Become a Powerful Force for World Peace and a Mental Wealth Millionaire. To whatever degree the mini-course unleashes your passion for world peace and makes your life’s experience more wonderful, our mission has succeeded. Our next and last letter is a Call to Action. It asks what we as concerned individuals can accomplish when sufficient numbers join our insight and passion to make our world a safer, gentler place. Add your solutions to ours, take action, and make your life remarkable!