Most of us left school a long time ago, (school can be a major source of negative strokes) and, if you had an unhappy childhood, hopefully that is behind you as well. The majority of people are not exposed to many negative strokes during the course of a week; although we all get some occasionally. However, some people are in a situation where they receive a high rate of negative strokes. These people receive more negative strokes in a day, than you or I receive in a month of normal life. They are obviously very unhappy people.
It is my experience that nearly all of these people fall into two categories:
1. Those still living at home with parents.
2. Those trapped in a bad marriage or relationship.
Of the two categories, number two represents by far the largest category of unhappy people.
There are many other smaller groups of people, (for example, people in the armed services who find themselves bullied), but these represent a small fraction of the total - nevertheless this rule applies to them also.
You must be involved intimately, on a day-to-day basis with other people, before you can suffer from an excess of negative strokes.
Bad marriages and relationships are PERFECT for this! They offer endless scope for two people to batter away at each other's Positive Self Image until they are reduced to zero. In practice, the Positive Self Image of either partner never quite reaches zero because a defensive wall is built up to prevent fatal damage. This wall eventually stops the partners from even talking to each other, it is an essential defence mechanism.
It is impossible to build up your Positive Self Image much above zero if you are trapped in one of these unhappy situations. It is like poking your head cautiously above a wall only to have it shot off!
Even the powerful techniques which I am giving you in this book will not be proof against a continual barrage of negative feelings and emotions - DON'T EVEN TRY THEM, you'll be wasting your time.
If, despite everything, you decide to remain in your unhappy situation, then fine. For your own reasons you will have chosen an unhappy, unfulfilling life for yourself and you will have turned your back on personal success; that is your choice, but there is no point in reading further, this book is not for you.
Most people who are in an unhappy relationship remain there for one of two reasons. Either they believe it is 'better' that way, or they simply cannot see a way out. In either case they are almost always mistaken. One unhappy person in a relationship quickly makes for two unhappy people; why should two people stay together and make each other unhappy? I have never been given a convincing reason. "The children," is the reason most often given, even though the unhappy relationship is making the children unhappy too!
Anyone who has been through the trauma of a divorce or split with children involved, knows afterwards that it is the best thing they ever did, even though it was intensely painful at the time.
I have restricted my comments to relationships, but the same rule applies if you find yourself in any situation where you are subjected to continual negative strokes - try your hardest to put it right, and if it still won't work, then get out.
If you ARE in an unhappy relationship, and have decided to get out but cannot see a way; then this book can definitely help you. When you have read the chapter on goal-setting, you will know how to set a date by which you will have removed yourself into happier circumstances. Once you have done this, you can start to improve your Positive Self Image level, but not before.
This book can also help you to improve your relationship with your intimate associates, by setting goals and visualising a more harmonious interaction.
As I said, this step probably will not apply to you, if that is the case then move straight on to: