N ATA N I E L B R A N D O N ’ S

36-Week Sentence Completion
Program

MASTERING SELF-ESTEEM
a guide to living consciously

and personal effectiveness. When doing sentence completion this way. and to keep adding different endings—the sole requirement being that each ending be a grammatical completion of the sentence. collaterally.” inventing if you get stuck. no pauses to “think. more potentials than typically show up in our behavior. Sentence completion work can be utilized for many different purposes. Our purpose here. just keep going. . a sentence stem. specifically.course instructions Sentence-completion work is a deceptively simple yet uniquely powerful tool for raising self-understanding. Any ending is fine. without worrying if any particular ending is true. You should work as rapidly as possible. is to write an incomplete sentence. to improve over-all effectiveness at work and in relationships. as we will use it here. one works with a notebook or computer. Sentence completion is a tool for accessing and activating these “hidden resources. self-esteem. is to build self-esteem—and. or significant.” The essence of the procedure. reasonable. It rests on the premise that all of us have more knowledge than we normally are aware of—more wisdom than we use.

Do this exercise every day. and merely notice any differences in how you feel or how you operate. go about your day’s activities. the ideal is to empty your mind of any expectations concerning what will happen or what is “supposed” to happen. In doing this work. Naturally there will be many repetitions. Do not read what you wrote the day before. But also. or make sense. always before the start of the day’s business. new endings will inevitably occur.” Write anything. but do not allow yourself to stop with the thought that you cannot do this exercise. proceed with your day’s business. or are “profound. and then write a minimum of six endings for this stem: • If any of what I wrote this week is true. Do not impose any demands on the situation. © 2010 Dr. as rapidly as possible. calculating) too much. it might be helpful if I … Continue this practice throughout the entire program. but write something. before proceeding to the day’s business. on the weekend. sit down and write the following stem: • If I bring more awareness to my life today … Then. without pausing for reflection. If it takes much longer. Monday through Friday for the first week. Try to empty your mind of expectations. go on to the next stem: • If I take more responsibility for my choices and actions today … Then: • If I pay more attention to how I deal with people today … Then: • If I boost my energy level by five percent today … When you are finished. Sometime each weekend. Do the exercise. Remember: Your endings must be a grammatical completion of the sentence—and if you mind goes absolutely empty invent an ending. An average session should not take longer than ten minutes. Do not worry if your endings are literally true. you are “thinking” (rehearsing.Week 1 First thing in the morning. Then. reread what you have written for the week. write as many endings for that sentence as you can in two or three minutes (never less than six and ten is enough). Nathaniel Branden .

Nathaniel Branden .Week 2 • If I bring five percent more awareness to my important relationships … • If I bring five percent more awareness to my insecurities … • If I bring five percent more awareness to my deepest needs and wants … • If I bring five percent more awareness to my emotions … Week 3 • If I treat listening as a creative act … • If I notice how people are affected by the quality of my listening … • If I bring more awareness to my dealings with people today … • If I commit to dealing with people fairly and benevolently … Week 4 • If I bring a higher level of self-esteem to my activities today … • If I bring a higher level of self-esteem to my dealings with people today … • If I am five percent more self-accepting today … • If I am self-accepting even when I make mistakes … • If I am self-accepting even when I feel confused and overwhelmed … Week 5 • If I am more accepting of my body … • If I deny and disown my body … • When I deny or disown my conflicts … • If I am more accepting of all the parts of me … © 2010 Dr.

Week 6 • If I wanted to raise my self-esteem today. Nathaniel Branden . I could … • If I am more accepting of my feelings … • When I deny and disown my feelings … • If I am more accepting of my thoughts … • When I deny and disown my thoughts … Week 7 • If I am more accepting of my fears … • When I deny and disown my fears … • If I were more accepting of my pain … • When I deny and disown my pain … Week 8 • If I am more accepting of my anger … • When I deny and disown my anger … • If I am more accepting of my sexuality … • When I deny and disown my sexuality … Week 9 • If I am more accepting of my excitement … • When I deny and disown my excitement … • If I am more accepting of my intelligence … • If I deny and disown my intelligence … © 2010 Dr.

Nathaniel Branden .Week 10 • If I am more accepting of my joy … • If I deny and disown my joy … • If I bring more awareness to all the parts of me … • As I learn to accept all of who I am … Week 11 • Self-responsibility to me means … • If I take five percent more responsibility for my life and well-being … • When I avoid responsibility for my life and well-being … • If I take five percent more responsibility for the attainment of my goals … • If I avoid responsibility for the attainment of my goals— Week 12 • If I take five percent more responsibility for the success of my relationships … • Sometimes I keep myself passive when I … • Sometimes I make myself helpless when I … • I am becoming aware … Week 13 • If I take five percent more responsibility for my standard of living … • If I take five percent more responsibility for my choice of companions … • If I take five percent more responsibility for my personal happiness … • If I take five percent more responsibility for the level of my self-esteem … © 2010 Dr.

Nathaniel Branden .Week 14 • Self-assertiveness to me means … • If I lived five percent more assertively today … • If I treat my thoughts and feelings with respect today … • If I treat my wants with respect today … Week 15 • If (when I was young) someone had told me my wants really mattered … • If (when I was young) I had been taught to honor my own life … • If I treat my life as unimportant … • If I were willing to say yes when I want to say yes and no when I want to say no … • If I were willing to let people hear the music inside me … • If I were to express five percent more of who I am … Week 16 • Living purposefully to me means … • If I bring five percent more purposefulness into my life … • If I operate five percent more purposefully at work … • If I operate five percent more purposefully in my relationships … • If I operate five percent more purposefully in marriage … Week 17 • If I operate five percent more purposefully with my children … • If I were five percent more purposeful about my deepest yearnings … • If I take more responsibility for fulfilling my wants … • If I make my happiness a conscious goal … © 2010 Dr.

please consult my book How To Raise Your Self Esteem © 2010 Dr. difficult … • If I bring five percent more integrity into my life … • If I bring five percent more integrity to my work … Week 19 • If I bring five percent more integrity to my relationships … • If I remain loyal to the values I believe are right … • If I refuse to live by values I do not respect … • If I treat my self-respect as a high priority … Week 20 • If the child in me could speak. he/she would say … • If the teenager I once was still exists inside of me … • If my teen-age-self could speak he/she would say … • At the thought of reaching back to help my child-self … • At the thought of reaching back to help my teen-age-self … • If I could make friends with my younger-selves … Note: For a more detailed discussion of how to work with integrating your younger-selves.Week 18 • Integrity to me means … • If I look at instances where I find full integrity. Nathaniel Branden .

Nathaniel Branden .Week 21 • If my child-self felt accepted by me … • If my teen-age-self felt I was on his/her side … • If my younger-selves felt I had compassion for their struggles … • If I could hold my child-self in my arms … • If I could hold my teen-age-self in my arms … • If I had the courage and compassion to embrace and love my younger-selves … Week 22 • Sometimes my child-self feels rejected by me when I … • Sometimes my teen-age-self feels rejected by me when I … • One of the things my child-self needs from me and rarely gets is … • One of the things my teen-age self needs from me and hasn’t gotten is … • One of the ways my child-self gets back at me for rejecting him/her is … • One of the ways my teen-age-self gets back at me for rejecting him/her is … Week 23 • At the thought of giving my child-self what he/she needs from me … • At the thought of giving my teen-age-self what he/she needs from me … • If my child-self and I were to fall in love … • If my teen-age-self and I were to fall in love … © 2010 Dr.

Nathaniel Branden .Week 24 • If I accept that my child-self may need time to learn to trust me … • If I accept that my teen-age-self may need time to learn to trust me … • As I come to understand that my child-self and my teen-age-self are both part of me … • I am becoming aware … Week 25 • Sometimes when I am afraid I … • Sometimes when I am hurt I … • Sometimes when I am angry I … • An effective way to handle fear might be to … • An effective way to handle hurt might be to … • An effective way to handle anger might be to … Week 26 • Sometimes when I am excited I … • Sometimes when I am turned on sexually I … • Sometimes when I experience strong feelings I … • If I make friends with my excitement … • If I make friends with my sexuality … • As I grow more comfortable with the full range of my emotions … © 2010 Dr.

Nathaniel Branden . psychologically … • At the thought of belonging fully to myself … • If my life really does belong to me … • If I really am capable of independent survival … © 2010 Dr.Week 27 • When I think about becoming better friends with my child-self … • When I think about becoming better friends with my teen-age self … • As my younger-selves become more comfortable with me … • As I create a safe space for my child-self … • As I create a safe space for my teen-age-self … Week 28 • Mother gave me a view of myself as … • Father gave me a view of myself as … • Mother speaks through my voice when I tell myself … • Father speaks through my voice when I tell myself … Week 29 • If I bring five percent more awareness to my relationship with my mother … • If I bring five percent more awareness to my relationship with my father … • If I look at my mother and father realistically … • When I reflect on the level of awareness I bring to my relationship to my mother … • When I reflect on the level of awareness I bring to my relationship with father … Week 30 • At the thought of being free of mother. psychologically … • At the thought of being free of father.

always with new results. If you have found it helpful. It will be a new experience for you.Week 31 • If I bring five percent more awareness to my life … • If I am five percent more self-accepting … • If I bring five percent more self-responsibility to my life … • If I operate five percent more self-assertively … • If I live my life five percent more purposefully … • If I bring five percent more integrity to my life … • If I breathe deeply and allow myself to experience what self-esteem feels like … Let us imagine that you have now completed this thirty-one week program—once. Nathaniel Branden . do it again. always with growth in self-esteem Week 32 • As I grow in self awareness … • As I acknowledge my thoughts and feelings without judging them … • As I grow in self-acceptance … • As I grow in independence … Week 33 • If I refuse to surrender to despair … • As I learn to accept all the parts of me … • As I refuse to surrender to undeserved guilt … • As I learn to take pride in being honest … • As I learn to take responsibility for my choices and actions … • As I learn to be more self accepting … © 2010 Dr. Some of my clients go through this program three or four times.

Week 34 • As I learn to have the courage to treat myself with respect … • As I learn to live more purposely … • As I bring more integrity into my life … • As I learn to be more of the person I want to be … Week 35 • Right now it seems clear that … • If I fully understand what I am writing … • I am becoming increasingly aware that … • If it turns out that there is nothing wrong with me and never was … Week 36 • As I learn to act more consciously … • As I learn to see what I see and know what I know … • As I learn to admit my mistakes and then learn from them … • As I learn that this is the beginning. not the end … © 2010 Dr. Nathaniel Branden .

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