How to Love Yourself Into Healing, But Not Become a Narcissist (Compilation)

Uploaded 7/12/2023, approx. 60 minute read

Good morning or evening, Shoshanim.

This is a how-to video. If you follow the instructions to the letter, you will win the lottery twice this year, you will get the hottest girls or guys depending on your sexual orientation and the job of your dreams.

I'm beginning to sound like a bad combination of Tony Robbins and Jordan Peterson. If I'm not seriously careful, I may end up being exceedingly popular and will have no one left to hide.

Okay, Nonsense aside, today we are going to discuss how to take back your life, how to own your life, how to feel comfortable in your life and how to become identified with your life. In other words, how to develop a core identity.

This is a very down-to-earth video, very little academics, high-falutin language which I adore and I will try to keep it as simple as possible.

My name is Sam Vaknin, I'm the author of Melignan Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited and I'm by far the most handsome professor of psychology on Earth.

Well, at least I'm a professor of psychology, forget the handsome part.

Okay, let's get to business.

First I would like to discuss relationships. Relationships are something quite important in life. They define you in many ways.

Some psychologists suggest that there is no such thing as the individual, that it's all relational, the intersection between you and other people.

There are three types of relationships and the first thing you should do is you should review your relationships.

Now everyone has relationships. Even if you are not in an intimate relationship, even if you are not married or you are not going steady, so to speak, you have numerous relationships with family, with friends, with neighbors, with colleagues, with bosses, with your authorities, etc. And you should analyze these relationships. You should distinguish between micro-relationships, real relationships and pseudo-relationships.

I will use the romantic example, the example of intimate relationships, but it applies to all the other realms and spheres of life.

In the intimate sphere, micro-relationships are casual or stranger sex and they include what we call today dating, modern dates. Modern dates are actually glorified hookups in today's world, in today's sad world. Micro-relationships rarely lead anywhere and they usually end in bed sex. Some of them develop into meaningful relationships or longer-term relationships, but it's a tiny minority.

You would do well to allocate your scarce resources in a way which will maximize your goals. If your goal is physical gratification and nothing else besides, then micro-relationships are for you.

But if you're looking for a bit more, and about 80% according to studies are looking for a bit more, starting at the age of 18, so if you're looking for a bit more, avoid micro-relationships. They're not helpful.

Don't believe the propaganda. They're not helpful. They distract you. They divert you from the important task of developing intimacy and relationship skills.

The task, which is accomplishment, will serve you later. You should focus, therefore, on real relationships.

Now, there are three tests to real relationships.

Number one, vulnerability, the willingness to be vulnerable, the willingness to accept inevitable hurt and pain, because most relationships regrettably cause hurt and pain. Hurt and pain is an integral part of interacting with other people.

Be it in intimate relationships, be it in other settings.

So the ability and willingness to embrace, accept, learn from and build upon pain and hurt, in other words, the willingness to be vulnerable and open, they're critical in real relationships.

The second test of a real relationship, having dreams, having goals, planning, not living in fantasy. If you and your partner have common aspirations, common dreams, common goals, and you're planning and you're implementing practical steps on the way to attaining or obtaining these goals, then you're likely in an intimate real relationship.

And the final test of a real relationship, a realistic perception of the other, not idealization, not evaluation, not love bombing, not grooming, but a realistic perception of your partner, limitations, strengths, thought, strengths, weaknesses, what is he capable of, what you can rely on him for, to what extent you can trust him and in which fields. If you have this realistic perception of your partner, you're probably in a real relationship.

Now the opposite of a real relationship is a pseudo relationship, also known as a shared fantasy. It doesn't have any of these things.

The parties usually signal invulnerability. They don't have common dreams or goals and if they do, they are totally fantastic and they don't translate into any type of planning or program.

And there's an unrealistic perception of the partner, partner is idealized or devalued.

So that's the first thing. Make sure to minimize micro relationships and pseudo relationships, shared fantasies in your life.

Focus on real relationship. Even if it means a period of celibacy, period of being alone, it's well worth the waiting.

Micro relationships lead nowhere except according to studies to depression, anxiety, substance abuse and occasionally heartbreak and traumatic injury. 27% of micro relationships, for example, dates and in sexual assault.

Is this what you're looking for?

Pseudo relationships and even much more disastrously in total heartbreak and in loss of autonomy and agency and self efficacy.

Shared fantasies, shared fantasies is the worst thing that can happen to you. Be vigilant. Make sure you're in a real relationship.

But relationships are one way of looking at your life, one aspect of your life.

There's also you. You should be separate from your relationships. You should never merge with your partner. You should never fuse with your partner. You should never become one with your partner. You should always keep and maintain a boundary or boundaries. You should always keep your separateness. Being separate, being boundary, having autonomy and agency and self efficacy, maintaining a separate life with separate interests, separate set of friends, separate pursuits, separate plans.

This is critical to a happy couple. Happy couples are not about merging or fusing into a single organism with two heads. Happy couples are about bringing the idiosyncrasies, bringing the differences, bringing the separateness into the common area so that you can enjoy diversity and the differences between you.

So maintaining individuality, maintaining yourself as separate entities, not dependent upon your partner, not outsourcing the regulation of your moods and your emotions and your eco functions, but keeping this territory, this inner territory as a sacred ground where processes are taking place which are not subjected to public scrutiny or to the intrusion, invasion and involvement of your partner.

This is very critical.

But you can't do this if you continue to perceive yourself as a victim. This is the age of victimhood. Everyone is someone's victim. No one takes personal responsibility. No one agrees to be held accountable. Bad things mysteriously just happen.

The passive voice is all the rage.

Well, here are some breaking news for you. You are nothing but the sum of your informed choices and decisions. Your informed choices and decisions define you. They define you for good and they define you for life. There is no going back in time. There is never a second chance.

Don't believe the online nonsense. Your present shapes your future inexorably.

Do the right thing because you're going to get only one chance.

You bear full responsibility for the foreseeable outcomes of your informed choices and decisions, whatever they may be.

If you end up in a bad spot, if you end up being somehow abused and mistreated and this was the expected outcome of your choices and behaviors, then ask yourself what had been my contribution to this and how should I make sure that this never happens again.

Past behavior is the only infallible prognosticator of future conduct. Past behavior is the best predictor of what you're going to do in the future. You will relapse into old behavior patterns and old habits.

It is only a question of time and the right circumstances before you do.

So don't trust people to change. They will not and you will not.

Be realistic. Eyes wide open, not wide shut. Eyes wide open. Be clear eyed about who you are, what are your needs, what are your priorities and preferences, what are your limitations, what are your weaknesses and red hot buttons and soft spots and vulnerabilities and chinks in the armor.

Know yourself well, unflinchingly. Do not beautify yourself, do not idealize yourself and then apply the same to your partner, apply the same to people around you because you're not going to change, they're not going to change.

There may be long periods, there may be periods even long where you're not going to act the same way you had acted when you were an adolescent, let's say.

But core features of your identity, core behaviors, core moods, affects, cognition, they're going to recur, they're going to happen time and again.

Look at your past and you will clearly see your future.

Can you not change?

In some ways, yes. You can modify your behavior to some extent. You can develop your boundaries fundamentally, no, never and don't believe any of the hype and the self-help books because all they're trying to do is take your money. The world couldn't care less about you. You're on your own, you're on your own, you're in charge, you're alone, forever.

So get a grip, wake up, think before you act. Strangers are not kind, ask beau, strangers are not kind, strangers are predators. Do not become their prey.

Are all strangers predators? Better assume so and be surprised for the better.

But normally, if you make yourself vulnerable in a bad way, if you make yourself prey, there will be a predator around to take advantage of this.

So here are some resolutions for the new year.

Now, new year resolutions are notoriously brittle and fragile and ephemeral, but you cannot afford this cavalier attitude.

Your mental, your physical health depend on strictly observing the following promises. Print them out, tape them on your fridge, create a magnet, a t-shirt, I don't know what, but follow these seven rules.

Number one, I will treat myself with dignity and I will demand respect from other people. I will not allow anyone to disrespect me.

Rule number two, I will set clear boundaries and make known to others what I regard as permissible and acceptable behavior and what is out of bounds.

Number three, I will not tolerate abuse and aggression in any form or guise. I will seek to terminate such misconduct instantly and unequivocally.

Number four, I will be assertive and I will be unambiguous about my needs, my wishes and my expectations from others. I will not be arrogant, but I will be confident and firm. I will not be selfish and narcissistic, but I will love myself and I will take care of myself and I will not compromise myself.

Number five, I will get to know myself a lot better and all the time.

Number six, I will treat other people as I want them to treat me. I will try to lead by way of safe self-example, but I will not be naive and I will be vigilant and I will maintain my wellbeing.

Number seven, if I'm habitually disrespected, abused, or if my boundaries are ignored and breached, I will terminate the relationship with the abuser forthwith. Zero tolerance and no second chance would be my maxims of self-preservation.

Follow these seven rules and you will solve yourself a lot of grief and a lot of misfortune.

I'm not a young man anymore. It may have escaped your notice, but I'm not a young man anymore and so I have something to tell you about life.

Now this is my personal point of view. There may be others who will disagree with me, but I think it's worth listening to.

Happiness comes naturally from the inside. Never seek happiness outside. The only thing you can get outside is gratification.

Do not confuse gratification with happiness. They have nothing to do with each other.

You could be the most gratified person on earth and not happy and you can be the happiest person on earth living in a barrel, Diogenes.

Happiness is a slow, steady and safe unfolding, a becoming, not the ephemeral pyrotechnics of fireworks. It doesn't just happen. It never depends on anything external. It cannot be bought. It cannot be sold.

Happiness is a state of mind, not a state of affairs.

So there's nothing you can do to your external environment that would affect your happiness.

Happiness is self-love and self-acceptance without grandiosity and narcissism, without selfishness.

Happiness flowers in the least expected moments, brings to life the more abundant and refreshes the stale.

Happiness is being in nothingness at once. Nothing is more sad and lonely than having casual sex in order to feel less sad and lonely. Nothing is more sad and lonely than gratifying yourself in a variety of app hazard ways.

So don't. Nothing is more deceitful than brutal honesty. It pretends to offer empathy and succor, but it is mere camouflaged sadism and nothing is more vinglorious than false modesty and pseudo humility. Nothing is more hateful than the inlactable expiry of love. Nothing is more wrong than being right all the time. Nothing is faster than life. Nothing is slower than dying. Nothing is more attractive than the self-sufficient. Nothing more repellent than the clinging and the needing. Nothing is more corrupt than conformity and nothing more noble than being oneself. Nothing is more dignified than honoring other people and nothing is more hopeful than what we already have. Nothing is more blind than merely observing and nothing is more deaf than merely hearing but not listening. Nothing is more present than the past. Nothing less certain than the future.

No gift is greater than a smile and no harm is more deleterious than rejection. No risk is grander and no reward more substantial than to live life to its fullest or neither craven in the foolish extol death or suffering or asceticism as some form of bravery or wisdom or growth or development.

It is not. Life is about shunning and suppressing and fighting and eliminating and eradicating suffering.

Reality is in our mind alone and what is out there is solely what we make of it.

I want to read to you before I continue with my unsolicited advice. I want to read to you a poem. It's a poem written by the inimitable Derek Walcott. It's called, it's titled "Love After Love". Listen to it. It's heart-rending and it's beautiful and it's sublime.

The time will come when with elation you will greet yourself arriving at your own door in your own mirror and each will smile at the others welcome and say, "Sit here. Eat."

You will love again the stranger who was yourself. Give wine, give bread, give back your heart to itself to the stranger who has loved you all your life whom you ignored for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf, the photographs, the desperate notes. Peel your own image from the mirror. Sit. Feast on your life. Magnificent. Absolutely magnificent.

So go forth to this new year and make this new year love you. Make all your gifts come true. The way out is your only entrance. The way through is your only exit.

Why did life teach me? I'm 60 years old, although I don't look a day older than 16. I'm 60 years old. I have led the combined lives of 10 people at least and I've learned a lot. I've learned that life doesn't always accommodate our plans and wishes but it always turns out to be far better than our fears.

If you just let life happen, if you let the path choose you, life takes care of you and the path becomes clear. We have only limited information. Life has a lot more information than we do, always.

Events that look like disasters are usually agents of positive change in your life.

Trust life. Trust life.

Do not fight life. Plan flexibly. Execute wisely. Retreat smartly. Advance promptly and invariably celebrate all these steps on the path that is you, this path, this journey that is your being and your becoming.

Assume the worst. Don't be naive. Don't be polyanish.

Do assume the worst.

But keep hoping for the best. Keep settling for the real. Even when you're stuck, you're carried forward at blinding speed in this vast space.

Love the innumerable gifts that you have been given and you had been given. Learn to identify them. Learn to accept them as gifts and not as entitlements. Their endowments leverage them.

Lishés are golden truths forged by experience. Setbacks are opportunities. Raw gold never glitters. The grass is ease-green and every cloud has silver in it. Tunnels always end in light.

I can tell you from personal experience. Be positive. Be positive but not gullible. Be assured but not grandiose. Be happy but never euphoric.

Some emotions are bad advisors. Others are indispensable counsels. Know which is which.

And yes, change what you can but only what you can.

Do not aim for the stars. Let the stars aim for you. You are, after all, nothing but stardust and dreams.

Remember, the dream ends one day. The only things we take with us are sepia memories and they're the only thing we leave behind as well.

Work on having a life worth remembering. Worth remembering by both yourself and by others because you are nothing but a memory when you're gone and a dream when you're alive and a unity, a unity with that which is bigger than you.

I wish you a happier New Year and a new life, a new life owned by you, a new life taken back, a new life repossessed with a sense of identity and accomplishment and comfort, comfort in your own skin, comfort in your own life, comfort in your own relationships.

Be wise. Be astute. Be clever. But be open. Be adventurous. Be well. Be happy.

Self love is simply when you regard yourself, when you see yourself as in a healthy way, not in a sick or in a pathological way, not that you see yourself in an inflated way like the narcissist.

The narcissist sees himself in a grandiose way. He doesn't have a good reality testing. He doesn't see himself realistically. He thinks that he is very is perfect. He thinks he's brilliant. He thinks he's godlike. He thinks he knows everything. He thinks he's all powerful.

That's not a healthy way of viewing yourself because it's wrong. It's not realistic. It's grandiose.

Other people see themselves exactly the opposite. They see themselves as not talented, stupid, dangerous, crazy and so on.

So this is the inferior way of seeing yourself.

Both ways are pathological. Both ways are wrong.

You need to see yourself as you are. That's a critical point to get a realistic assessment of yourself. We'll come to it in a minute, but you need to see yourself as you are.

And then once you see yourself as you are, you need to pursue your happiness and you need to pursue favorable outcomes. Favorable outcomes or beneficial outcomes are results of your behavior which are good for you. Good for you in the short term, good for you in the long term.

So the first test is, do you have a realistic view of yourself?

The second test is, are you pursuing your happiness? Are you maximizing your happiness?

Because believe it or not, many people, they don't pursue their happiness. They pursue exactly the opposite. They make themselves miserable. They destroy their own lives. They are very self-destructive and self-defeating. They are pursuing the opposite of happiness.

And the third question is, do you pursue favorable outcomes? Do you act in ways, behave in ways, that always generate the optimal, the best possible, results for you?

Again, believe it or not, many people act exactly the opposite way. They, for example, they work very hard on a project and the last minute they destroy it. Or they work very hard on a relationship and they have a stupid fight and the relationship is over. They are self-sabotaging, self-destructive, self-defeating.

And so these are the three tests of proper, appropriate, well-healthy self-love.

Now, there are four conditions for healthy self-love and you need to satisfy all these four. It's not possible to satisfy only three of the four, two of the four, but you need to satisfy all these four.

Why do we need self-love to start with? Why do we need to satisfy these four conditions?

Because if we don't have self-love, we have two problems in life.

First of all, our life becomes worse and worse. We become less and less happy and we become less and less effective. So we don't achieve results as often as we used to and less and less so.

And so finally we end up in a very bad place and in very bad shape.

So self-love is a condition for living life in a proper way.

And the second problem, when you don't have self-love, no one can love you.

A condition for being loved is to have self-love.

If you don't have self-love, you broadcast, you tell other people actually with your behavior, with your choices, with your language, you're telling other people that you don't love yourself. And of course it immediately raises the question, if she doesn't love herself, why should I love her? If she doesn't love herself, she knows something that I don't know. You know, she doesn't love herself for good reason. So why should I love her? It's dangerous, it's stupid to love someone who doesn't love herself.

So also if you don't have self-love, that means you don't have experience with loving.

Because the first love we have, the first love we have is a love of mother and the second love we have is a love of self and the third love we have is a love of others. That is the process.

But at the very very beginning, when you are a baby, one month old, two months old, six months old, up to two years, you don't know that there is any difference between mother and you. Mother and you is the same. You're the same organism, you're one entity, one unit.

So actually even loving mother is self-love. So the first love we have is self-love.

Only after that we can love others. We actually practice with self-love how to love. We learn how to love by loving ourselves. And if we fail to love ourselves, then we don't know how to love. We don't have the skill of loving.

So we can't love in this case.

And this is the second problem with the lack of self-love. Inability to love others and inability of others to love us.

In other words, we live in a loveless environment. The minute we don't have self-love, we commit ourselves for life to a loveless environment. And of course, it's a very sad existence. And in the long run, it's a deadly existence.

For example, people who are not married die much earlier. People who don't experience touch, physical touch on the skin, die much earlier. People who don't have love affairs or meaningful relationships commit suicide at a much higher rate than people who do. People who are unable to maintain long-term relationships, even though they try very hard.

For example, people with borderline personality disorders. Ten percent of them die by suicide. Ten percent of people with borderline personality disorder commit suicide.

So not being able to love and not being able to be loved is deadly, dangerous to your health.

So that's why self-love is a critical condition for survival. Forget other things, just survival. Without self-love, there's no survival. It's very dangerous.

And so we need, there are four conditions to develop proper self-love, functional self-love.

The first condition is self-awareness.

Self-awareness has several components.

First of all, that you are intimate with yourself. Intimacy with yourself. In other words, you don't lie to yourself. You don't delude yourself. You don't live in fantasy. You don't have defense mechanisms that distort self-knowledge, that affect self-knowledge. You really know who you are. You're intimate with yourself. You don't lie to yourself about yourself. So this is intimacy.

The second thing, your self-awareness must be detailed. In other words, there are no parts of you. There are no areas of your experience. There are no domains or territories of your mind that you don't go to, that are repressed, that are suppressed, that are forgotten, that are dissociated. Everything is open. You have full access to 100 percent of you. 100 percent of your mind. 100 percent of your life. 100 percent of your motivations, of your wishes, of your fears, of your emotions, of your feelings, of your sensations. 100 percent. Your self-awareness must be, your access must be unlimited. Your knowledge must be detailed. That is also a condition for intimacy, of course.

And finally, another condition for self-awareness is that it is compassionate. In other words, it's not the kind of self-awareness that is sadistic, that is critical. Not the kind of self-awareness that says, "Look how stupid you are. Look how corrupt you are. Look how evil you are. Look how insane you are." That's not the right kind of self-awareness. And it's also usually not self-awareness at all. These are voices that are internalized, usually from early childhood. Voices that are known as introjects. These voices are foreign voices. They are the voices of bad parents, narcissistic parents, even parents, dysfunctional parents. They are the voices of teachers sometimes, peers, peers who abused you, humiliated you, and so on. Or at times, these are the voices of society.

But these voices are not you. They are foreign voices. They are important voices. You internalize these voices from the outside, and they are misleading you into thinking that they are part of you, but they are not part of you. So their own true self-awareness is compassionate. It's a self-awareness that treats you gently and tenderly and loves you, and is compassionate and is empathic, empathizes with you. If you have voices that tell you such things, you're crazy, you're stupid, you're this. This is not part of self-awareness.

So the first pillar, the first condition for self-love is the kind of self-awareness that I just described.

Intimate, detailed, compassionate knowledge of yourself.

And it goes together with a realistic assessment of yourself.

Because if you love yourself as a piece of fiction, if you love yourself in a way that doesn't correspond to who you really are, then of course you're not loving yourself. You're loving a movie, you're loving a story, you're loving a novel, but you're loving Anna Karenina. I don't know who you're loving, but you're not loving yourself.

To love yourself, you need to know yourself. The good sides, the bad sides, the skills, the talents, the limitations, the shortcomings, what you do wrong usually, what you do right, which you need to have, what we call reality testing. You need to really know yourself. And you need to really know yourself. To really know yourself, you need to make an analysis.

So you need to do what I call S-W-O-T analysis. S-W-O-T analysis. S-Strengths, W-Weakenesses, O-Others, Others' roles, Others' place in your life, Others' motivations, Others' input, etc.

A realistic assessment of other people and how they form a part of your life.

And finally, T is threats. You need to know your strengths, you need to know your weaknesses, you need to know the roles of other people in your life, and you need to appraise realistically the threats you are facing.

This is the first pillar and it's a pillar of self-awareness.

The second pillar is self-acceptance.

It goes, these are chronological stages.

First, you need to be self-aware in order to accept yourself. If you are not self-aware, how can you accept yourself? You cannot.

Once you are self-aware, sometimes after you have gained self-awareness, you don't like what you have learned about yourself. You dislike yourself. You reject yourself. You wish you were someone else.

We call this egodystonic. Egodystonic is very common, for example, in therapy where we come face to face with ourselves.

The main role of the therapist is to put a mirror to you so that you can finally see yourself realistically in the mirror.

And many, many people when they see themselves in the mirror, they don't like what they see. It could be such a crisis that it even has a technical name, abreaction or narcissistic mortification. It's a situation where getting to know yourself constitutes a major crisis because you have been lying to yourself about yourself for a very long time.

You have been living in a delusion, in a fantasy, in an illusion, in a story, in a narrative about yourself that has very little to do with yourself.

So finally, when you come to know yourself, you're disappointed, you're heartbroken, you're mad, you are intensely displeased, you're ill at ease, you're discomforted, and maybe even you hate yourself. You dislike yourself. You can't live with yourself, so to speak.

And so self-awareness sometimes can lead to self-rejection. If this happens, self-love is subhotals.

So we need to teach you after you became self-aware. We need to teach you to accept yourself.

What is self-acceptance?

Self-acceptance, first of all, is unconditional. If you accept yourself by saying, "I accept myself if..." The minute you say "if" or "I accept myself but..." The minute you say "but", that is not self-acceptance. That is conditional love.

And there is nothing more destructive than conditional love.

When children receive conditional love from parents, they are pathologized and deformed for life.

The parents should give the child unconditional love.

And the whole process of developing self-love is a process of re-parenting, is a process of being your own mother, your own father, your own parents. You become your own parent, and as a parent, you should give yourself unconditional love. Love that is not conditioned on who you are. Love that is not conditioned on what you do. Love that is not conditioned on performance. If it is conditioned, it's a pathologized form of love. And it pushes you further away from yourself because you are likely to disappoint yourself.

Imagine that you love yourself only if you are rich. Then when you are not rich, you will not love yourself. So you're likely to disappoint yourself. It's not stable self-love. It's not self-love at all. It's not yourself that you love, but it's the money.

If you love yourself only when you are rich, you don't love yourself. You love the money.

So self-love is unconditional, the same way a mother should, properly and the healthy way, love the child.

The second thing, it's an embrace. You embrace your core identity. You embrace who you truly are.

Now we must distinguish between core identity and peripheral identity.

Core identity is the part of you that never changes, never mind what happens. Never mind the circumstances. Never mind who you're interacting with. Never mind what happens to you. Never mind what you have learned. Never mind that part remains immutable.

In other words, unchangeable. Always absolutely the same. It's a rock. It's a nucleus. It's a stone. Never changes.

And there is peripheral identity or peripheral.

So this peripheral identity changes. Peripheral identity is reactive. It changes according to changes in environment, challenges, opportunities, threats, fears. All the time it changes.

Now when we get in touch with other people, we usually get in touch with their peripheral identities.

Only when we fall in love with someone else and we spend time with him, we become more and more intimate. And intimacy is the way leading from the peripheral identity to the core identity.

Once you reach the core identity, you can either accept it or reject it.

When you develop self-love, you need to reach your core identity. And once you have reached it and you find out who you truly are, regardless of what happens, you need to embrace it. You need to accept it. Embrace it almost physically. Hug it. Like hugging.

You need to accept your personality, your character, your temperament, your relationships, your experiences, your life circumstances. You need to accept that there is a core. And this core is a strong, reliable, never-changing, and will not be affected by everything that's happening to you. So you can embrace it. It's a little like being in a sea. Imagine that your shipwrecked. Your ship sunk down. You're in Titanic and you're in the sea. And suddenly you find a rock. What are you going to do? You're going to cling to the rock. You're going to hug the rock in order not to drown. That is your core identity. The core identity is a rock in a stormy sea.

And if you want to not drown, you need to hug it. You need to embrace it.

Because all the rest is a storm. All the rest is changing. Sometimes it's a perfect storm, like right now with the pandemic. You can't meet people. You can't see people. So there's not much going outside. You need to have something inside that prevents you from drowning. And that is your core identity.

The third pillar.

So the first pillar is self-awareness.

Second pillar, self-acceptance.

Now the third pillar.

The third pillar is self-trust.

Many, many people don't trust themselves. They don't trust themselves because experience, life experience, has shown them that they are making the wrong choices. That they're choosing the wrong partners, selecting the wrong mates. That they had two options, they chose the wrong one.

And so they don't trust themselves. They don't trust themselves because they don't believe, they are beginning to believe that they don't have their own best interests in mind.

In other words, you need to have a conviction. You need to trust that you have your own best interests in mind. That you are pursuing your own best interests.

But life hands you so many defeats and so many failures that you sometimes begin to be convinced that you are self-destructive. That you don't have your best interests in mind.

On the contrary, that you hate yourself and that you are out to destroy yourself. And that you are out to hurt yourself. And that you will damage yourself.

Given the opportunity, you will damage yourself. You can't trust yourself to pursue your best interests because you are your own worst enemy.

So this perception, I have seen the enemy and it is I, this perception prevents you from trusting yourself.

You don't believe, for example, that you are watching your own back. In other words, you don't trust yourself, that you will be alert, that you will be warned if there is a threat. You don't trust yourself to identify threats. You don't trust yourself when you identify threats, to avoid them, to act appropriately. You don't trust yourself.

You feel that you are driven towards destruction by your own, by your very self. You feel that you have no agency, no autonomy. It feels like someone inside you is stronger than you. And that someone is alien. It doesn't feel exactly like you. It feels like some entity, some invader, some body's nature, some extraterrestrial entered your body, some monster. I don't know how you want to call it, entered your body and took possession of it.

And it is this alien thing, which is not exactly you, that is pushing you to sabotage yourself, undermine yourself, hurt yourself, damage yourself, make wrong choices, choose wrong partners, and end up in very bad places, doing very bad things that you didn't want to do and that cause you great discomfort or worse.

So this is a critical phase. You need to make peace with yourself and you need to trust yourself that you are your own best friend, not that you are your worst enemy.

Now, usually this goes, this lack of self-trust goes with two other phenomena.

The first phenomena is external locus of control. External locus of control is the belief that your life is not under your control, that it is determined by others from the outside, that whatever happens to you is not your fault, but also not your intention, not a result of your planning, not goal oriented, not under your control. You had very little to do with it. Other people, stronger people, richer people, or people who are in the right place at the right time, these people decide your life for you. They push you around, you're like a pinball in a billiard table, they push you around.

You feel that you have no agency in the sense that you don't make decisions about your life. You feel that you have no autonomy in the sense that you have no control, even when you do make decisions.

So this external locus of control is critical because without it, when you have it, you cannot trust yourself because yourself is not relevant. Only other people are relevant.

So instead of investing in yourself, instead of investigating yourself, instead of getting to know yourself better, instead of turning inward, you turn outward.

These kind of people, people who do not trust themselves, people who believe themselves to be self-destructive, self-defeating, stupid. Some people think they're stupid, too stupid to make decisions, or too weak, or too disempowered, or too poor. Poor people have this.

Menorities, members of minorities, black Africans, for example, African Americans, Jews, they have this kind of thing because they feel powerless, they feel helpless, they feel they always depend on the outside.

So these kind of people don't have self-love because they don't have self-trust.

Instead of investing in themselves, getting to know themselves, loving themselves, and accepting themselves, what they do, they invest all this energy in others.

So they would tend to become the slaves and the agents of other people.

Because their lives depend on other people, they pay attention to other people.

What other people do? What are they thinking? What are they likely to do to us? What decisions they are likely to make? How these decisions will affect us?

They are constantly focused on other people, their state of mind, their possible decisions, their effect, and impact on their lives and so on.

So if you, for example, are dependent, or you perceive yourself more appropriately, you perceive yourself to be totally dependent on another person, and that other person's mood, that other person's emotions, state of mind, financial condition, and so on, have 100% impact on your life, you would not trust yourself.

You have zero control over your life and zero effect on your life.

Why would you invest in yourself? It's irrational. It's much more rational to pay attention to that other person, because that other person determines your life.

So you need to know everything about that other person. What is he thinking? What is he feeling? What is he about to do? What is he already done? What will be the effect? What will be the impact?

How to manipulate him? How to control him? How to help him? How to satisfy him? How to gratify him?

How to everything is about him, him, him.

And of course, when all of you is invested in another person, you don't exist. You have no energy for yourself. It is a suspension of existence. It is disappearing into the other person.

And we call this merger infusion.

This is very common in mental health pathologies, like dependent personality disorder, and borderline personality disorder. It's a pathology.

So self trust is very critical, because you need to develop the belief that you actually are not controlled and are not dependent on other people in a way that compromises you.

You can be dependent on other people. We are all dependent on other people to some extent. And we can even be controlled by other people.

For example, if you have a job, to some extent, you're controlled by your boss. If you live in a country, to some extent, you're controlled by the ruling elite and by the law enforcement police. We're all controlled to some extent. No one has total freedom, total independence and total autonomy.

But you need to believe that the control, the extent of the control is not such that it compromises who you are.

Your actions can be affected. It's okay. Your behaviors can be changed. It's okay. But not your core identity.

The minute you are controlled from the outside, the minute you are dependent on someone to the point that your core identity disappears or is beginning to change, then you don't exist anymore.

It's a problem because you are dependent on someone else.

So you're letting someone else control you for your own good. It's supposedly you're doing this for yourself.

But if the price is to not be, then who are you doing it for?

You're doing it for yourself. But if there is no self, who are you doing it for?

Sometimes we lose sight. Sometimes we ignore the fact that by trying to satisfy our needs, our wishes, our dreams, our fantasies, we are actually sacrificing ourselves.

And so these needs, these wishes, these fantasies, even when they are fulfilled, they feel empty because no one is left there to enjoy them.

You are by killing yourself.

You also kill the only person who can enjoy the fantasy. By disappearing yourself, you also vanished or disappeared. The only person who can enjoy the wish when it is fulfilled or the dream when it is realized. Dreams, fantasies and wishes, even when they are realized and fulfilled, they depend on you existing. If you don't exist as a condition for realizing these dreams, fantasies and wishes, then what are they for?

And the final pillar, the last one is known as self-efficacy. Self-efficacy is a belief.

So what we call a cognitive belief, it's a belief that you are capable of.

First of all, you are capable of setting goals. You are capable of setting goals.

Many people say I cannot set goals. I cannot decide on goals. I cannot decide on aims, on purposes. I cannot make plans. I cannot make plans. I cannot decide on goals because my life is chaotic. Chaotic, it's chaos. I don't control my life. It's a bloody mess. I just prefer to sit at home and drink alcohol or do drugs or have sex and that's it because it's pointless to make goals, to settle on goals and to make plans.

So the first part of self-efficacy is the belief that you are capable of setting rational, realistic and beneficial goals.

And the second part is that you possess the capacity that we're with to realize, to realize in reality outcomes that are commensurate, that are reflected by these goals, by these aims, commensurate with the aims.

So in other words, you should develop the belief that you can set goals and then that you can pursue them and realize them and that the results in reality, the outcomes will reflect these goals, will somehow be connected to these goals. In other words, that you can accomplish these goals.

And these goals must always be rational, realistic and beneficial.

And how do you develop this belief in self-efficacy?

You develop it when you look back at your life and you realize that actually your experience is that you do set goals and that you do accomplish them. In other words, when you look back at your life, you discover that you are self-efficacious.

Now, all people are self-efficacious, well, with very few exceptions. The vast majority of people are self-efficacious because the vast majority of people survive. To survive, you need to be self-efficacious. You need to set goals, even minimal goals.

I'm going to the grocery store to get bread. That's a goal. I'm going to buy food. That's a goal. I'm going to take a shower. That's a goal.

You need to set goals in order to survive. So everyone is setting goals and everyone is realizing them. There's no person who is not self-efficacious, analyzed. If you're alive, you're self-efficacious.

So when you look back at your life, you discover that actually 99% of your goals, you set them and 99% of the time you succeed to realize them. And in some cases, you set very complicated goals, very far-reaching and fantastic goals, and you realize them also.

The minute you understand this, you suddenly feel a lot of power. You feel empowered because you realize that actually you're very good at manipulating your environment, human environment and inanimate environment. You're very good at setting goals that are good for you, that are beneficial, and you're very good at realizing them. You suddenly gain self-confidence, self-esteem. You suddenly gain trust.

And indeed, it's a form of narcissism known as healthy narcissism. It's the belief that you're okay. You're a very efficient machine. You're okay. You can trust yourself and so on.

So these are the last two pillars of self-love.

Now, why do we need self-love at all?

Well, can't we survive without self-love? Why is self-love so needed?

It's needed because in life, it's the only reliable guide. It's the only reliable compass.

People will say, "But wait a minute, you don't need self-love. If you have enough experience in life, you know everything you need to know. Self-love doesn't help, doesn't add. It's a nuisance.

Or at least it's not needed.

You can not love yourself, but still have so much experience that you can achieve goals.

You can be very practical, very efficient, get where you want, get what you want, even without self-love. You can hate your guts yourself and still be very successful men or women.

And that is, of course, not true because experience is very problematic.

The vast majority of experience comes too late. When we finally get the experience, the lessons of the experience can no longer be implemented. It's the majority of cases.

If you look back at your life, you learned many things. You have learned many things from experience, but can you implement them? 99% of the time, the answer is no.

Experience teaches you many lessons. Unfortunately, about the past, very few of these lessons can be implemented in the future because of old age, because of lost opportunities, because of changed circumstances, because of many things.

But experience is pretty useless, actually. And not two people, not two situations are the same.

Compare this, for example, to self-love.

Self-love is like a rock. It's stable, it's reliable, it's immovable, it's immutable, unchangeable. It's a guide. It's a loyal friend, the truest loyal friend.

The only concern of self-love is your welfare, your happiness, your contentment. You can trust your self-love. It will guide you to the right places, prevent you from doing stupid things or crazy things, dangerous things.

If you truly self-love, you are never reckless, you are never addictive, you never compromise your boundaries, you never go to bad or dangerous places. If you truly self-love, experience alone without self-love can take you any place.

Very, very, very experienced people end up in jail. Very, very, very experienced people end up being assassinated or murdered. And very, very, very experienced people end up making seriously stupid decisions, seriously self-destructive decisions.

Experience is not enough without self-love. Self-love is the condition for living the right and the proper life.

Now I would ask you to stop the recording. You did? Just a second. No, wait, wait, wait, wait, just a second. Okay, stop recording.

We all look for meaning. We all look for significance, direction. We all look for understanding and interpretation because in the absence of some structure and some order and some pattern, there's no mental health. Depression and anxiety are the outcomes of capriciousness, obitrariness, unpredictability, dysregulation, lack of boundaries, lack of consensus, inability to compromise, to negotiate and to communicate.

So we all individually and as collectives try to impose meaning on the world, but the world resists our attempts because the world essentially is chaotic, is random, is meaningless, is insignificant.

But the truth is that if we focus on individual meaning, the meaning not of life, but the meaning of my life, answers are there. Yet when we search for the meaning of our lives as individuals, we tend to commit three mistakes.

These mistakes are cardinal and they prevent us, prevent us from finding meaning, prevent us from imposing an organizing principle on the appallingly kaleidoscopic tsunami that we call life.

And these mistakes had been noted time and again for millennia by numerous sages, wise people of the ages and yet we keep committing these mistakes.

I'm not quite sure why, you see, even I don't have all the answers.

But I would like to point out to you these errors.

Maybe you would be the ones to avoid them for the first time in human history and you would be the ones to find meaning, at least meaning as it is confined to your life and to the lives of your nearest and dearest and loved ones because we can't aspire for more.

We can't have the mind of God if God exists. We're finite, limited, frail, broken, damaged, fragile, vulnerable creatures.

Any pretension to have insight into the mind of God is grandiosity. It's pathological. It's an element of narcissism.

We can never decipher this fabric that we're embedded in. We can just try to understand our role in our own lives. We can just try to make sense of our own lives by introducing into it some structure and order as it relates to other people.

Because meaning is always relational. Meaning comes from the inside only when it interacts with the outside.

Relationships are the fount of meaning and love is the source and foundation of relationships.

Ultimately it's this very old message, worn out, cliched, love is it.

But there are three errors that we commit.

Number one, never choose the path. Never choose the path. Let the path choose you.

To claim that you know what's good for you, to assign valence, to assign some kind of meaning to events in your life, to say this thing that's happening to me is bad, this thing that's happening to me is good for me.

That is to assume the mind of God which you do not possess will never have. That is not only pretentious, it's self-destructive.

You can never know what's good for you or what's bad for you. The path chooses you. You're handled along the path by forces, connections, and interconnections and interactions that are way beyond a grasp even in principle.

When I was sent to serve to do time in prison, I was much younger as in my 20s, 30s.

I thought the world had crashed. I thought I'd hit rock bottom. My wife had left me for another man.

I had lost a business empire. I was left bereft all alone among seriously dangerous people in one of the worst prisons in the world. And I thought it's the end, but it was not the end.

It was the beginning. It was there in prison that I'd authored Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited.

The first book ever about narcissistic abuse, a book that gave light and hope and guidance to millions of people. This could have never happened had I not gone to prison.

I needed this experience.

You see, I with my limited human mind sincerely believed that my prison experience was the worst possible thing that could have happened to me.

But in truth, it was the best thing that had ever happened to me. The best by far.

You never know. You are incapable of knowing.

Never choose the path. Let the path choose you.

Be humble. Accept. Submit.

In certain religions, it's a tenet.

For example, the word Islam means essentially submission.

Mistake number two. We have all the answers we need all the time.

All of us feel that we have no answers for some reason. All of us experience this knowing sensation that our questions are unanswered, that there's an enigma out there, that it's a mystery that we will never ever unfold and resolve.

But nothing could be further from the truth. We have all the answers we need all the time, every second of every minute of every hour of every day of every month of every year of every decade. The answers are there. All of them, all the answers, what we lack is not the answers, but the ability to identify them as answers.

The ability to discern the answers, the ability to notice the answers, and the ability to adopt and embrace the answers. This is what we lack. This is what we miss.

The answers are always there. We just need to open our eyes. We need an awakening. We need a self-induced epiphany to see the answers.

And no, the answers are not the same for everyone. There's not a set of universal answers. Each of us has a set of idiosyncratic, tailor-made, custom-made answers.

But we need to notice them and to accept them again to humble ourselves.

The third mistake is it is wrong to seek the correct answers.

You should focus on asking the right questions. I repeat, don't seek the correct answers. Don't hunt for the correct answers. Instead, focus on finding out, formulating, and asking the right questions. Getting the questions right yields the answers which are correct for you.

Remember, the answers are there. Getting the questions right is enlightenment. That is the path to these answers that are awaiting you.

And this is the chain of evidence, if you wish.

Ask the right questions. Get the correct answers. Find the meaning, your meaning, the meaning of your life. Walk towards this meaning. Let the path choose you.

This is not as abstract as it sounds. For example, not focusing on answers is a very practical advice.

Focus on questions. For example, opening your eyes and realizing that the answers are out there is just a question of reframing, redefining your reality, thinking outside the box, or asking a good friend to help you, to provide you with respect to it.

Letting the path choose you is a question of humility, a question of getting rid of your vanity and grandiosity, and accepting that the totality of humanity and the entirety of the universe probably have more information than you, including more information about what's good for you. Let it be. Simply let it be.

I want to read to you something that the Dalai Lama had written.

When asked what surprised him most about humanity, the Dalai Lama answered this.

Man sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present.

The result being that he does not live in the present or in the future. He lives as if, as if he were never going to die. He lives as if he were never going to die, and then he dies, having never really lived.


I want to end up by reading to you something written by Sir Puyo Kigoro, the Danish religious philosopher.

Danish philosopher Kigoro is the founder of modern existentialism. He wrote a lot about Christianity, morality, ethics, religion, Tatata, and one of his books is called The Works of Love, a wonderful book.

In the book he says that Jesus said, "You shall love your neighbor as yourself." And then Kigoro asked himself, "Jesus said you should love your neighbor as you love yourself." Is Jesus commanding us to love ourselves? If you don't love yourself, you can't love your neighbor according to Jesus.

So you must love yourself. And indeed, in the Roman Catholic tradition, you can't love God truly if you don't love yourself. In the Protestant tradition, self-love became narcissism in the Protestant tradition.

The Protestants are saying that if you self-love you can't really love others. You can't love your neighbors, you can't love your colleagues, you can't love your family, you can't love God.

Self-love is a barrier, it's a firewall, it's a defense against loving others, against what we call object relations.

In Catholicism and with Kigoro, it's not the case. He believes you must self-love, you must love yourself. It's a dictum by God and Jesus.

And without this, you can't love anyone else.

Kigoro admits that you need to love yourself very subtly. There is a type of self-love that is deeply unhealthy, destroys humanity, and there is proper self-love. Proper self-love makes us whole, makes us complete persons.

So according to Kigoro, what Jesus said is not that you should first love yourself and then love your neighbor, but you should realize that love for your neighbor and love for yourself are the same thing.

There is no self apart from others.

Relationships constitute the self, or in Jung's language, relationships constitute the self.

Kigoro doesn't call it love, he calls it forgiveness.

He says only when you forgive your neighbor, you truly forgive yourself, but you must forgive.

Here is a quote from his book.

When it is said you should love your neighbor as yourself, there in is contained what is presupposed, that every man loves himself.

Is it possible for anyone to misunderstand this, as if it were the intention of Christianity to proclaim self-love as a prescriptive right?

On the contrary, it is its purpose to wrest self-love away from us human beings.

This implies loving one's self, but if one must love his neighbor as himself, then the command, like a pick, wrenches open the lock of self-love and thereby rests it away from a man.

This, as yourself, does not waver in its aim and with the firmness of the eternal it critically penetrates.

It reaches the innermost hiding place where a man loves himself.

It does not leave self-love the slightest excuse or the tiniest escape hatch.

As Jacob limped after having struggled with God, so shall self-love be broken if it has struggled with this phrase, which nevertheless does not seek to teach a man not to love himself, but in fact rather seeks to teach him proper self-love.

Therefore, as yourself, suppose the most cunning deceiver who is ever in order, if possible, to have the opportunity of using many words and becoming loquacious, for then the deceiver would quickly conquer.

Supposing such a deceiver were temptingly to question the royal law year in and year out, "How shall I love my neighbor?" then the third command, unchanged, will continue to repeat the short phrase, "As yourself."

And if any deceiver has deceived himself throughout his whole life by all sorts of verbosity concerning this subject, the eternal will only hold him to the test, to the third word of the law, "as yourself."

No one, to be sure, will be able to escape this command. If it's "as yourself" comes as close to the life of self-love as is possible, then one's neighbor is again a qualification as fatally close to self-love as possible.

Self-love itself perceives that it is an impossibility to shirk this.

The only escape is the one which the Pharisees in their time also tried in order to justify themselves, to let it be doubtful who one's neighbor is in order to get him out of one's life.

Self-love says, "Kir is not the only one who is connected with others."

The only thing that is connected is the self-love.

He says that to have a self is to immerse yourself in the totality of the human experience and with all other people, with all other human beings.

If you think that you can survive and live and love yourself without the aid and the support and the involvement and the penetration of other people, you are what he calls a deceiver.

12 words have never been spoken, ask any narcissist.

When my clients ask me, "What should I do? What should I do?" There's an inner turmoil inside me.

I cannot cope anymore. It's too much. I'm overwhelmed.

What should I do?

I give them the following advice.

Go to your desert. Listen to your inner silence.

These are religious metaphors and I'm not a religious man. I don't believe in God. I don't believe in angels and I don't adhere to any religion.

But I don't discard the baby with the bathwater. There is unfathomable wisdom to be found in religious scriptures. God is a useful metaphor for many internal psychological processes.

So in this video, I'm going to make an exception and I'm going to talk to you about God and religion and going to the desert and listening to your inner silence.

I want to start with a quote from 1 Kings chapter 19 verses 11 to 13.

He said, "Go out and stand on the mountain before the Lord, for the Lord is about to pass by."

Now there was a great wind so strong that it was splitting mountains, splitting rocks in pieces before the Lord. But the Lord was not in the wind. And after the wind, an earthquake, but the Lord was not in the earthquake. And after the earthquake, the fire, but the Lord was not in the fire. And after the fire, a sound of sheer silence.

When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle andhe went out and stood at the entrance of the cave.

Then there came a voice to him that said, "What are you doing here, Elijah?" What are you all doing here?

At the point that you stand in your life, next to the cave that is your past, what are you doing here? Are you waiting for the wind? Are you waiting for the earthquake, the fire? Are you waiting for this phenomena to split mountains and break rocks in pieces? Are you waiting for a transformation from the outside, some kind of force of nature, benevolent, of course, who will take care of you and save you and guide you and transform you?

This is not a solution. The Lord is not in this phenomena.

You remember where the Lord is? I'll read it to you again.

And after the fire, a sound of sheer silence. When Elijah heard it, he wrapped his face in his mantle and he went out and stood at the entrance of the cave because he realized, of course, that God was in the silence.

Caves and deserts and mountain tops. These have always been the haunts of holy men, of saints, and of prophets, people who had claimed to be in direct contact with God or the way he manifests on earth, theophany and epiphany. This is where they went.

They didn't go to casinos. They didn't go to libraries. They didn't go to the city, the big city. They went to mountain tops. They went to deserts. They went to caves because there they could listen to the sound of sheer silence. Isn't it amazing that sheer silence? Silence has a sound, sound all its own.

God speaks through time, through space, through being. But above all, God speaks through silence.

God said, when he was asked by Moses to describe himself, he said, "I shall be what I shall be."

It is often mistranslated, "I am what I am." That's not what God said. God said, "Ei ye, ashe el ei ye, I shall be what I shall be."

In other words, God is a process of becoming, not of presence, not of existence, not of being only, not of stasis, not of stagnation, not of inertia.

No. God is flow. His motion, His change, His transformation is becoming, "I shall be what I shall be."

And what shall God be?

Ultimately, the theophany of God, the manifestation of God, the sound of sheer silence.

So here's my advice. Just stop acting for a while. Stop it. Sit still for one minute. Close your eyes for one second. Don't even contemplate. Just be.

Monks go to mountaintops and the big religious figures. Moses, Jesus, Muhammad. When they sought self-transformation, they did not act. They did not act. They went to the desert. They escaped the city and its numerous distractions, its numerous temptations, its numerous offerings, and the constant push to be active.

The curse of modern civilization. Act or not be.

They went to the desert because in the desert, even if you want to, you cannot act. There's nothing to act upon.

So you cannot do anything in the desert.

But wait. Wait and be yourself. And wait for some bush to burn for you, for some devil to confront you, from some angel to talk to you. The bush burned for Moses. Jesus bested the devil and Gabriel, angel Gabriel, spoke to Muhammad in a cave.

These are all transformational processes.

Moses, who was a playboy, Egyptian prince, learned humility. God told him, "This is holy ground. Take your shoes off."

Humility. Jesus confronted his dark side, his complexes, possibly his insanity, and overcame it, the devil.

And Muhammad was able to converse with angels. In other words, with the best part of himself, the best part of humanity, the best part of the world.

And to bring back a message of redemption and absolution and hope.

There, in deserts and caves and mountain pups, with no one around, you are faced with yourself. There's no escape. There's no excuse. There's no diversion. There's no lie. There's no pretension. Just you and you and you.

There you can cope. You can think. You can change. You can listen to the voice of God.

In the desert, you're forced, finally, to listen to God by listening to yourself. The sheer sound of silence outside speaks to you from the inside.

And you go and stand at the entrance to the cave. And it is God who asks you, "What are you doing here? What do you want? Who are you, Elijah?"

So if you want to heal, if you want to transform, if you want to hope again, if you want to sing, if you want to belong, create a mental desert around you.

In today's world, it's difficult to find a real desert to be in. All the caves are occupied and on the mountain tops, their television antenna. The world has abandoned us because we had abandoned nature.

But we can still create a mental desert, our own private desert, our own cave, and climb to the mountain top that is us, our soul, if you wish.

Close your eyes. No social media. No news. No people. No Zoom conferences. Nothing. Close your eyes and wait for this silence to talk to you.

Wait for what many of you call the voice of God, your inner God, maybe. Wait for the voice. Wait for the voice. Don't drown the voice in action. See who is talking to you. Listen what you are being told, what is being said to you. Think of nothing else. Think not at all, actually. Just let it flow through you.

We are not listening. Even religion, and I'm not an adherent of any religion as you know. Even religion is a dialogue. It's not a monologue, it's a dialogue with God.

But all of us, we are just talking all the time. We are not listening. We are just talking. Never ever receiving. We are too busy being something, even being religious. We are too busy being us.

And this us, being us is a simulacrum. It's a simulation. It's fake. It's as Sartre called it, inauthentic.

We are not real. We are renditions. We are phantasms. We are figments of sick imagination.

And so we are not listening. We need to be passive. For once, just be passive.

In Islam, it's a form of supplication. The word Islam means kind of submissive supplication. But also making peace with this supplication, with this submission. Just be passive. Submit yourself in a good sense. Submit yourself by emptying yourself, by allowing a word, anyone's word, the word of God, to flow through you. Become a vessel.

In the Kabbalah Jewish mysticism, we have this concept of a vessel. A vessel is a container. Become a container. Let the silence and the message of the silence flow through you. Empty yourself.

If you are full of yourself, if you're full of information, if you're full of distractions, if you're full of occupations, if you're full of business and actions, if you are full, nothing can come in. Nothing can flow through you.

Your fullness renders you empty because you can receive nothing new and you cannot change.

You are dead when you are full.

Full people, people who have reached up to the brim.


You need to let this flow through you and you do not ask for reciprocal action from God or any other universal principle. There's no reciprocal action. It is a gift given on unto you.

Tomorrow I will discuss the rejection of life as a form of blasphemy and sacrilege.

But this silence is a gift given unto you. And this silence speaks louder than any words and conveys more than any therapist can.

You want to heal. Create a mental desert. Suspend yourself. Cut off the world. Sit back. Close your eyes and listen to the silence.

If you enjoyed this article, you might like the following:

Child Thwarted, Narcissist is Born (Zagreb Lecture EXCERPT) (BOOTLEG)

In this lecture, Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the development of pathological narcissism and its underlying psychodynamics. He explains that narcissism is a post-traumatic condition that begins in early childhood when a child's need to be seen by their primary caregiver is not met, leading to a failure to develop a core identity, ego, and a proper sense of reality. Vaknin describes how narcissists are unable to distinguish between themselves and others, leading to a lack of boundaries and an internal emptiness. He also covers concepts such as narcissistic supply, external regulation, self-supply, narcissistic collapse, and the formation of bad and idealized objects within the narcissist's psyche. The lecture concludes with a promise to discuss how these dynamics play out in romantic relationships, emphasizing that the mechanisms are the same in all interpersonal relationships for a narcissist.

Normal? Mentally Ill? Not in My Culture!

Mental health diagnoses and treatments are influenced by culture and societal norms, which change over time. Examples include the zar, a culture-bound syndrome in Africa, where people believe they are possessed by demons, and homosexuality, which was considered a mental illness in the West until 1980. The concept of mental health is evolving as society becomes more accepting of diverse behaviors and orientations. This raises questions about the validity of certain mental health diagnoses and whether they are truly illnesses or simply society's judgment of certain people.

37th International Conference on Psychiatry and Psychosomatic Medicine

The webinar on psychosomatic medicine 2020 covered various topics related to mental health, with a focus on the life experiences of teenage mothers, the impact of disabilities on parents, strategies for brain tumor surgery, and the relationship between assertiveness skills and depression among nursing students. Keynote speakers and guest speakers from different countries presented their research and findings, and the event concluded with certificates and proceedings to be sent to participants.

“Dead Mothers” and Their Offspring: Narcissistic, Borderline, Psychotic

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of "dead mothers" and their impact on their children. He delves into the psychoanalytic construct of dead mothers, describing how narcissistic, borderline, and psychotic mothers affect their offspring. He explains the complex defense mechanisms and lifelong effects on the children, leading to issues such as narcissism, dissociation, and attachment disorders. The dead mother complex is a clinical condition involving early and destructive identification of the child with a figure of a depressed and emotionally unavailable mother. This results in a prolonged grief disorder and creates a kind of depression and defense against this depression, which is an extension form of depression. The child pretends that he is not he, he is someone else, the false self.

Narcissism’s Enemies: God, Work, Family (Prophets of Narcissism: Christopher Lasch, 1979, (lecture)

The lecture discusses Christopher Lasch and his views on narcissism, the decline of society, and the role of religion. Lasch criticizes capitalism, consumerism, and the intellectual elite, advocating for a return to traditional values and religious faith. He also discusses the impact of progress and the decline of religion on society. The lecture ends with a preview of the next lecture in the series.

Mental Health Dictionary - Letter C

The text discusses various mental health terms starting with the letter C, such as catatonia, circumstantiality, compulsion, concrete thinking, and culture-bound syndrome. It also mentions the Chinese Classification of Mental Disorders and the conflict tactics scale. The author plans to continue with the letter D in the next installment.

Controversial P Factor Unifying Mental Illness

The P factor is a controversial concept in psychology that suggests a common denominator to all mental disorders. It challenges the traditional approach of diagnosing people based on lists of symptoms or behaviors. The debate surrounding the P factor raises questions about the usefulness of labels and the need for customized treatments. Early intervention is key to preventing severe mental illness later in life.

Rorschach's Inkblot Test

The Rorschach Ink Blots Test is a diagnostic tool developed by Swiss psychiatrist Hermann Rorschach. The test uses ambiguous ink blots to provoke free associations in the test subject, and the diagnostician records the patient's responses as well as the ink blots' spatial position and orientation. The test is highly subjective and depends on the skills and training of the diagnostician and his interpretative abilities. It cannot be used to reliably diagnose patients, but it can draw attention to the patient's defenses and personal style.

How Good Parents Turn Bad (ENGLISH 1:33, Turnu Severin Intl. Conference on Psychology)

Professor Sam Vaknin discusses the concept of the "dead mother" and how it relates to dysfunctional parenting. He explains that good enough mothers allow their children to separate and experience pain, frustration, and disappointment. Good enough mothers provide safety, structure, order, predictability, and prepare their children for reality. Vaknin suggests that psychological evaluation should be mandatory for those wishing to have children, and that those with certain mental health issues should not be allowed to have children.

International Classification of Diseases (ICD-10)

The International Classification of Diseases (ICD) is published by the World Health Organization and included mental health disorders for the first time in 1948. The ICD-8 was implemented in 1968 and was descriptive and operational, but sported a confusing plethora of categories and allowed for rampant comorbidity. The ICD-10, the current version, was revolutionary and incorporated the outcomes of numerous collaborative studies and programs. However, an international study carried out in 112 clinical centers in 39 countries demonstrated that the ICD-10 is not a reliable diagnostic tool as far as personality disorders go.

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