The Little Book of Big Feared Truths

Overcoming the Main Obstacle to Healthy Self-Esteem

Herbert S. Demmin

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ISBN: 1-57733-101-X, 128 pp., 5x8, paper, $12.95

The Little Book of Big Feared Truths is concise, digestible, and easily understood. It is a coherent and organized guide on improving self-esteem.

Healthy self-esteem requires that you become the absolute authority on your self-identity. As the supreme court judge of who you are, you are no longer vulnerable to the reactions of others; they can no longer influence the way you feel about yourself. But your attempts to improve self-esteem have likely failed because you,ve been hiding Feared Truths about yourself that you don't want to face; you're terrified that such truths will guarantee rejection and prove that you're completely inadequate. Therefore, you hide them from yourself and everyone else, afraid of being exposed as an impostor.

To improve self-esteem and overcome the unpleasant symptoms stemming from your strategies to avoid Feared Truths, you must courageously confront and identify them. This book outlines thirteen strategies which help identify Feared Truths so that you can give them a Fair Hearing.

During a Fair Hearing, Feared Truths are put on trial: All the evidence potentially confirming the validity of each Feared Truth is examined. In your willingness to finally accept or reject feared aspects of yourself, you become the ultimate authority on who you are, and no longer care about the reactions of others regarding your self-worth. You will finally experience a freedom and self-confidence to last the rest of your life!


"Dr. Demmin writes a thought provoking, easy to follow set of instructions to not only gain greater insight into your Feared Truths, but challenges you to make the necessary changes to improve and enhance your life. I thoroughly enjoyed it!" Cindy Coraccio, LCSW

"The bogeyman, which is often projected from within ourselves, is much less horrendous with the lights on. This book turns on the lights ... for many of my patients it's required reading." Dr. Janice Bauer, Ph.D.

"Shakespeare advised, 'To thine own self be true," but neglected to tell us how. This Little Book does." Frances LeMoine, poet

"I find this book working in my life so much. There have been many times lately that I could let what I know isn't true about myself take over. But when it's just me and me, I know the truth and that sustains me." Margaret Goddard, veterinary assistant

Table of Contents

1. Feared Truths
2. The Origins of Feared Truths
3. Identifying Feared Truths
4. Giving Yourself a Fair Hearing
5. After Your Fair Hearing
6. The Difficulty of Accepting Feared Truths
7. Accepting the Feelings of a Valid Feared Truth
8. Accepting Feared Truths without Trying to Change Them
9. Investment in Feared Truths
10. Living Feared Truths


Feeling awful about yourself is a terrible way to live. Disliking or hating yourself is the wound of all wounds. Desperate to feel better, your last defense is to ignore the wound as much as possible. But the pain is still there, and you continue to suffer.

In general, you believe that it's impossible to achieve positive self-esteem if you possess negative self-attributes or beliefs. Perhaps by changing negative personal qualities, you can finally feel good about you. Therefore, you strive to change the qualities you dislike into ones you like. If that doesn't work, you try to convince yourself that your negative self-perceptions and beliefs are wrong. You may even pretend to see yourself more positively. When these strategies fail, you push the negative self-perceptions and beliefs out of awareness, afraid that they make you worthless and rejectable.

Mental health professionals and self-esteem experts often advise people to improve self-esteem by ignoring negative qualities, beliefs, and associated feelings in favor of embracing positive affirmations (Helmstetter, 1986; Brooks & Dalby, 1990). "I'm a good person," "I love me," and "I like myself," are typical examples. Implied in this advice is a belief that persistent, self-berating thoughts are the primary perpetuators of low self-esteem. People are simply in the habit of thinking such thoughts, say the experts. Therefore, we're asked to notice and replace them with self-affirming thoughts. These new thoughts supposedly improve self-esteem. Unfortunately, this "replacement therapy" rarely works because persistent, self-berating thoughts are a reflection of low self-esteem, not simply perpetuators of it.

Self-berating thoughts, beliefs, and feelings typically exist because of traumatic or rejecting childhood experiences which convinced us of our inadequacy (Branden, 1972; Bradshaw, 1988). To break the bonds of such beliefs, we need to do more than simply replace the negative with the positive. The memories of these experiences must be explored, and our role in them objectively challenged. Then you can define yourself, rather than allow others to do so.

Mental health providers typically believe that negative self-beliefs and associated feelings are overly harsh or inaccurate. They try to convince you of this through salesmanship. This is problematic because they don't allow you to explore the evidence regarding your negative qualities. If they embark on such an exploration, they construe the negatives as positively as possible. They do so because they want you to feel better. Moreover, you willingly accept what they say because you want to feel better too. However, if there truly is a basis for feeling bad about yourself, skilled salesmanship about negative self-beliefs and attributes doesn't effect lasting improvements in self-esteem.

The phrase "positive self-esteem" implies that feeling good about yourself precludes harboring negative self-perceptions, beliefs, or feelings. Experts and lay people tend to believe that the path to happiness and fulfillment is to change negative self-perceptions and beliefs into positive ones. In contrast, a "healthy" or "strong" self-esteem reflects self-knowledge and acceptance of positive and negative qualities. With healthy self-esteem, one's self-perception is not influenced by the feedback of others. The goal of this book is to help you develop a strong self-esteem by embracing all of your decidedly valid personal qualities.

Blue Dolphin, 2002

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