Day 16 says we shouldn't underestimate the impact of current stresses. This is ringing true for me. I have been reviewing my childhood and most of my "traumatic" events I'm journaling about are just normal parts of growing up - an embarrassment here, a mistake there. I can't point to one big cause of repressed anger from my childhood or young adulthood. But the cumulative lifetime effects of a goodist personality has left me as a relatively successful and happy 40-something-year-old who is extremely sensitive to criticism and is always wondering when he will finally be called out as a fraud. I have a great marriage. But here's a typical childish example - if I make a mix CD for my wife and I notice her skip one of the songs in the car I start to think, "Oh, crap, I screwed up there - I wasted her time and picked a song she didn't want to hear." Ridiculous, huh? And I know logically that if someone made me a mix CD and I skipped a song my overwhelming thought would be gratitude that they thought of me in the first place. It's similar at work. I'm on the senior leadership team. People come to me many times a day for guidance. They respect my opinion and I get tons of feedback that I'm valuable and helpful and all that. But my mind is focused on things I should have worded differently, obsessing about a disagreement I had with the CEO (where I was proven right, by the way). I worry that I'll get fired for some dumb mistake or misunderstanding. And what if I can't find another job? My paranoid little id is positive that in the very next meeting someone is going to leap up and point at me and declare, "Wait, he has NO IDEA WHAT HE'S TALKING ABOUT!" and everyone else will join in, "Yeah, I've always thought that about him! What's he even doing here?!" It's madness, right? But even just imagining it right now is getting me anxious. My conscious mind is confident. My subconscious is scared to death. I was reading The Divided Mind last night and Dr. Sarno writes (emphasis mine): I found it of great interest that Adler thought the neurotic state was generated by a need to avoid “a greater evil,” namely, to prevent one’s worthlessness from being disclosed. Our experience with thousands of TMS patients leads us to find that the mind considers that the greater evil would be the conscious experience of emotional pain and rage. Another interpretation is that conscious feelings of worthlessness stimulate the drive to be perfect and good that, in turn, stimulates unconscious rage, resulting in a neurotic state. Another Adlerian observation parallels our experience with TMS patients: he found those patients with feelings of worthlessness to be extremely sensitive to criticism. This appears to be a reaction to intense feelings of inferiority. What really hit me was "to prevent one's worthlessness from being disclosed". I see my subconscious going to extraordinary lengths to keep this from happening - do whatever it takes to make sure the outside world does not realize that you are making stuff up as you go. I don't know the solution yet. I've read a lot about self-esteem in the past - even done workbooks on it. I've meditated on loving myself. I've tried to imagine myself as my dog sees me. I've tried to imagine what I'd tell my inner child, or the 5-year-old me. And I love that little guy -- I want only the best for him. But none of it has stuck yet. Or at least not enough of it.