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Client story: "It feels like the world is against me right now," said Jack, a struggling novelist in his late 30s. "I know it feels that way, but it's not the truth," I said. "What is the truth then?" he asked, sounding frustrated. "It's you against you right now, and that's bad enough to make you feel like everyone is against you too."

Lesson: When you identify solely with your ego, you can end up living in your head, feeling distant from your heart and disembodied from your true nature. You then feel an increasing sense of aloneness. You think you're separated from the world, but in fact, you're cut off from your Unconditioned Self.

Without self-acceptance, you feel exiled from yourself, experiencing the world as an unfriendly universe. Life feels like hard work, a big struggle, with obstacles everywhere. Your ego feels helpless, incapable and ultimately defeated. Only when you make contact with your true nature again will you find clarity, flow and inspiration.

Exercise: Get out a pen and paper and complete the following statement with 10 different responses: "One self-defeating attitude I want to let go of now is..."

Next, complete this statement with 10 responses: "One self-defeating behavior I want to let go of now is..."

Examine your answers carefully and commit to clearing at least one block from each list. As you release these inner blocks, the road in front of you will open up.

"Not in the clamor of the crowded street, not in the shouts and plaudits of the throng, but in ourselves, are triumph and defeat," wrote the poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

Next: How to trust yourself


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