"Sentence completion can give voice to unshed tears, to disowned hurt, to suppressed rage. It can give voice to tenderness, passion, and love. It can be an awakening to ourselves and to those we love.
But it is not magic.
It does not operate successfully without good will and a genuine desire to grow, learn, and to expand awareness, contact, intimacy.
It is not a substitute for courage and honesty. Nothing is.
If it is a doorway into the self, so it is a doorway to union with another human being.
Open the door and walk through..." - Nathaniel Branden
I first came across Dr Nathaniel Branden in the autumn of 2015 when searching for writings on how to raise my own self-esteem.
I picked up a small, unassuming book entitled "How to raise your self-esteem"...
In this book, Branden posed a fascinating if not oversimplified view that every psychological problem is traceable to varying degrees of low self-esteem issues.
Moreover, the low self-esteem issues develop far earlier than we realise.
As adults, we tend to analyse our current phase of life. Yet low self-esteem is developed from early childhood and stems from various messages we have been given as young people about our place in the world and who we are.
One of the tools offered in the book, were sentence stems that you had to complete, without giving them much thought, jotting the answers as quickly as possible, "catching any and all thoughts" that come to mind when you hear the beginning of that sentence.
Sentence completion is a self-exploration tool designed and developed by Dr Nathaniel Branden (a pioneer in the psychology of self-esteem).
The whole point of this exercise is to bring out our unconscious thinking patterns, which ironically, are on the surface (things we "just blurt out" most of the time).
This means, when completing given sentence stems, we are to write down endings quickly and without much thought. In this way, we will surprise ourselves in what our minds can produce.
Examples of sentence completion at work:
If I were to allow myself to be happy...
... I'd consider myself more in my decisions
... I'd think about myself a little more
... I'd put myself first sometimes
... I'd say "no" without feeling guilty
If I allowed myself to be vulnerable...
... I'd feel exposed
...I'd say what was really on my mind
...I wouldn't be afraid to cry
...I wouldn't hide when I was feeling hurt
If I allowed myself to be angry...
... others might not like what they would hear from me
... I wouldn't self-censor
...I'm afraid you wouldn't love that part of me
...my partner would leave me
Here are a few sentence stems to help you on your self-exploration journey...