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discord with our values. No one else has the power to make us feel happy or sad: we respond to their statements or actions in accordance with the principles of our own personal philosophy over which we alone have total control.

Patients who want to believe that their disturbed feelings and behaviour are all the responsibility of other people or events or circumstances have a long, hard road to limb. Eventually they have to come to accept, like the rest of us, that life may be difficult but it is up to each one of us to live our own lives to the best of our ability. Our self-esteem is not something that can be given to us or taken away by other people. It is ultimately entirely a product of our own determination to establish our own values and live our lives according to those principles. Whatever anyone else may or may not have done to us in our past lives, or do at present, is irrelevant. This may seem hard but, as M Scott Peck said in the opening words of The Road Less Travelled (Arrow, 1999), "Life is difficult".

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