Seed Sentences:  Weeds or Flowers?
Sue Patton Thoele

I believe in the old adage:  "Cleanliness is next to Godliness," but not as a reference to dirt under our nails or behind our ears.  Clean thoughts are what we need to have in order to grow closer to our own souls.

Do your thoughts leave you feeling fresh and sweet, or do they slime your self-concept with a brackish film of criticism, doubt, and shame?  Your thoughts are yours alone.  No one can clean them up but you.  Exploring the seed sentences planted within you is a great way to uproot weeds, clean up your mind, and plant some flower seeds.

Seed sentences are clusters of ideas, words, or scripts that we all create in order to keep us congruent with our underlying assumptions and hidden beliefs.  If our seed sentences are self-affirming and supportive, we are naturally self-confident, creative, and excited about life.  These I call "flower sentences."  When sentences are derogatory, we are more likely to be emotionally vulnerable, have low self-esteem, and find it difficult to be ourselves.  Definitely "weeds."

Most seed sentences remain unspoken, perhaps even subconscious.  They are bits and pieces of ideas we've picked up along the way until they form the heart of our beliefs about ourselves.

Seed sentences come from many sources--parents, mates, TV, movies, magazines, advertising--and contribute to our ideas of how we're supposed to live and what we can expect to receive from life and from others.  Our lives, in effect, sprout from seed sentences we carry.

If all of our seed sentences blossomed into flowers, our lives would be gardens filled with beauty and grace.  Unfortunately most of us have picked up weed seeds that grow into thistles and thorns, choking our spontaneity and the realization of our authentic selves.

Some examples of flower seed sentences:

"I am a worthwhile person."
"I deserve to be loved."
"I am lovable."
"I can do anything I set my mind to."
"I am proud to be a woman [or man]."

If seed sentences such as these are blooming in your subconscious, you probably have a wonderful life, filled with loving relationships.  When you look into the mirror in the morning, you are happy with what you see.

Weed sentences, on the other hand, sound something like this:

"I can never do anything right."
"I don't deserve to be loved."
"I'm no good at (_______) or (_______)."
"Everyone handles things better than I do."
"I'm so ashamed of (_______)."

Constant use of weed sentences undoubtedly means you feel pretty down on yourself.  When people try to love you, you question their motives.  "How can they love me?  They must not be very bright."  Weed sentences go hand in hand with low self-esteem. . . .

How do we pick up our packets of thought-seeds?  People make the most unbelievably careless statements within the hearing of children.  "She has a face only a mother could love."  Or "You're about as graceful as a bull in a china shop."  Children take such pronouncements as authoritative, because they come from people who are ten feet tall. . . .

It pays to sort through the seed sentences you've carried over from your associations with religion and society.  A remarkable number of my clients come from backgrounds of guilt-fostering religious environments.  Guilt and fear keep them emotionally vulnerable and prevent them from experiencing their authentic selves. . . .

Freeing ourselves from underlying assumptions and bringing our beliefs into harmony with the goal of lovingly supporting ourselves takes time and doesn't come easily.  We need to be gentle with ourselves and remember that we are called upon to love our neighbors as ourselves, not to the exclusion of ourselves.  As a natural outgrowth of loving ourselves, we will learn to love others more fully and authentically.

Become aware of your beliefs and automatic default settings.  Bring them into the light of your present, adult knowledge.  Gently acknowledge that they are what they are.  Then accept that they constitute what you've believed until now, and that you can transform them into beliefs that allow you to fully express who you really are.  Without judgment, patiently begin working to change subconscious and limiting beliefs into true expressions of your authentic self.


Sue Patton Thoele continues her quest to help readers enhance their self-esteem and tap into their core emotional strength.  Geared to people who too often find themselves meeting the wants of others at the expense of their own needs, the book provides necessary tools to help readers transform their fears into the courage to express their own authentic selves.  By sharing her own journey and the journey of others, Thoele helps readers learn to set boundaries, change self-defeating behavior patterns, communicate effectively, and become a loving and tolerant friend to themselves.


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