Nathaniel Branden was a psychotherapist and writer specializing in the psychology of self-esteem and self-discovery. He is the author of The 6 Pillars of Self-Esteem, The Art of Living Consciously, and several other books. He is also known for being Ayn Rand’s romantic partner for some years and for being a key advocate of the philosophy of Objectivism in the 1960s.
Sentence Completion Exercises
Branden utilized sentence completion exercises with his clients and he created several monthly programs employing the exercises. Sentence completions can be profoundly powerful in raising an individual’s self-understanding, self-esteem, and personal effectiveness.
The basic idea of the exercises is that we all have much more knowledge and wisdom than we use. We all have potentials far greater than what shows up in our actions. By doing these exercises you push yourself to be honest with yourself about your emotions, your actions, and the way you think and act day to day. By bringing greater awareness to these areas we can more effectively diagnose what is wrong and change our behavior.
How To & Examples
You begin with an incomplete sentence, either one you created or one from Branden’s programs, and you write 6-10 endings for the sentence. Do it without thinking too much, instead rapidly write down what first appears in your mind. Don’t censor yourself, be completely honest and transparent. Proceed to do the same for 3 to 4 more sentences for a total of 4 to 5 sentences with 6 to 10 endings each.
Here’s an example of a set of sentence stems for a week. You’d complete 6 to 10 endings for each of these first thing in the morning:
- Living consciously to me means –
- If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my activities today –
- If I pay more attention to how I deal with people today –
- If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my most important relationships –
- If I bring 5 percent more awareness to my insecurities –
At the end of the day, after your day’s work, find another 10 minutes to complete this set of sentence stems:
- When I reflect on how I would feel if I lived more consciously –
- When I reflect on what happens when I bring 5 percent more awareness to my activities –
- When I reflect on what happens when I bring 5 percent more awareness to my most important relationships –
- When I reflect on what happens when I bring 5 percent more awareness to my insecurities –
I’ve met several extremely high-achieving individuals who say that doing these sentence completions over the course of months and years changed their life. Countless others online have praised these exercises. You can pick one of Nathaniel Branden’s free programs and commit to living purposefully through self-discovery, self-examination, and honesty.