How to Obtain What You Desire "
by Benjamin Johnson
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The thoughts here presented belong to whom? I wish I might tell you, but truly, I do not know.
Aside from the many quotations I have given, thought after thought has appeared, fairly insisting that it be used. As each thought came, I wrote it down for the purpose of putting in concise form the information by so many desired.
If there be such things as original thoughts, some of these may be so named. But how can one be sure?
With my mind equipped with a New Thought wireless, I may have caught and appropriated ideas that someone else was sending; or, from the reading of Epictetus, Emerson, Allen, Brown, Huckel, Hudson, Fletcher, Militz, Mulford, Warden, Towne, Larson, Randall, Sears and others, my subconscious mind may have absorbed and given back to me the thoughts of these good writers and able teachers.
At any rate should I find that I am a mental pirate, I shall not grieve, for I will know that only because I desired so intensely to help others, that which I needed came to me as a proof of the law.
With all these great minds aiding me, I am certain one will find in this book the help one needs; and I believe it can be referred to, from time to time, with benefit.
positive it may be used to help others, as I have endeavored to help,
in the work of replacing instead of repressing; of changing the old
form of pessimistic thought for the new one of health, prosperity and
CHAPTER 1 - BREATHING
Your character represents the result of the habits you have formed. Your habits show your manner of thought, Your manner of thought is in turn affected by your method of breathing. Would you succeed? Then breathe systematically, intelligently and happily. The air is filled with life-giving oxygen ready for you to use. It is already yours, but you must give it space in which to do its work. Unless you have the force of will necessary to breathe correctly not only once but many times a day, you have not sufficient will to develop your mental faculties to their greatest capacity; hence your thinking will be limited.
You have probably, like many other people, considered breathing as a natural process not worth bothering about, and so in common with many others, you have starved certain organs of your body, impoverished your brain, and then sought for some remedy to act as a tonic. All the time the real remedy has been within your reach but you have willfully refused to acknowledge it or use it.
You surely desire to succeed, - then begin your work for success, and for thought building, by realizing to the utmost your need of giving to the lungs the greatest natural tonic and purifying agent for the blood known - oxygen.
to take in the greatest amount of oxygen, all breathing exercises
should be practiced in the open air, or by an open window.
Deep, full breaths should be inhaled through the nostrils, held for a few moments in order to purify the air that remains in the lungs from former inhalations, and then should be exhaled through the mouth.
about one-half pint of oxygen is taken in in an average breath. When
the effort is made to breathe from the abdomen, throwing back the
shoulders and taking in all that the lungs will hold, this amount is
tremendously increased. And, when one realizes that in one person's
lungs there are between seven hundred and twenty-five and eight hundred
million air cells, not half of which are ever used by the person who
takes only the average breath, it readily can be seen that a great many
pints of oxygen would be needed to stimulate all these air cells to
The blood passes through the lungs about three times a minute, carrying the carbon dioxide that should be given off, and searching for the oxygen to be inhaled for the purpose of purifying and revitalizing. If the blood fails to receive the supply of oxygen it needs, the entire system immediately shows the result of this deficiency by weak tissues, inefficient digestive juices and a low vitality.
amount of blood in the body of a person is estimated to be about
one-sixteenth of the body weight. This blood has fully two thousand
miles of tubing through which to circulate. For every heart beat nearly
three ounces of blood will be forced along through this tubing, so that
in twenty-four hours fully eight tons of blood passes through the
lungs, giving off carbon dioxide and taking in oxygen.
If the breathing apparatus is not in perfect working order, or if the ventilation is not good and the person is breathing air that is impure, but little of the carbon dioxide can be given off and the accumulated poison shows its presence by a sensation of weariness; or by weakness.
The great pumping organ, the heart, is one of the first to suffer from the deficiency of oxygen. One would not expect an automobile to operate without gasoline. It would, however, be just as sensible, as to expect good work from a heart when the blood is not being fully supplied with oxygen. The carbon dioxide can only get out of the lungs as the oxygen gets in, so the other organs of excretion will accordingly have more work thrown on them, and the skin and kidneys will in turn suffer,
It is also estimated that fully two pounds of oxygen are needed for every pound of food in the blood to maintain the body in a healthful condition.
Men, in ordinary walks of life, are said to take in about one-half the oxygen really needed. Women take in about one-fourth of the amount necessary for perfect health. Shallow breathers never take in enough to give the body what is demanded.
"Breathed air" in any room is always deadly and can rightfully be accused of causing all sorts of physical disturbances Frequent breathing exercises are necessary, because oxygen is unlike food in that it cannot be stored up; it must be taken in often.
As an example of the instant effect of bad air, take any one accustomed to out-of-door life. Place this person in the ordinary office. In nearly every instance a violent headache, a feeling of weariness, and a general depression, will result. Continue this seclusion for a time and the eyes lose their lustre, the cheeks become colourless and the vitality is lowered.
True, many people always have and always will exist under such conditions, but to truly live, in the broadest sense of the word, something else is necessary; and that something is the opportunity for drinking in Nature's best tonic--oxygen--at frequent intervals.
A very simple plan is to practice deep, rhythmic breathing on your way to the office in the morning, when going to, and coming from, luncheon in the afternoon, and before retiring. If you feel tired mentally during the day, go to the window, throw back your shoulders, and take several deep breaths.
Does your head ache? Are you weary, dull, and depressed? Nature's remedy is yours, for the mere taking.
Naturally, too, if the various organs of the body are affected by the amount of oxygen received, the entire nervous system becomes in turn either efficient or inefficient, and if the supply of oxygen is not great enough, the brain cannot properly generate, store and transmit the nerve current.
Another feature of the deep breath, and one not usually considered, is, that by such an inhalation, the diaphragm, Nature's principal aid for exercising the internal organs, contracts during inhalation and exerts a gentle pressure upon the liver, stomach and large intestines, thus performing a gentle internal massage.
For the reduction of superfluous flesh, deep breathing exercises are especially beneficial, as by this means much of the extra fatty material can be consumed.
Breathing, therefore, can be shown to affect every organ of the body, either for good or ill; though ordinarily it is considered an aid of but little importance.
The effect on the mind of breathing is easily understood when one understands just what oxygen does; but there is still another point to consider, and that is the effect of the mind on breathing.
Anger, fear, suspense, are all indicated by short, rapid breathing. People who are always sad and despondent are invariably shallow breathers. On the other hand, contented, well-poised, calm natures breathe deeply and systematically as a matter of course.
Knowing that the state of mind affects the breathing and the manner of breathing in turn affects the bodily health, one feels a combination of will and action especially desirable. Therefore, before commencing any breathing exercise, the mind should be calm, free from worry or any disturbing emotion, and the will used to breathe deeply for the purpose of taking in an especially large supply of oxygen.
To begin with, prove that you are breathing deeply by placing your hand lightly over the diaphragm and watching the effect on the muscles. If the muscles are not affected, try and try again until you know they are being exercised.
Then, standing erect, empty the lungs and slowly breathe until the lower parts of the lungs have been filled. Then fill the middle parts, and then the upper lungs. Hold the breath for an instant and exhale through the nostrils. Repeat and hold the breath while you count five, in the meantime pressing your shoulders back so you will increase the breathing space. Then exhale, counting the same number.
make this a difficult task by closing your teeth and forcing the
breath, but work easily, endeavouring to breathe rhythmically,
increasing the time of holding the breath until you count ten.
It is, of course, understood that in all deep breathing exercises the breath must be taken in through the nostrils, with the mouth kept tightly closed; but in exhaling the lips may be parted and the breath allowed to go out through the mouth.
people who have suffered for years from insomnia have been able to cure
this trouble by practicing breathing exercises after retiring,
insisting with every breath, "I am sleepy," until finally sleep comes.
One woman, who was cured by this process, declared that she felt like such a fool when she was practicing this exercise that she laughed every time she thought of it, and believed that this in itself had much to do with her recovery. Whether she was foolish or not, the fact remains that she was changed from a melancholy, emaciated, nervous wreck, with suicidal tendencies, to a normal being in a very short time.
before going on to the bigger things that seem so necessary to our
dream of accomplishment, we should all of us be possessed of sufficient
determination to breathe properly, and for health, every time we have
the opportunity - and that will mean several times a day.
Many exponents of thought-building insist that their students make every breathing exercise a thought exercise in the following manner: As you inhale the first five breaths, say "I am breathing in oxygen, the greatest known purifying agent; and thus helping every organ of the body" As you exhale these breaths, say, "I am thrusting out of the lungs the impure air; thus assisting in the work of elimination. With the next five breaths, assert. "As I take in the purifying oxygen, I am also breathing in the elements of success from the universal supply." As you exhale, declare, "I am casting out every destructive thought with as much ease as I eliminate this breath."
exercise four times a day, and by the end of the third day you will be
a convert. By the end of the week you will feel a new ambition, and in
a month you will be positively hungry for an opportunity to practice on
more difficult exercises, while you still use the breathing exercise as
a pleasant daily task.
CHAPTER 2 - THINKING
"Some people study all their lives and at their deaths have learned everything excepting how to think."
Once the attention has been called to the very simple act of breathing, it becomes evident to every intelligent mind that this act must be performed well if the body is to be kept in good condition. Breathing is, of course, a physical process, just as thought is a mental process. But for the one person who is careless about breathing we shall find one hundred who are admittedly and unreservedly careless in thinking.
One often hears it said; "I wouldn't have hurt her feelings for the world, but the thought popped into my mind and I blurted it out," or, "I do try, but I can't help thinking of all the trouble I have been through;" or, "I just can't help it when these thoughts come to me."
All excuses are poor ones. No one can make you think anything unless you choose to do so. No one can influence your thought unless you allow it. No thought of past happiness, nor of present misery, hate, revenge, and anger can possibly exist in your mind unless you allow your mind to become the worthless meeting place for your own destructive thoughts, as well as for those expressed by other people.
You desire to do much in this world, to become known, praised, appreciated; then, first of all, learn to think constructively. It means the beginning of everything.
True, you may mention instance after instance where men and women of evil minds, worse acts and bad influences have apparently been well, happy and prosperous. I say apparently, but that is all.
says: "Always pay; for first or last you must pay your entire debt.
Persons and events may stand for a time between you and justice, but it
is only a postponement. You must pay at last your own debt."
Dr. Charles Gilbert Davis. after years of observation, asserts emphatically:
"If a thought can in an instant of time dilate or contract a blood vessel; if it can increase or decrease the secretion of a gland; if it can hasten or retard the action of the heart; if it can turn the hair gray in a single night; if it can force tears from the eyes; if it can in an instant produce great bodily weakness; if it can produce insomnia; if, as has often occurred, it can bring instantaneous death; - then is it not natural for us to conclude, without further argument, that it may bring about a more or less continuous derangement of the physical organism that we call disease?
seen the most wonderful effects follow a fit of anger. After an
outburst of passion the function of every gland in the body is
impaired. Time and time again I have observed acute illness in an
infant when it was permitted to nurse immediately after the mother had
engaged in a quarrel, and on more than one occasion I have seen death
follow in a few hours.
standing army of the human body is the corpuscles of the blood. Upon
them we depend to heal the wounds, build new tissue and attack the
poisonous bacilli that may attempt to enter our systems.
"Thought produces disease because of its action on the corpuscles of the blood. These corpuscles are wonderfully influenced by the mind. An outraged conscience; hate, envy, anger, and fear crush the vitality out of them and leave the citadel of life exposed. But faith, hope, happiness and love create them and send them swarming through the body till every fibre and tissue throbs with life. This is demonstrated by the microscope."
Gates, a noted authority, speaking of the fact that so many people
endeavour to consider brains as accidents, and thoughts something over
which they have no control, writes as follows:
"Anybody may go into the business of building their own mind. The thinking organ undergoes perpetual changes in cell construction and is never finished.
"Even in old age it is not too late.
mind-builder systematically devote an hour each day to calling up
pleasant memories and ideas, Let them summon the finer feelings of
benevolence and unselfishness that are called up only now and then. Let
them take their regular exercise like the swinging of dumb bells. Let
them gradually increase the time devoted to the physical gymnastics,
giving them sixty or ninety per diem.
end of a month they will find the change in themselves surprising. The
alteration will be apparent in their actions and thoughts.
"It will have been registered in the cell structure of their brain. Cells useful for good thinking will have been well developed, while others productive of evil will have shrunk. Morally speaking, the person will be a great improvement on their former self"
authority after authority might be quoted, and all of them be found to
agree on these main points.
Scientists have proved that the only difference in the various forms of substance is in the degree of motion or vibration of the particles composing this substance.
as a result of thought and will, the tiny atoms are formed into
molecules and the molecules into electrons, the rapidity with which
they are formed being in proportion to the intensity of the desire and
the strength of will exerted to keep this desire constantly before one.
On this theory that "like attracts like," man thus has it within his power by the continuous use of right thought to attract to himself that which is needed for further development by the law of magnetic attraction.
Evil thinking can be, and is, equally productive--the system of development being the same--only, in the latter case, destructive thought is indulged in, and sooner or later the penalty for such indulgence must be paid. In connection with this idea, it will be seen that the quality of thought developed has also a beneficial or detrimental effect upon those to whom it is expressed.
In every neighbourhood examples will be seen of this, if one recalls the effect produced by noble characters, and by the words of encouragement they utter; or by the brilliant yet dissipated people and their effect on weaker natures, by reason of their witty though possibly obscene remarks.
One of the great reformers, who has done much in the way of teaching the power of thought, declares that the great reason it is so hard to help the unfortunate is not because they are such great sinners and lack will power, but because their minds are so filled with the thoughts of self-condemnation and self-pity that there is not left room for faith or hope.
The woman who would grow and develop, therefore, must consider her mind as a garden, which she has the opportunity to plant with beautiful flowers, that will shed their fragrance on those who come that way, or with noxious weeds that exhale their poisonous fumes on all the passers-by.
It is simply a matter of choice.
course have you decided to pursue?
A physician says. "In the maintenance of health and the cure of disease, cheerfulness is a most important factor. Its power to do good, like a medicine, is not an artificial stimulation, to be followed by reaction and greater waste; but the effect of cheerfulness is an actual life-giving influence through a normal channel, the results of which reach every part of the system. It brightens the eye, makes ruddy the complexion, brings elasticity to the step, and promotes all the inner force by which life is sustained. The blood circulates more freely, the oxygen comes to its home in these tissues, health is promoted and disease is banished."
Why studious, thoughtful and particularly good people have in the past felt it their duty to go about with care and responsibility written over their faces, and every expression that even looked like a smile tucked out of sight, has always been a mystery.
Why businessmen of large affairs feel that the wrinkled effect is the proper thing for their foreheads, and that lips drawn tightly together show determination, is also perplexing.
Why good-looking, attractive women persist in cultivating repose to such an extent that their faces are as expressionless as a mummy's is another surprise.
Just the mere act of smiling relaxes the muscles of the face, makes the eyes brighter and changes the entire atmosphere about one.
Of course, it goes without saying that well-bred people never parade their troubles, their ailments, or their disappointments; but that is no reason why they should tuck them away and repress them till their faces are an index to their mental condition.
Whether in the pulpit, or on the stage, in political, business, or social life, a magnetic personality and a winning smile that seems to indicate a true desire to be friendly, will do more to attract and hold popularity than any other one attribute.
In one of the largest stores in Chicago there is a floorwalker who is always surrounded by questioners. No matter what department people want to visit, they like to question this man because he answers in a manner so sincere that each person feels his interest. His popularity with his fellow-workers is equally great, and his being there is an asset to the store. He will be promoted certainly - for his smile and his manner have brought him from a ragged urchin who peddled papers, to errand and parcel boy, then to clerk, and now to this position.
There are many policemen in Chicago, and all of them undoubtedly try to do their duty, but some of them occasionally forget to smile. One policeman who is on duty in a very busy place never forgets that sunshine is much more popular than thunder-clouds, so there he stands, day after day, with a beaming smile and a nod, looking as though wet, cold, or burning days were mere incidents in his existence, and had no bearing on his temperament. He is only one of the many who are employed in the same work, yet at holiday times it is said that more than one thousand people make it a point to stop and offer a remembrance and wish him a Merry Christmas.
A large building, in which the elevator service is a serious business, had a man employed as "starter" who managed all the boys systematically, remembered every tenant by name, and was so uniformly cheerful that a keen businessman who had watched him for some time, finally made him an offer to manage a restaurant. He accepted and in a few short years became a part owner.
One very well known woman, noted for her style and her unmanageable temper, pays a large salary to one of her assistants, because the latter has never been known to lose her temper and she is so uniformly cheerful that her influence upon both the employees and the patrons is most beneficial.
A young widow, left alone with two small children, was given a position in a smart shop in the city. She possessed a cheerful disposition and declared that as "a smile was her best asset," she was going to use it. She, of course, was tactful and sensible, but that smile won her way past older employees into the manager's office. She became "Mrs. Manager," and today is owner of the smart shop.
A prominent physician, who is noted for his fashionable and wealthy following, was consulted recently by a young woman who was rich, beautiful, talented, happily married - and discontented, withal. After a careful examination, he said "Now, Mrs. Jones. I am going to hurt your feelings, because it is the only thing to do. Physically you are sound as can be. Mentally you are undeveloped. You are selfish, thoughtless, critical and morbid. Your only salvation is to become interested in the work of helping others, stop thinking of yourself, and begin being cheerful. It is your duty to every one of your friends. It costs you nothing to smile pleasantly, yet you smile as though it were an effort. Now unless you take this prescription and follow my advice I must decline to continue to be your physician. For a moment Mrs. Jones was angry, but she had confidence in the doctor, and so agreed to follow his advice.
When she opened the prescription she found the following advice: "Laugh heartily three times a day before meals - for effect on the liver. Smile at yourself in the mirror at least six times a day for exercise to facial muscles. Smile at everyone you meet for the effect on them. Walk five miles a day in the open air. Read nothing but optimistic literature, and practice thinking of others by helping someone every day,"
The reading of the prescription produced one good effect, for, though provoked, Mrs. Jones laughed, every time she thought of it she smiled, just for the novelty of the thing she also tried the advice, and today she is quoted as an example of the famous doctor's skill, for she is indeed a changed woman. Only she and the doctor know what her real ailment was and what the cure entailed.
Cheerfulness should be considered just as much a part of every day's task as talking. It is not only helpful to you because it means less strain on your energy when you can go through a day smiling, but it is also infectious and those about you soon take the spirit and vie with you as to which one can get the most pleasure out of life.
offers you new possibilities for practice - new people to practice
upon, and practice, as every one knows, makes perfect. Keep at this
practice constantly, until, finally, when you are checking up on your
good qualities you will be able to write in large letters as the
greatest aid to smooth running in your home and your business and your
daily life the one word - cheerfulness.
"Good thoughts are blessed guests and should be heartily welcomed, well fed, and much sought after. Like roses, they give out a sweet smell if laid up in the jar of memory."
Occasionally one will hear someone say, "I can't see any use in practicing constructive thinking. I wanted success and I thought success and never feared failure, and yet failure came to me."
Investigate such a case and you will find this person a tense, nervous body, flying into a temper at the slightest provocation, blaming everyone for everything that goes wrong, condemning without investigating and keeping the entire family upset; or they are one of the people who bears a grudge and wants to "get even" with somebody, or they are morose and despondent about some condition, or are indulging in self-condemnation. In short, no matter who they are, if they exhibit worry, impatience, strife, resentment, or keep themselves in a tense state repressing such emotions, they are developing a form of destructive thinking that will naturally prevent the development of their other mental pictures.
You may say: "But I do try not to feel angry or resentful or impatient. I do not worry and I do control myself, but a thought of this kind snatches me sometimes unawares, so what can I do but repress it instantly?"
Here is another mistake: Repressing is as bad as expressing in many ways, because all energy must be embodied in some form. The proper way to handle these numberless little daily irritations is neither to repress nor express the thought they provoke, but, instead, replace them with a constructive thought by making some assertion such as "These things have no power to upset me or take my ideas from success" or "No one can hurt me but myself; my enemies cannot harm me unless I allow them to do so:" or "I must not blame anyone. I cannot see all phases of the situation, hence I must believe he or she acted in a way that seemed best at the time" or "I am strong enough to handle any situation; this seeming annoyance is but a trial to see if my will power will sustain me."
By this system strong, helpful thoughts will so constantly replace the harmful ones that your idea of success will not be disturbed. The best musical instruments are those that have been so accustomed to the harmonious sounds produced by the masters that to play upon them is a joy; while to hear them is indeed a rare treat long to be remembered. It is for this reason that musicians will pay almost any price for a violin that has been played upon by a master.
The mind of a human being is much more sensitive than a violin and shows an immediate appreciation of harmonious thoughts constructively expressed by added power.
rule given for the use of the subconscious mind is to place the
conscious mind in a calm, positive condition, keep it well-poised and
free from agitation. This does not mean for a few moments each day, or
at night, or when expressing a desire: but, instead, maintaining this
condition each day and all day and always before going to sleep, so
that the conscious mind may rest and the subconscious may work without
Harmonious thought is always manifested in a beautifully attractive and magnetic personality. It is not the easiest thing to acquire, but once the habit is established the results will be so wonderfully pleasing that the work of securing it will never again be mentioned.
heated arguments, criticism of others, listening to or repeating petty
gossip or scandal, attending morbid plays, reading about and discussing
murders or stories of crime, living over past troubles, feeling
jealousy, envy, or the desire to get even with someone, all will result
in an inharmonious condition of mind. This, in turn, attracts more
inharmonious thoughts and leads to despondency.
All thought-energy produces a thought atmosphere that is instantly perceived by anyone who is in the least sensitive. Just as the magnet attracts certain metals and repels others, so you, by your harmonious or inharmonious mental condition, either attract or repel the people in sympathy with your mood.
The day that starts wrong can often be made right by a single effort of the will and the resolution not to be upset by trifles.
A simple and effective method for overcoming an inharmonious condition, brought about by immediate proximity with someone who is forcefully sending out destructive thoughts, or by your own carelessness in allowing these thoughts to remain in your mind, is to get away from everyone for a few moments, sit down, relax, breathe deeply and rhythmically for a few moments and insist that you are in harmony with the universe.
The constant repetition of the words, "I am harmony, I am harmony, I am harmony," has such a soothing effect that it is strange it is not often used.
Yet, because we take it for granted that people must indulge in destructive thoughts, no one is at all surprised when a relative or friend rushes wildly into a room, prances about, and exclaims, "I am so mad I can hardly stand it!" If the same person came in quietly declaring, "I am harmonious!" nearly everyone would look up in surprise, or whisper to one another, "Isn't she strange?"
Why? Merely because constructive thought is not used in everyday life by the majority of people, and so for that reason it is often well to think deeply and practice silently.
A very practical illustration of the use of harmonious thought, or indeed the use of any thought, is made by comparing its action with that of the wireless telegraph.
When this instrument was first proposed, the members of the "Can't Club" were positive it was not feasible. It was discussed, proposed, rejected, revived, criticized and finally tried. The moment a message was sent and received the public were wildly enthusiastic, and the doubters forgot they had ever had anything but faith in the venture.
Today, as a result of this invention, the doings of the world may be known by those in mid-ocean; the businessman keeps track of his affairs; thousands of lives are saved. Yet all these wonderful advances have been made possible only because man thought, believed, worked and proved that a wireless station erected on land could convey a sound wave to a station constructed on a liner in mid-ocean.
The sending of thought waves is just as plausible, equally possible, and as truly practicable, for they may be sent longer distances and they travel with greater velocity.
In this connection one must also bear in mind that a perfectly equipped wireless station must be able to send as well as receive messages. Unless your instrument is perfectly attuned and in harmony, you cannot send clearly, nor can you receive the messages of health, prosperity, strength, and abundance as forcibly as they are sent, and. most important of all, you separate yourself from your source of supply--Universal Consciousness--by getting out of vibration. As soon as you are able to bear these facts in mind you will make haste to banish even a trace of inharmony from your thoughts, for you will know that until you have acquired poise and self-control your progress will be retarded by your own mental condition.
One of the most eminent workers in this field of thought development states that he worked alone for five years before he saw the results he desired from his efforts, because he was associated during this time with strong-minded, sarcastic, critical and antagonistic people; however, he persevered until he overcame, and now he is teaching the rest of the world from his own experience.
You can make your wireless send out your messages of "Success" until your thought is recognized; or, if you so choose, you can spell "Failure." Some will receive your message and respond.
little woman who has overcome much on her road to prosperity tells me
she always thinks of her mind as a wireless station and she telegraphs
"Success," "Love," "Harmony," and "Wealth" waves every day of her life.
When things seem a little trying, she starts with "Harmony"; when
everything is smooth, she works hardest on "Success," and her messages
bring back the answers she desires in the way of better business, truer
friends, and more desirable acquaintances.
attracts like" is an infallible law in the thought world. If you desire
''Harmony," be harmonious yourself.