by MORTY LEFKOE on MARCH 22, 2011
In order to understand precisely what it takes to get rid of beliefs, you need to understand how we form beliefs.
Because our survival as human beings is always at stake (even though our spiritual being is eternal), we have a built in survival mechanism that has us constantly asking about everything we encounter: Good for me or bad for me? Conducive to my survival or inimical to my survival? In other words, we are constantly appraising everything we come in contact with and asking (unconsciously): What does this mean?
As children we want to know why mom and dad (on whom our lives depend) are angry with us, or why they aren’t around when we want them, or why we can never seem to please them. For most kids between the ages of two and six, the answers to these three questions usually are: Mistakes and failure are bad. I’m not important. I’m not good enough.
Here’s how the beliefs are formed
After asking ourselves: What do these events mean?—we then “make up” one possible meaning. And then we “attribute” that meaning to the events, after which it seems as if the meaning is inherent in the events. In other words, it then seems to us as if we discovered the meaning in the events.
Because the overwhelming majority of people are “visual”—in other words, they know reality based on what they can “see”—they know their beliefs are true because they think they can see them in the world. Once you think you can see something, logic will never talk you out of what you think you have seen “out there.”
Let’s apply what I’ve just explained about how beliefs are formed to the most common belief people have, I’m not good enough. Mom and dad want quiet. Young kids are rarely quiet. Mom and dad want the house to be neat. Kids are rarely neat. Mom and dad want to serve dinner when it’s ready and leave the house when they are ready to leave the house. Kids are busy playing and doing what they want to do; mealtime and leaving the house are not always a priority for them. As a result, many times each day children do not live up to their parents’ expectations.
At best parents respond with annoyance and frustration, expressed in facial expressions, a tone of voice, and comments like: “What’s wrong with you?” “How many times do I have to tell you?” “Don’t you ever listen?” (At worst, parents use physical abuse and other punishments.)
When a child asks herself, what does it mean that she is not doing what her parents want repeatedly and what do her parents’ responses mean, the answer 99% of all children give is: I’m not good enough. (My associates and I have talked to well over 13,000 clients who have told us this.)
If she actually were not good enough, her parents’ responses to her behavior would make sense. In other words, this belief is a reasonable interpretation of mom and dad’s response to her when she is a very young child.
Here is the important part: Once she gives this meaning to the events, it seems to her as if her meaning (her belief) is inherent in the events—as if when she looks at the events she is discovering the meaning “out there” in the world. Once that happens, her belief about the way the world is becomes an entrenched “fact.”
Most of the techniques designed to get rid of beliefs never deal with how the belief got formed and what a belief actually is: A statement about reality that it seems you saw in reality. And because you think you saw your beliefs, you will hold on to them—despite understanding logically that the belief isn’t true and despite understanding that it is self-defeating to continue to hold on to the belief. It is virtually impossible to not believe something you think you “saw.”
How to get rid of the belief
So how can you eliminate the belief quickly, easily, and permanently? Here are the simple steps.
Take a look at a given belief and realize it is one “valid” interpretation of your experiences. And then realize that there are other possible interpretations that hadn’t occurred to you at the time you formed the belief, but, nevertheless, could just as easily account for the events. At which point you realize your belief is “a truth” and not “the truth.”
Then the crucial part comes: Put yourself back into the events that led to the belief and, as you look at them, ask yourself: Doesn’t it seem as if I can “see” [the belief]? The answer for visual people will always be: “Yes. And you would have seen it too if you had been there.”
Then ask yourself: Did I really “see” it? Because if you really saw it, you would be able to describe it: color, shape, location, etc. When you realize that you can’t describe it, you immediately realize that, in fact, you never really “saw” the belief. You only saw events, but the meaning of the events—in other works, the beliefs you formed about the events—existed only in your mind.
At this point, for most visual people, the belief is gone. It existed and resisted being extinguished because you thought you had seen it. As soon as you realize you never saw it, that it existed only in your mind, it is no longer something you thought you discovered and saw in the world; it is only one interpretation of many possible interpretations that has existed only in your mind.
As the final clincher, ask yourself if the events that led to the formation of the belief have any inherent meaning. Did they have any meaning before you give them a meaning? By that I mean, can you draw any conclusion for sure from these events? You will quickly realize that the events that led to your belief have many different possible meanings; there is no one meaning that is inherently true. So, while the events might have had consequences at the time they happened, they have no inherent meaning. Any meaning exists only in your mind, not in the world.
At that point, for predominantly visual people, the belief is permanently gone.
Emotionally kinesthetic people are slightly different
The scenario is slightly different for those people who are not visual, who are primarily emotionally kinesthetic. If you are one of these people, you don’t know reality primarily based on what you see, but based on what you feel. If you feel something a lot, it must be true. Why would you be having a feeling over and over if there weren’t something in the world causing it?
These people—when asked: Didn’t it seem as if you saw [your belief]?—answer: “I don’t know what you mean by seeing it; I felt it.”
Here’s how to get rid of a belief if this describes how you function. Ask yourself if the events that caused the belief made you feel [the words of the belief]. The answer will be, yes
Then remind yourself that you had said earlier that the events had no inherent meaning and ask yourself: Is it possible for events that have no inherent meaning to make you feel anything? The answer, of course, is no. So if the events that seemed to have caused the feeling didn’t cause the feeling, what did?
The answer is simple: the meaning you had previously given the events. In other words, the feeling is the result of the belief you had formed. If you had given the events a different meaning, that different meaning would have produced a different feeling. The way to prove this is to imagine the earlier events, observing them as a participant, and then giving the events one of the alternative interpretations you had given the events earlier in the process.
When you do that the “feeling of the belief” is gone.
It becomes clear that having the feeling of the belief repeatedly tells you nothing about the validity of the feeling, because the feeling was not caused by events in the world. It was caused totally by you, by the meaning you already had given the events.
When you say the words of the belief at that point, they will sound meaningless and silly. The belief will be gone.
To summarize: Beliefs are statements about reality that we feel are the truth, that are facts about the world. We are convinced our beliefs are true because we think we saw them in the world and because we felt them so often that they must be true (or else why would we have felt them so often?). Once we realize we never saw the beliefs in the world, that they were only in our mind, and that the feelings we had repeatedly were only because of meanings we gave meaningless events—the beliefs will be gone forever.
Getting rid of beliefs quickly, easily, and permanently is actually very easy when you understand how beliefs are formed and what it takes to eliminate a belief. And now you understand that.
We are in the process of creating an on-line training where you can become proficient in each of the steps of the Lefkoe Belief Process for eliminating beliefs. If you are interested in receiving advance notification, please let me know.
If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to http://www.recreateyourlife.com/freewhere you can eliminate one negative belief free.
Copyright © 2011 Morty Lefkoe