By guest author Morty Lefkoe
Why do so many people believe that they have to put in a lot of time and effort—and then need a lot of reinforcement—in order to produce a lasting change in their life?
People hold this belief because they have tried unsuccessfully to change a variety of things in their lives, such as eating junk food, not sticking to an exercise program, getting into relationships they know are bad for them, having negative feelings like anger and anxiety, and procrastination.
For people who have spent years trying a variety of techniques to produce a real change in their behavior or feelings, and they haven’t succeeded, it was reasonable for them to conclude: Change is difficult, if not impossible.
That’s why so many people hold this belief.
That leads us to the obvious question: Why is change so difficult?
Very often we know our current behavior doesn’t make logical sense and is self-defeating. We know what we should do instead. We know the value of change.
So why doesn’t all that information and motivation result in change?
People Who Know Reality Through Their Eyes
The answer to this question lies in how we know what we know. The overwhelming majority of people are visual, which means they know the truth about reality because they can see it.
“What do you mean you disagree with me, can’t you see that I’m right? Look at the evidence.”
So if you think you see something out there in the world, it must be true.
For those of you who have used the Lefkoe Belief Process to eliminate a belief, you’ll remember there is a place in the process where the facilitator says: “Imagine being a child and observing the events that led you to form the belief. Doesn’t it seem as if you can see your belief?”
The answer for visual people is always: “Yes, I can see it.” And that is why it is so difficult to get rid of old, limiting beliefs and the behavior they engender: Because we think we saw the belief out there in the world many times.
When mom and dad are critical, we think we can see I’m not good enough in their comments and behavior.
When mom and dad aren’t available when we want them, we think we can see I’m not important in their comments and behavior.
When mom and dad make all the decisions and what we want is ignored, we think we can see I’m powerless in their comments and behavior.
Later in life we use logic and a bunch of other techniques to try to erase the belief.
But our subconscious seems to be arguing: Maybe the belief doesn’t make sense, maybe it is self-defeating, maybe the behavior and emotions coming from the belief are ruining my life… but I saw it in the world, so it must be true.
What makes the Lefkoe Belief Process so effective is that it helps people realize that they actually never did see their belief in the world, that what they think they saw was, in fact, only one arbitrary interpretation of a series of events that has only existed in their minds.
For example, not being able to get mom and dad’s attention could mean I’m not important. It also could mean that mom and dad just had poor parenting skills or they felt uncomfortable around kids, and their behavior had nothing to do with my importance.
When we give meaning to events that have no inherent meaning, it seems as if we can see that meaning in the events. Therefore, that meaning (belief) must be true.
But, in fact, we don’t discover (see) the meaning in the events, we attribute the meaning to the events.
People Who Know Reality Through Their Feelings
For those people who know the truth through their feelings, earlier in their lives they felt the belief to be true. In other words, whenever mom and dad were critical, they didn’t see I’m not good enough, they felt I’m not good enough.
Why do such people trust their feelings to tell them the truth about reality? Because they think that their feelings are caused by reality, that their feelings tell them something about reality.
For example, if I feel uncomfortable with you and decide not to deal with you any more, why would I act on those feelings? Because I think there is something about you that is causing the feeling, so the feeling must be an accurate reflection of the way you really are.
For such people, using logic or motivation or most other techniques to get rid of beliefs doesn’t work because their subconscious is saying: But I felt (my belief) hundreds of times in the past, so it must be true despite evidence to the contrary right now.
Here the Lefkoe Belief Process helps people to realize that reality didn’t cause them to feel their beliefs; they caused the feeling by giving a particular meaning to the events that appear to cause the feeling.
In other words, the fact that mom and dad were disappointed or angry at you didn’t cause you to feel I’m not good enough.
You had to first say that those events meant I’m not good enough before you could feel that.
If you had said instead that mom and dad’s behavior meant: Mom and dad have unreasonable expectations of me and their frustration or anger has nothing to do with me, their same behavior would have made you feel that meaning, instead of I’m not good enough.
So the next time you are trying to change something in your life (or are trying to help a friend change), remember that change without getting rid of the beliefs that cause the current behavior or feelings is almost impossible.
And that change probably is difficult when you are convinced you either saw or felt the belief causing your current behavior or feeling on numerous occasions earlier in life.
When you realize you never saw your belief and you caused the feeling, not reality, your belief will just dissolve.
When you know how to produce lasting change, it actually is very quick and easy.
Thanks for reading my blog. I really would appreciate your comments and questions.
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[Thanks to Morty Lefkoe for this article, provided specifically for Talent Development Resources.]
Another article: Why Self-Help Often Doesn’t Work … And What Does By Morty Lefkoe
“How many times have you attended a personal growth workshop, or listened to a self-help audio course, or viewed a set of DVDs designed to change your life? … And how many times did you get a high when you completed the program … that dissipated shortly, leaving you almost where you were before you started? Based on what many of you have told me, an awful lot of you. Why don’t these courses that usually offer such valuable information produce lasting change?”
A profile by the Institute of Noetic Sciences notes that Morty Lefkoe “made a series of discoveries that allowed him to help people make permanent changes in their emotions and behavior.” He is founder of The Lefkoe Method, available in the programs
ReCreate Your Life – Try the method for free.
See more bio information and articles by Morty Lefkoe.