Since we first offered belief-elimination programs on the Internet last November many people have said to me: The source of the beliefs you give in the belief-elimination videos might be the source for most people, but not all are true for me. Please help me find the source of my beliefs.
So I decided to devote this week’s blog post to providing you with the principles we teach Certified Lefkoe Method facilitators so that you will be more effective in finding the source of your beliefs when the sources we suggest on the videos aren’t true for you.
1. Beliefs are almost always a logical interpretation you make of earlier events. A belief is the meaning you give to events that have no inherent meaning. So the most obvious way to find the beliefs of the earlier events is to ask yourself: What possibly could have happened that would have led to this belief being formed? What might mom and dad have done or said repeatedly that would have had me conclude (the words of the belief)?
2. If the belief is a self-esteem belief—in other words, a belief about oneself such as I’m not important, I’m not good enough, or I’m powerless—then the source of the belief is almost always in interactions with parents (or very rarely other full-time caretakers), before age six.
3. The source of a belief is rarely one or two incidents; it is usually a pattern of events, for example, the way you are treated by your parents daily, not the couple of times something “big” happened. Look for the nature of your relationship with your parents, rather than for specific incidents, although the incidents might be most real to you and can be used to eventually get to the pattern of behavior and the on-going relationship. Obviously, traumatic events like rape or seeing someone killed can, in themselves, lead to a belief.
4. For most people, the source of I’m not good enough, I’m inadequate, I’m not capable, I’m not competent, Nothing I do is good enough, Mistakes and failure are bad, and several other similar beliefs was your parents’ frequent dissatisfaction or anger when you weren’t doing what they wanted, when they wanted, or the way they wanted. You heard things like: Don’t you ever learn? How many times do I have to tell you? What’s wrong with you?
5. The question to ask is: What are the earliest events that could be the source of the belief? Self‑esteem beliefs almost always can be traced to the first six years of life with your primary caretakers. On the other hand, other types of beliefs are frequently formed later in life (for example, when you get your first job you form beliefs about work and when you get involved in your first relationships you form beliefs about relationships). So don’t assume that all beliefs can be traced to early childhood.
6. Try to get concrete events as the source of a belief, rather than interpretations, for example, my parents yelled at me and hit me, rather than my parents were upset with me or didn’t like me. If you can’t remember any concrete events after looking, but you do have a clear sense of the source of a belief, such as, my parents didn’t care about me, come up with specific behaviors your parents exhibited that meant to you that they didn’t care. This way you will have something to work within the “seeing” and “kinesthetic” steps of the Lefkoe Belief Process.
7. Sometimes people will have no memory whatsoever of their childhood before the age of six or seven. Because most self‑esteem, sense of self, and sense of life beliefs seem to have been formed before that age, this situation can present a potential difficulty. In such a case it frequently is possible to get a good sense of what must have happened in your childhood by using the following technique:
Recall whatever you can of your relationship with your parents. What were the personality and behavior patterns of your parents at whatever age you can remember? If there were any later siblings, how did your parents deal with the younger brother or sister? When you have a good sense of your parents, ask: How would they have acted with you when you were two?—and then describe the behavior typical to a two-year-old. What about when you were three? Etc.
Typical childhood situations include: not putting things away; making noise; not doing what parents wanted, when parents wanted, the way parents wanted; not doing chores; parents not being around at all or being around physically but not emotionally; not having any say about what you did; not being held and kissed; not being acknowledged for what you did; being compared unfavorably with siblings or others.
Almost every client with whom I’ve tried this has been able to make real how her parents treated her before the age of six by imagining how her parents must have acted in specific typical childhood situations, based on a knowledge of her parents at a later age that is real for her.
Because I remember virtually nothing before the age of six, this is the technique I‘ve used to eliminate all my beliefs that were formed in childhood.
8. You might have a hard time finding the source of a belief because you are uncomfortable about criticizing your parents. Some of my clients constantly talk about how wonderful their parents were and say they can’t imagine anything their parents did or said that could have led them to conclude anything negative about themselves or life.
In such cases, I emphasize that their parents did the best they could, that the point of the Lefkoe Belief Process is not to make their parents wrong, that something in their life must have happened that led to the belief in question and that the dysfunctional pattern they now have is not the result of anything their parents did, but, instead, is the result of their interpretation of what their parents did. To avoid this problem I usually explain this before asking the clients about the events that lead to the belief.
9. It also is important to realize that even if 90% of a child’s interactions with his parents were “positive,” and only 10% “negative,” the child will still try to make sense out of the 10% and can reach negative conclusions about himself.
10. It is important to understand that the belief made sense at the time it was formed. It was a logical interpretation, one that most people (most children, in the case of beliefs formed in childhood) who had the same experiences would have made. You didn’t make a mistake in forming the belief. It was actually a brilliant abstraction that integrated a great many disparate events that hadn’t made sense before.
11. Sometimes you might feel strongly that there are two different sources of a belief, one from parents at home and one from early school. You are not sure if you had formed the belief before starting school. In such a case, use the earlier source. If the belief is not eliminated, then go through the program again using the later events as the source.
12. Although survival strategy beliefs are interpretations of events, like any other belief, there is something unique about the way they are formed. See my blog post on May 26, 2009, that describes survival strategy beliefs in detail.
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Copyright © 2009 Morty Lefkoe