My friend said to me: “I don’t believe you.  You are in total denial.”

I had been having a conversation with my friend and I had just told him about a “difficult” circumstance in my life that hadn’t upset me.  He replied with a bit of righteousness that that circumstance was upsetting and, if I wasn’t upset, I had to be in denial.

Most people can’t grasp “no meaning”

Most people in the world think that events cause us to have specific feelings.  Very few people understand, much less have experienced directly, that events have no inherent meaning and thus cannot cause feelings.  They aren’t aware that we automatically and unconsciously give meaning to meaningless events and it is that meaning that causes most of our feelings.

As a result when I, or anyone else who is able to dissolve meaning easily and quickly, says that we aren’t upset by an event that most people consider to be upsetting, the only logical possible explanation for them is that we are in denial.

After years of depression, neediness, loneliness, and general unhappiness, I am finally totally at peace with myself and with life.  I feel as though it has all turned out.  Although I still have things I would like to accomplish (in fact, more than I have time for), there is nothing more that I need to be happy.  I am happy, as my friend Marci Shimoff says in her book, “for no reason at all.”  (Happy for No Reason)

I still have occasional incidents like the one I wrote about a few weeks ago where I get upset because I can’t immediately find the meaning causing the upset.  But I almost always do eventually and I’m able to dissolve the meaning and the feelings stemming from the meaning in a relatively short time.

Don’t settle

The purpose of today’s post is to remind you that there is a way to experience life that most people do not think possible—a way that is unimaginable to most people.  Actually that way of living is possible for anyone who eliminates the beliefs and conditionings that keep them stuck, and who learns how to dissolve the meanings they give to meaningless events.

Don’t settle for less than is possible for you.  Your dreams can come true.  In fact, you can have more than you dreamed possible.  Please, never, ever give up. 

This week’s exercise

Try the following exercise for seven days.

Whenever you think that your circumstances are upsetting you, or your goals are frightening you, or your relationships are annoying you, remind yourself that these circumstances, goals and relationships are not the source of your negative feelings.  You are.

As long as you think something outside of you is the source of a problem, your ability to resolve the problem is severely diminished.  As soon as you recognize that you are the source of the problem, your ability to resolve the problem is significantly enhanced.

Please comment on this post and write your results from the exercise.

Your comments and questions increase the value we all receive.  I read them all and respond to as many as I can.

If you found this post useful, please tell your friends and followers by using the buttons at the top of this post

If you haven’t yet eliminated at least one of your limiting self-esteem beliefs using the Lefkoe Belief Process, go to

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Copyright ©2012 Morty Lefkoe


  1. kayla July 18, 2013 at 10:04 am - Reply

    The part of “if your goals are frightening you” really stood out for me. Because when realise and accept you CAN achieve all your dreams, the responsibility gets kind of like ..woah! But like you said, anyone can achieve if they never give up!

  2. Jerry Grad December 19, 2012 at 9:08 am - Reply

    Your description of your life now is as one of peace, has a Greek word that may describe it more accurately. It is called autotelic – auto (self) and telos (goal). It means doing something for its own reward. You derive happiness from the very act itself. That may be the ultimate definition of happiness.

  3. mina December 9, 2012 at 11:58 am - Reply

    I can largely believe what you have said above. However, if my dog dies, I am sad because I will not be able to enjoy her or her me, for the rest of my time on earth. I will miss her. I struggle to see how that is me giving meaning to that event. Help me here please.

    • Morty Lefkoe December 9, 2012 at 1:12 pm - Reply

      Hi Mina,

      If you focus on missing her, you will be sad. If you focus on the wonderful times you had with her, you will feel grateful and happy. The choice is yours.

      Love, Morty

  4. KenH December 6, 2012 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Hi Morty!
    I enjoy your posts so much but I’m having a hard time applying the principles in my daily life. For example, Last night we went to the drugstore to pick up some items. I asked my fiance’s 10 year old niece to help my shop because I have a disability and it is sometimes difficult for me to shop alone. My fiance stated that I should take her 15 year old nephew in with me instead because there is no way a ten year old could remember all the items we needed. The implication of her statement to me was that she felt I could not remember the items either. I became very upset and told her my feelings about the meaning of her statement. She responded that, in fact, she was not sure if I could remember to get all the items that we needed. Let me clarify some things and let you know it was not a huge number of items that we needed to purchase. She says stuff like this to me all the time and it hurts my feelings. What am I to do in a situation like this? I am so tired of being upset and angry with her.

    • Morty Lefkoe December 6, 2012 at 10:56 am - Reply

      Hi Ken,

      What does it mean that she thinks you can’t remember a few items, even if you can? What does it mean about her, you, your relationship? That she thinks you can’t remember is a function of her beliefs and occurrings. It has no meaning.

      When you get that you will stop being upset and angry.

      Love, Morty

  5. Bianca December 6, 2012 at 5:49 am - Reply

    Bon dia Morty,
    thank you for sharing your insights so freely. A lot of the posts are about not attaching meaning to apparently unpleasant events. But have you ever written a blog on the fact that you should do the same with seemingly good events? I have been blessed in my life in the sense that for the most part i seem to encounter a lot of love, friendship and positive energy, both personally and in my work. For a while I made the mistake of thinking that that must mean i’m good and nice because people like me, and I modified my behaviour to get more of that “drug”. Imagine the shock when I first ran into someone who didn’t shower me with praise and affection, as will happen in anyone’s life. Fortunately around that time I found your blog. Now I no longer let other people’s opinions, good or bad, define how i feel about myself and how I react to them. I kind of know my own good and bad points. They are my center and I am no longer buffeted upwards by kindness (for which people can have many other motivations than that you are a good person, watch it girls) nor down by criticism which both of themselves have no inherent meaning. Can you tell me if this is part of the Lefkoe method too?
    Love and strength,

  6. E December 5, 2012 at 3:54 pm - Reply

    I was taught to stuff my anger as a child. it didnt go away, i simply didnt experience the anger. As a result, i endured some painful situations in a marriage that lasted too long because i kept putting my rose colored glasses on. Until I couldnt anymore. Reality exists. Everything is not about the meaning i choose to attach to it or not. Other people attach meaning and they say or do things and you need to be able to understand their intended meanings and then, yes, you can choose your response to it but you cant change the meaning they chose to attach and you need to make decisions accordingly. For example, if someone steps on your foot when they realize it, because of your outcry, they will often turn and say I’m sorry, after removing their foot. it was an accident. You can attach greater meaning as if they did it on purpose and get upset or you can go with the stated apology- you can choose what meaning you attach. However, when the action was intentional, as a sideways attack on you, you need to recognize the bullying for what it is and deal with it. Attaching an “accident” meaning to the event will most likely lead to an escalation on the bully’s part. When someone hurts you, you need to handle the event and process the intended meaning as accurately as possible. If the hurt was accidental, maybe you cant afford to be around such klutziness (whether physical or emotional). If the hurt was intentional, all the detachment of meaning you try to apply will do is get you more hurt. So I think there are limits to your line of reasoning. Please explain. I tried to post to comments on “am I in denial” post but posting went to a 404 page

    • Morty Lefkoe December 5, 2012 at 5:12 pm - Reply

      Hi E,

      Sorry you had difficulty posting. I posted your question for you so others could see both your question and my response.

      It can be difficult to get the idea of “no meaning” merely from reading about it. Often you actually have to experience it. One easy way to do that is to eliminate at least one belief using the Lefkoe Belief process. You can do that without charge at

      In the meantime, I’ll try to clarify what I meant: People’s motivations have nothing to do with the fact that events have no meaning. Events having no meaning means that you can’t draw any conclusion from an event. You don’t know anything more as a result of an event other than that it happened.

      So if someone consciously and deliberately hurts you, what do you know other than he consciously and deliberately hurt you? You don’t know what he will do next time, what anyone else will do, what will happen to you in the future, whether this person will hurt anyone else, the way life is, etc. All you know for sure is that it happened. And if the person doesn’t tell you he is hurting you deliberately, you can’t know merely from the fact you got hurt what the other person’s motivation was.

      Also, you do not require meaning to take action. If you lost your job, it doesn’t mean that it was a disaster or that it was an opportunity. The event has no meaning. And yet you still need to go out and get a new job.

      Eliminate one belief and experience that the source of the belief has no meaning.

      Then let me know if what I’m saying is clear or if you still have any questions.

      Thanks for joining the conversation.


      • E December 23, 2012 at 7:09 pm - Reply

        Morty, can you not post this reply, number one, and either remove my question and your reply or change the name on it. I didn’t intend to have my whole name linked on a posting and am being careful about internet privacy. you could substitute just E, if you would. Thanks

  7. Darl December 1, 2012 at 7:19 am - Reply

    Thanks for the great insight Morty. I did struggle with “no meaning” when I went through the beliefs in your natural confidence program. I understood it finally, with repetition. This process is truly amazing and has changed my life in ways I can’t express. This post is a great reminder of how I can deal with the issues I’m faced with on a daily basis. It’s so liberating.
    I’m working on Shelly’s parenting program now so I can learn how not to continue to teach the beliefs I learned as a child to my children. Morty, I am so glad I found you and Shelly. My life and the life of my family has changed tremendously as a result.

    Thank you,

    • Morty Lefkoe December 4, 2012 at 12:55 pm - Reply

      Hi Darl,

      Glad to hear you are using Shelly’s parenting course. Let us know how it changes your parenting.


    • Shelly December 7, 2012 at 1:29 pm - Reply


      My dream is for people to do Natural Confidence and then do the parenting work so thank you, thank you, thank you for your email. I actually cried with joy because this is what will change the world! Thank you for being a concious parent and stopping the chain of dysfunction with your kids.

      • Darl December 7, 2012 at 7:42 pm - Reply

        You’re welcome Shelly, natural confidence has certainly made my wife and I better people. It only makes sense to us that we work to be more effective parents. Thank you both so much for your hard work because what you’re teaching is effective and does work. We’ve tried many ideas in the past and what you’re doing gets to the root of the problem and produces results that work!
        I’ve talked to my brother about what I’ve learned from natural confidence and directed him to Morty’s web site. I plan on doing the same with my other family members.
        I recently finished a public speaking class in college and my final speech was a persuasive speech. Not only did I get an “A” on the speech and the class, but there were two other side effects; one, going through natural confidence while taking the class helped me tremendously with public speaking, and two, the instructor told me she went to your web site as a result. Many of the students in the class showed great interest as well.
        It only seems natural to me that since natural confidence has worked so well for me, I just have to share my experience with the other people in my life. I am confident the parenting work will inspire me to do the same. Thank you so much again for your work, it is truly amazing.


        • Shelly December 7, 2012 at 11:23 pm - Reply

          You rock! I wish they would talk about people like you on the news. That would inspire us rather than the horrible stuff we are subjected to. Thanks for sharing our work. Let’s help all the kids have healthy parents!

          With respect and admiration for your journey,

  8. Almog November 30, 2012 at 9:59 am - Reply

    Singmund Freud would also say that you are in denial, but his days are long gone. Albert Bandura would also say that your circumstances are upsetting you, but you prove they aren’t.
    I just imagine how people’s lives would look and how they would behave if they all make this simple distinction between reality and their feelings…
    The awareness for The Lefkoe Method must be maximized.

  9. Heather November 29, 2012 at 8:03 am - Reply

    This is so true, Morty! And something I have been dealing with recently. People really seem to disbelieve that events have no inherent meaning; plus it seems to me that a lot of folks just plain don’t want to take responsibility for their thoughts and feelings. It’s easier to blame.

    I have found myself on people’s “bad list” just because they thought something I said had a different meaning, or because they thought I did or supported something that I actually had nothing to do with. Some people also seem to have hair-trigger defenses and perceive anything I say and do as a personal slight. I can’t walk on eggshells all the time. It shows me how much we all tend to live in our minds though! More people definitely need to discover your wonderful method of leaving those old thought patterns behind.

    Success this morning! A train blocked the road while I was on my way to work. My first thoughts were, “Oh, no. Now I’ll be late. This stupid railroad, they always run trains at the worst times. I’ll bet they do it on purpose!” Then I stopped. “Wait a minute,” I thought. “It’s just a train. I like trains. These people don’t mean anything by moving a train. It’s their job. I should try to be a little earlier so I won’t be so pressed for time.” Poof! The occurring was gone. :)

  10. James November 28, 2012 at 11:58 am - Reply

    If we’re being literal, you are “in denial,” defined as a state where you claim (with various levels of congruence or conflict) that something is not true or doesn’t apply.

    “Yes, that’s right: denial, only without conflict.”

    The problem with denial is that it’s usually used half-headed-ly: “It’s not true. Is it? No, it’s not. Or is it?”

  11. Az November 28, 2012 at 11:31 am - Reply

    Thank you. This came to my email at the perfect time. I have been thinking about whenever something upset me and how I dealt with it. I came to realize that whenever I experienced each upset as something that had nothing to do with me, I went thru the experience easily. The loss was felt, yet the journey and the experience was not destructive. I feel at those times I was connected with God and my Higher Self. On the other hand when I was not operating from my Higher Self and did not have faith that all that happens is for a purpose in life, I personalized the incident/event, got tangled up in blame, guilt, etc., and didn’t experience it joyfully or easily . I know that each upset can be cause/reason or a call for me to connect with my Higher Self, my faith, and that moment could be a moment of even joy and celebration. Things do happen to end relationships, etc., that do not serve us anymore, to awaken us to tap into resources and opportunities that are available to us , things and people and events that serve us better. Each upset is an invitation to a new beginning.

  12. Oliver November 28, 2012 at 10:21 am - Reply

    Great article
    It sounds very obvious, but ‘nothing has meaning except the meaning you give it’, and this includes situations and events as well.

    Not easy though, when the event can be something like abuse or worse…this can take years to heal…

    But I understand the principal of this article very well. And using this principal (in my opinion) healing takes place a lot quicker;-)

    • James November 28, 2012 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Emotional wounding is the equivalent of holding your finger on the “Danger-pain” button. The instant you lighten your touch, you’ll feel relief.

      I know, it’s complicated- but know that it’s practically instant (allowing a minute for the physiology to sort itself out, but even that can be made to feel better.)

  13. Fran November 28, 2012 at 9:23 am - Reply

    To Applying the Law of Attraction:

    I was speaking more in terms of allowing the loss of the financial investment made in the car, the time commitment to search for a new car, dealing with the insurance company, etc. be upsetting and stressful which when you view those things as upsetting , can be, because you have chosen to respond to them in that way.

    The accident was during a storm and several cars were involved. Could my teenager’s driving more carefully prevented it? Perhaps. We can worry and be afraid of losing our children every time they go behind the wheel, attend a party, etc. However, responding to the situation with upset and worry, at least in my view, was not going to help the situation and help my teenager and me deal with it. My teenager will hopefully learn a lesson since he has not been able to drive as much and will be taking a defensive driving course. The situation was a loss of a car. I chose not to get upset and fearful about possibly losing my child because that did not happen and I would be thinking about what might have happened in a worst case scenario. I know my wife and other mothers do alot of worrying and thinking oh no or what if. The majority of things worried about never even come to pass. I think as a parent we can do our best to give direction and set a good example. I have not stopped completely worrying or fearing the worst at times but I do think such a reaction is not particularly helpful. Perhaps my example when a child was involved made my point tougher to accept. Let’s say I was coming into work and someone carelessly cut me off without signalling. I have a choice to react with road rage, become filled with anger and starting cursing the other driver. I could say his actions caused my reaction. Ultimately, his careless driving was just an event. I am ultimately the souce of my upset emotions. I could react with a deep breath, say a prayer his driving improves, conclude he must be in hurry to help someone, etc. There is a time between stimulus and response. We assign the meaning to an event. We decide how we react and what emotions we have. In regards to the accident, I can be grateful that no one is hurt, that my child has an opportunity to learn a lesson and improve his driving and that he will be that much safer in the future.

  14. Fran November 28, 2012 at 7:55 am - Reply

    Viktor Frankl in his book , “Man’s Search for Meaning” discusses this concept. Between stimulus and response there is a space and in that space we have the power to choose our response. We have attached meaning to certain situations out of habit. However, we do not have to perpetuate self imposed misery. Similar to Lexi. I have had car issues. A brand new car was recently totaled by my teenager. Fortunately, there was no injuries. Rather than lamenting the loss of car and the perceived hasssles ahead, I made a choice not to let the situation bother me. Knowing that you have a choice in responding to situations no matter what they are is ultimately very freeing.

    • Applying the Law of Attraction November 28, 2012 at 8:29 am - Reply

      Hi Fran,

      Perhaps I’m not reading your post properly but… I have a question. Does making the choice to not let it bother you include not letting your chld know how afraid you are that you might have lost them, or perhaps that they were driving in an irresponsible manner? I’m trying to figure out where the line is as we practice these principles. We certainly don’t want to enable our kids but we don’t want to over react either.

      I’m very pleased your child was not hurt in the accident.

      • Bianca December 4, 2012 at 7:40 am - Reply


        I am learning so much from these posts. The question you have is very relevant to me, since I am raising a teenage girl myself, i.e. never a dull moment. It seems to me that many people mistake not giving meaning to events with apathy. I understand Morty’s views (if I’m wrong please correct me) to mean that you will not see what happened as inherently good or bad, bt as something to work with. Thus, you will not scream at your teenager because of your fear, or smother them because of your relief, or hit them because of frustration. You will live with them through the experience, giving them the full benefit of your calm discussion about your principles. If ou try to impress these principles on them while you are screaming, smothering or hitting, they will definitely not gain anything; this way they might. :) love and strength,

        • Morty Lefkoe December 4, 2012 at 12:59 pm - Reply

          Hi Bianca,

          You got it! Yes, dissolving occurrings and not giving meaning to events can make a profound difference in your parenting … and how your kids turn out.

          Love, Morty

  15. Applying the Law of Attraction November 28, 2012 at 7:51 am - Reply

    I am so grateful I found your blog!

    Limiting beliefs have created so many challenges in my life and even after much study and meditation, I still experience those feelings of anger, frustration, and fear.

    I will give your exercise some practice and be back for more.

    • Morty Lefkoe December 4, 2012 at 12:57 pm - Reply


      Study and meditation will not eliminate your feelings of anger, frustration and fear. Getting rid of the beliefs and conditionings that cause them will eliminate them permanently.

      Love, Morty

  16. Lexi November 28, 2012 at 7:13 am - Reply

    Well, if you are in denial, then I must be too. There are four cars in our household and last week, all but one broke down. One on the freeway, on elate at night, and one at home.

    There was a time when I would have been REALLY upset and worried. OMG, why me!? What about the cost, never mind the frustration of dealing with towing, blah blah blah, on and on……

    Today, it’s just what is. No meaning, in fact, if I attach any meaning to it, I think there must be a positive!! Oh boy, now I get to learn something about how my clutch works! Just think of the new people I get to meet as a result of this! Maybe the tow driver or the shop guy will become a friend or an ally in the future!

    I always say that there is no such thing as failure. Only outcomes. And outcomes have no meaning, except what we choose to give them.

    Al usual, Morty you are right on. Keep up your good work, it helps people.

  17. Thomas November 28, 2012 at 5:51 am - Reply

    yes your in denial man, lmao, I couldn’t resist. Kinda makes ya think that in our quest for a more “civil” culture have we gone backwards in some ways ? I know all about these emotional trigger’s but I have to wonder if freud simply made it all up ???? I made that point to someone who objected to a photo contest involving shots from hurricane sandy. First thing she said was I feel, omg.

  18. Mary November 28, 2012 at 4:00 am - Reply

    Thank you for this. I often wonder if this is only learned “the hard way”. (Pain as the portal to enlightenment, etc.) Then I remember a tiny incident years ago, when I was teaching elementary school.
    Waiting in line to enter the library with my art students, a second grade boy complained to me that “(he) stole my spot in line!” He was very upset and the boy who had taken his spot was clearly pleased to have caused this reaction.
    I said to the upset boy, “Are you sure that spot in line is that important to you? What if you didn’t care about being in that spot. What if you decided not to care so much? What would happen?”
    I’ve seen a lot of “aha” moments in teaching but this took the cake. He simply walked up to the offending student with a big smile and said, “I really don’t care”. And then happily stood with another friend. I can’t really describe the look on the other boy’s face accurately. Maybe it was shock, as in one fell swoop he had lost all of his power over the other boy.
    I think of this “practical detachment” often and wonder why I don’t apply it to my own life more.

  19. Greg Smither November 28, 2012 at 3:55 am - Reply

    very cool, again I’m reminded why I love sharing your ideas.
    Today’s a better day for me as a result .

  20. Vidya November 28, 2012 at 3:45 am - Reply

    Totally agree with u…

  21. frances cranton November 28, 2012 at 3:29 am - Reply

    thanks Morty,it as took me a long while to come to this very conclusion,I dont know why is it because sometimes I feel the frusrrations and pain of others hence I let it affect me what am I afraid of letting go?I must say when others behave or act in a certain way I can now realise that this is their frustrations,emotions to deal with,but also they are being my greatest teacher at the same time!

  22. Sumeet November 28, 2012 at 1:45 am - Reply

    While it is important to identify the cause of meaning inside of us, it is equally important not to blame ourselves for giving the event ‘that’ meaning. A lot of us set very high standards for ourselves and we don’t give ourselves enough freedom and compassion to be a human being with all its contingent frailties

    • Sabrina November 28, 2012 at 8:58 am - Reply

      I agree completely. So often we berate ourselves for not being ‘perfect’, controlled and losing control at times lets us see that there is something to look at, as to how we can meet our needs and create possibility where we feel resigned, hopeless, fed up, frustrated. Like any friction, that’s where transformation can happen.

      And of course, it’s great when we are so in the flow that nothing phases us and we can move through whatever we are dealing with. Focus being the cure for overwhelm, is not always easy when feelings are going amuck!
      To stop and breathe is the only was we can grow through and up and as Sumeet says, we are human beings (having a human experience).

  23. Alex November 27, 2012 at 8:12 pm - Reply

    I can totally relate to this. It’s interesting to me how a lot of people can’t even fathom the idea of something they consider to be inherently upsetting not being so.

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