An NBA player, Horace Grant, had eye surgery which gave him perfect vision, yet he still wore goggles when playing basketball. In an interview, he explained his choice:
I got them [the googles] because I was legally blind. I wore ’em because of that for a few years. After a few years I got Lasik surgery, but I kept wearing them without the prescription lenses because I had grandparents and parents come up to me and thank me for wearing them. Their kids and grandkids would get made fun of by wearing protective eyewear playing sports, so I kept wearing them to help make it cool to wear goggles for the kids.
Paying close attention to a role model helped kids who needed goggles while playing sports feel stronger in the face of bullies. Similarly, when our thoughts try to bully us, we can feel stronger, not by fighting them but by looking more closely at reality. We do this with a strategy called the reality approach.
What is the reality approach to dealing with unwanted thoughts?
It is a way to notice that thoughts and reality are different which helps the thoughts dissolve. When we have a thought about something we tend to treat that thought as reality itself. If a car cuts us off on the freeway and we think “That guy’s a jerk.” We take that as reality. If our spouse leaves a mess in the kitchen, we might think “He’s being inconsiderate.” And we take that thought as reality too.
The reality approach is noticing that a concrete event that is happening out there and that the thoughts we have about the event are within us. The thoughts and the event seem like one and the same but in fact, they are separate. The events and the meaning we give to the events seem fused like two pieces of metal that have been welded together.
When you use the reality approach, you break the connection between the meaning you’ve given the events and the events themselves. Then the thoughts dissolve and so do the feelings you had about the events. At first, this requires some effort and concentration but once mastered this process only takes a few seconds.
So how do we use the reality approach to dealing with unwanted thoughts?
First, notice you have a feeling about an event. Maybe you are feeling mad.
Second, notice the event that came before the feeling. In this case, you might have just been cut off on the freeway.
Third, notice the thoughts your mind created about the events. “He’s a jerk!”
Fourth, notice that the meaning and the events are separate from each other. The mind has added “He’s a jerk!” to the events.
After completing these steps, you’ll often notice that the meaning has dissolved. It no longer seems like a fact. It’s clear that it is an interpretation the mind made up. With this realization, the emotions tend to dissipate on their own. You don’t have to think positively. You only have to make a distinction between interpretation and reality.
Here are some examples from students who took the Lefkoe Occurring Course
Michael was feeling angry and frustrated. His friend said he would contact him later about meeting up but never did. He had thoughts such as “He doesn’t care about me enough” and “He’s irresponsible.” He noticed that these thoughts were separate from the events and he said “I realized it was my mind making up stuff, so the occurring dissolved quite quickly.”
Rebecca was feeling angry about administrators in her department scheduling a meeting by email without informing her. She had these thoughts “They’ve worked this out behind my back” and “They’re being disrespectful!” After she separated the meaning and events she wrote “What a sense of power this gives me!”
As you can see each person was able to dissolve their thoughts once they realized they were separate from reality.
But what if my thought is a reality?
If your thought really does describe reality, this technique will have to be adjusted to focus on the meaning you are giving to this reality. For example, if your dog has died then “My dog is dead” cannot be dissolved. That thought describes reality.
However, you can dissolve a thought such as “I’ll never again have such a wonderful pet.” Not everyone would agree with that so we know it’s an interpretation and as such, it can be dissolved.
- The reality approach to dealing with unwanted thoughts is to notice that the events and interpretations about the events are separate.
- Once mastered, this approach allows negative feelings about an event to dissipate in seconds.
- You can use the reality approach by noticing feelings, noticing the event, noticing thoughts, and then realizing that the events and thoughts are separate.
- If a thought accurately describes a physical event, then you find the interpretation you have about that event and dissolve that.
We can all see reality more clearly and we don’t need surgery to accomplish this. Just by periodically noticing events and noticing how our mind interprets events, we can improve our vision.
So right now, go ahead and use the reality approach. Find an event that still produces some negative feelings, notice that your interpretation and the reality are separate. Then experience the emotions fading away. Do this over and over and you’ll have a new habit that will give you more freedom.
How to dissolve negative feelings in seconds (and make it a compelling habit)
Life brings us all big and small storms that can keep us from experiencing total joy. Wouldn’t it be great if we could somehow be a bit more like the eye of the hurricane, unaffected by the chaos around us?
Fortunately, we’ve created a way to do just that called the Lefkoe Occurring Course. In that course, you learn how to dissolve unwanted emotions in seconds. Then you make dissolving emotions a habit. You see reality with much greater clarity. As a result, positive and uplifting emotions tend to occur naturally.
You can register for the Lefkoe Occurring Course in August. However, to do that, you first need to join the waiting list here: https://www.mortylefkoe.com/lfc/lfc-2-0-waiting-list/
While you wait you’ll get several goodies teaching you more about how to dissolve unwanted feelings. So please join today and use what you learn to help yourself and contribute to others.