We all know life can be hard and if you’re reading this book, you are probably not where you want to be. You might wonder, “Why is this happening to me? Why am I stuck? Why don’t I have the success that my peers do? How come my body is reacting in the way it is? I just don’t feel as vibrant and energetic as I used to.”
Many questions like these and more can keep you spinning your wheels, going nowhere fast. The reason is a Belief System.
In my previous chapter, I talked about the false belief that I was drowning in deep water. My false belief was killing me! The truth was that I just needed to put my feet down because the water was only two feet deep!
As silly as my Stand Up story seems, it illustrates perfectly how all of my self-imposed stories and the significance I added to them created a world full of needless suffering.
“Pain is inevitable but suffering is optional… you choose.”–Viktor Frankl
The suffering you experience in life is often a result of your Belief System, your BS, the story you tell yourself. This story can cause massive suffering like carrying a huge sack of rocks throughout your whole life. You may know you want to escape the suffering and achieve your dreams, but you may not have the tools to do so. Even if you know where you want to go in life, how you want your life to be, you first need the tools to lose that sack of rocks and escape your suffering.
I was talking with a friend the other day while watching people outside the window enjoying the pool and the sun. It was such a beautiful day. While talking, we noticed a fly. The fly was trying with all of its might to push himself through the window to get outside. The fly pushed and pushed and pushed continuously banging his head against the glass to no avail. He knew where he wanted to go, but he couldn’t achieve it no matter how much he struggled. It reminded me of the saying that “if people could do better, they would.” However, many do not have the knowledge nor the tools to achieve their goals. That poor fly! If only he knew all he had to do was change direction and discover the nearby open door. There, he would find peace, but he gave up exhausted from spinning his wheels and going nowhere fast. Many of us do the same thing. (Have you ever noticed dead flies in your windowsill? I wonder where they were trying to go?)
Not only has this misdirection happened in my life, but I have noticed the same occurrence with my clients over the past 15 years. I have seen so much needless suffering, and I can guarantee that if you learn to change your BS, you’ll look back at what you used to believe and find it is just as ridiculous. And it will no longer have any power over you.
Before I can help you get you ready for your success, we need to address what’s happening to you right now and give you the techniques you need to take control of your life again.
Have you ever asked yourself: “Why am I stuck? Where did my energy go? Why am I such a frustrated parent? Why do I feel burned out, even when I sleep a solid eight hours? Everything is so fast-paced. How can I keep up with all the demands of my life? Is it my age or is this my future?” If you can relate to any of these questions, there is a reason things are not working out for you the way you planned. It begins with your Belief System. What I have discovered is that we need to address your Belief System before we can delve into this program. If we’re not careful, your Belief System which I call “BS”, literally your bullshit, can and will take you out of the game of life.
A Belief System is your personal story you tell yourself every day, day in and day out. We are taught our “BS” growing up and, through the successes, tragedies and especially our failures, we are creating a thought system that shapes our actions. It affects everything we do. EVERYTHING! I often say about myself, “If it’s hysterical, it’s historical.” This classic expression from the recovery movement says it all. In other words, when I am “triggered” and dealing with big emotions like stress, anxiety, fear, doubt, anger, worry, being overwhelmed, and more, these feelings are coming from a past memory. Inevitably, if I become overly emotional, there is a reason for it and it usually stems from some incident in my past.
Here is a story about a client of mine to illustrate. I was training a client one day, and she was expressing how she could never get a second date. Her excuse was that men were shallow and didn’t like her because she was heavy. I disagreed. “If they had a problem with your weight, why would they have asked you out in the first place?” I said to her. “It has nothing to do with your weight and everything to do with the energy you are putting out.” She fought me on this concept for a while until she saw a pattern.
When she realized that I might be on to something, she agreed to let me set her up on a blind date. I went with her and a group of people to a restaurant. Within five minutes of her date’s arrival, her behavior changed. Once she felt he was attracted to her, her body language closed off, and she frowned when she spoke to him. She acted as if she was competing with him and spoke about how hard she worked and what a strong woman she was. She made it very clear by her words and, once again, by her body language, that she was not available and that there was no room in her life for him, let alone for him to ever be the man in the relationship.
She had no idea she was turning men off. But, at a subconscious level, she used her weight and her body language to protect herself from men, especially since she was abused as a child by her father. When I asked her what she thought about men, she replied, “Men are pigs and can’t be trusted.” She had concluded, based on the experience she had had with her father, that all men were like he was. As a result, she interacted with men as if they could not be trusted. Again, if it’s hysterical, which means you have a big emotion around something, then it’s historical. It stems from a past memory, from which you created a Belief System. As a result, her BS was, “All men are cheating, abusive pigs.”
My client created this BS because of the meaning she placed on the story of what had happened to her. She already had a preconceived notion that men were pigs, and she projected that with her body language and the energy she emitted. The men couldn’t get away from her fast enough. We had to change her BS around men and give her the tools to safely open up. That same client soon attracted her soul mate and is happily married today.
Another similar example involves elephants at the circus. Most elephant trainers tie the animals up to a steel bolt when they are babies. No matter how much the little elephant pulls, he can’t break free. That’s called a learned helplessness. Then, when the elephant grows up, all the circus trainer has to do is tie the elephant with a string and he won’t try to get away. He has been programmed by his BS to stay put.
I have also struggled with this big time. I have already told you my “Stand Up” story. I grew up thinking I was weak and a victim because, at one time, I was. I did not understand the power and resiliency I had until I learned to set boundaries and clear my inner baggage. Oh, my life is so much freer now I am not a victim. Thank God!
Now you see how you can be trapped by your own BS, let’s do a little visualization. Pick an area in your life where you feel you have a loss of power. I call this a blind spot. This will help you identify where you need to spend your time in the next chapter uncovering and unpacking Your BS. But it starts with a question—a question that will start the unpacking process. The question is this: What is the area in your life where you feel you have the least power? It could be your health. For example, you may be overweight and have a hard time losing it. You could have low energy or even feel burned out. Maybe your loss of power is in your relationships as with the story of my client above, or maybe you are not where to you want to be in your career. Whatever it is, write it down.
How do you feel when you think of this area of your life? Is this the first time this blind spot has come up or is it a pattern which has developed over time? Remember, if it’s hysterical, it’s historical, meaning if something triggers you into a crazy state, it is usually based on an event or experience that has happened in the past. For example, when someone says something or gives you a certain look similar to how your mom used to look at you when you were in trouble, it may take you back to childhood, triggering that past memory and the feelings that go with it.
Now, when you think about this blind spot, do you feel light and fluffy or do you feel heavy, burned out, stressed out or exhausted? Now, imagine carrying it with you for five years. How do you feel carrying the weight of the past on your shoulders? How’s your energy? Now, carry this blind spot for ten years. How do you feel now? How much longer do you think your body will hold up? Do you love your life or are you burned out? Chances are, you feel exhausted just by thinking about this scenario.
Okay, shake that projected future off and be thankful that it hasn’t happened yet. Now, knowing you have a choice and the power to change, let’s play a different game. What if you didn’t have the old BS? What if you could have whatever you wanted? Think about that old pattern being resolved. What does your energy feel like now? How about your health?
Many people have so many self-imposed limitations they continue to fall back into the same patterns. Many clients say “Yeah, well, the past does not equal the future.” I say, “Hell yeah it does, if you continue to do the same things.” Protecting your energy and your health is your most important contribution to the surrounding relationships. So, the question is, how are you going to change?
To further illustrate my point, I went onto a website called Leading Personality. On the website was a popular, often-cited experiment. Whether some scientists have actually done this, or whether it’s an urban legend, nobody seems to know. What I can tell you is that I have seen this behavior for real in thousands of my clients. A scientist placed a bunch of fleas in a glass jar. They quickly jumped out. He then put the fleas back into the jar and placed a glass lid over the top. The fleas jumped and hitting the glass lid, falling back down into the jar. After a while, the fleas, conditioned to the presence of the glass lid, began jumping slightly below the glass lid so as not to hit it. The scientist then removed the glass lid as it was no longer needed to keep the fleas in the jar. The fleas had learned to limit themselves from jumping beyond the height of the lid even when the lid was removed. They had been conditioned to the fact that they could not escape from the jar.
Here’s the link if you want to check it out: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bjmfaZyNvDg
Those who keep failing aren’t failing because they can’t do it; they have themselves fooled into believing they can’t. The truth is most people do not want to change their old familiar habits even if the tools of change are attainable. They will continue to say they want success when, really, they are afraid of success for fear of having to step up, face up and grow up. They would rather play the victim instead of accepting full responsibility for their lives. It seems many people would rather put their heads in the sand and pretend they don’t know how to achieve what they want because, if they did, there would be no more playing small in what could become a big life.
This quote by Marianne Williamson, from A Return to Love: Reflections on the Principles of A Course in Miracles sums it up:
“Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It’s not just in some of us; it’s in everyone. And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.”
Some clients of mine say, “I have to argue with you there, Kim. I am not playing a small game. I have always been an over-achiever. Look at my house and my career. Most people would say I am doing great work!” I say to them in return, “I get it. However, there is a big difference between achieving material means and then having the health and well-being to enjoy it. I understand you are playing a big game in life, yet the one area that matters, the area of healthy energy through physical, emotional, and spiritual fitness usually takes a back burner. How come?
Is the price of playing a big game in life the loss of well-being? For too many people, the big life means never-ending flight. Remember, “Is the deer who is being chased by a pack of wolves going to stop and get a massage? Hell no! Is the deer, while he is being attacked, going to want to sit down and have a beautiful dinner and meaningful conversation with his beloved family?” Again, no! And humans are no different. They are afraid to slow down for fear they won’t be able to regain momentum or that the competition will eat them alive. If the deer is being chased, all he can think about is the predator, where are my exits and how much time do I have to get to safety, nothing else. All the deer can think about is survival.
How do we get into this survival mode, where does it stem from, and most importantly, how can we change? Many of my very successful clients, usually had something happen to them in childhood when they needed to step up and assume responsibility, even though they didn’t want to. Either a parent, caretaker, someone from a team in school, or another person they depended on, didn’t do their part and that child concluded in his or her mind they now had to take the leadership role. As a result, they adopted a survival mode, became hyperalert, and could rarely turn it off. As they grew up, everything they had ever accomplished was because they were afraid that if they took a break, they wouldn’t be able to start back up again, or that the other shoe would drop. This fear kept them in a hypervigilant mode. I call this fear a survival skill.
An analogy for this would be when you have several programs open on your computer at once. You only see one program. However, there are several others draining your battery/energy. Belief Systems are the same way. They will drain you of your precious life energy and, if not addressed, will take you out of the game of life quickly.
My goal is to help you get out of survival mode and into thriving mode. Ultimately, you’ll take all of that kinetic energy, amplify it, and redirect it into the life you love. That pretty much sums up my whole approach to your new life, slow down to go fast.
How to Solve the Problem
Belief Systems can be changed. This is what I do every day, all day long. This is what I have been helping thousands of my clients achieve for many years, helping them uncover their BS, find the beginning point it stems from, and then change that BS to something that serves them and works in their favor. I always tell my clients, “Heck, if you’re going to make up BS about yourself and create a story around it, It might as well be a good story and one that works to improve your life.”
What we all forget is that our thoughts are an illusion. They are not real. In my mind, I absolutely knew I was drowning in my “stand up” story, and it’s true, I was. However, it was only in two feet of water, and I was fully capable of putting my feet down, standing up, and saving myself. So, just stand up! How, you might ask? By making a shift in perspective. Have you ever heard of an accident taking place on a street corner and several witnesses giving several stories of what happened? There are different perspectives. You are an expert witness to your life, and your job is to tell a better story, one that gets you motivated and excited, instead of one that dis-empowers you.
So, you have now identified where you have a loss of power in your life and you have written it down. Ask yourself what makes you angry or upset about this.
Next, write an angry letter to that person or situation that upsets you. If anger is not the emotion, then express whatever comes to you. Just make sure you are explicit and express yourself fully in the letter.
Once you finish, turn your paper over and draw the picture of how you see this situation. You can use a pencil, pen, or if you want to get creative, use crayons. It doesn’t have to be elaborate or perfect. It is just to help you experience the essence of your big emotion. You see, many people do not have the words to express themselves. This exercise helps you expel that big emotion so you can get it out and ultimately let it go. Once you let it go, there is room for your new amazing life to fill that space.
Once you have drawn a picture on the back of your letter, it’s time to rip it up or burn it. You can also make a ritual out of disposing of this representation of your painful feelings. Whatever works for you.
Last, on a new sheet of paper, draw the outcome you want to have happen in place of what has been happening. For example, if you are fighting with your spouse but you really want to experience a connection and love, then draw a picture of what you want your relationship to look like. That will plant a seed in your unconscious/subconscious mind saying, “This is what I want. Get to work and manifest that now.”
I do this exercise often with my clients who have cognitive disabilities. I also do this with my 7-year-old daughter and it works wonders. You should see some angry letters she comes up with. She even drew one of her friends in jail. I had to stop myself from chuckling. As I mentioned before, many people do not have the words to express what they are feeling. Therefore, they unsuccessfully stuff their big emotion down. What happens then is that they blow up or create a neurotic behavior or fixation, like eating too much, drinking or exhibiting other unhealthy behaviors to cover up that pain as a way of compensating.
Now you are mentally prepared and you have that pattern/blind spot firmly in your mind, we can begin the process of unpacking and changing your BS. I am super excited for you to start!