Picture credit: David Goehring (Flickr)

Stress is unnecessary

I am going to teach you how to get rid of your stress.
Before I can do that, however, I have to explain what causes stress.

If your boss yells at you at work and you get scared, it’s probably because you think you will get into trouble. The thought you will get into trouble causes stress. And the source of that stress (and the thought that caused it) are beliefs like, “If I make a mistake or fail I’ll be rejected,” “I’m not good enough,” or “Bad things always happen to me.”

As you can see it’s the beliefs that we have about ourselves and life, most of which we are not aware of, that are responsible for our stress.

These beliefs usually are formed early in childhood from interactions with our parents. For instance, imagine being five years old and you’re running in the house and knock over a lamp. Mom gets angry and yells, “What’s wrong with you? Don’t you think?

The next day you’re at your soccer game and you miss a shot and dad shouts from the sidelines, “Pay attention! You could have had a goal!” When you get in the car, you can see the disappointment on this face.

The next day you receive your report card day with a few A’s and a few B’s. Dad looks at your report card and says, “How about all A’s next time?

Can you see that at some point you would concluded “I’m not good enough,” “Mistakes and failures are bad,” “I have to live up to expectations in order to be loved,” and “I have to do things perfectly in order to be loved”?

These are just a few of the beliefs that cause stress later on in life.

Two of the most common and insidious beliefs I help people eliminate are:

  • “What makes me good enough is having other people think well of me” and
  • “What makes me good enough is achieving things.”

Let’s examine how these two beliefs can cause stress in your life.

Most of my life I worried about what others thought. When I walked away from a conversation I would think, “Did I ask about their father’s health?” or “Did what I say hurt their feelings?” When I went to a party I had to ask friends what they were wearing so I’d know how to dress. If my daughter Blake wore some outlandish outfit I’d think about what people would think of her. Sound familiar?

Can you see how this belief caused stress in my life?

The same thing is true for the belief, “What makes me good is achieving things.” Tom, one of my clients, was a workaholic. He had the beliefs, “I’m not important” and “What makes me important are my achievements.” These beliefs drove Tom to keep achieving and achieving so as not to have to confront his feelings of inadequacy. He was constantly stressed out because of his fear of not being successful

When my husband Morty created the Lefkoe Method Process to eliminate beliefs my life changed forever. I got rid of the belief, “What makes me good enough is having other people think well of me” and much of my stress was gone. The voice in my head got quiet. I wore what I wanted to parties and thought about what the best thing was for my child rather than worrying about what others thought! FREEDOM!

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