Interview With Lenora Boyle by Stacy Hurlin
SH: What is it that you do?
LB: Very simply, I specialize in helping women break free from limiting beliefs and emotional conflicts to create a life they love. I enjoy working with men also but I’m particularly focusing on working with women right now. I help them to be happy now rather than later – even before they change anything that they think needs to be changed in their lives.
SH: How do you do it? Is it sort of a counseling that you do?
LB: No, I’m not a counselor, I don’t give advice, and I’m not a therapist. I ask questions. People usually come to me because they are unhappy in some way. Maybe they are frustrated or angry or maybe things just aren’t going so well. There may be a situation that’s causing them a lot of concern. I ask them questions to unravel what they are unhappy about. If they’re unhappy, chances are they believe they should be. For example, if they don’t get what they want, they believe it’s necessary to be unhappy.
The person realizes at some point, that they choose their emotions and once they discover that, they usually choose to be happy because they don’t believe anymore that unhappiness is necessary.
This gentle questioning process is based on an attitude of acceptance on my part. I don’t have an agenda or think what’s good or bad, right or wrong about their feelings or situation. It doesn’t matter to me whether they choose happiness or unhappiness. No matter how they are feeling, I help them to explore what it’s about – to see if there might be some self-defeating belief underlying those feelings. There almost always is. Then that belief can be addressed.
SH: What do you mean by self-defeating belief?
LB: A belief is a perception of reality, a conclusion you came to or something you were told and had no reason not to accept. Becoming aware of what you believe is one of the most potentially liberating experiences a person can have. Usually, when you discover that something you have believed is simply not true for you, you’ll dissolve feelings of anger, guilt, fear and self-doubt that have seemed the norm for you for years.
And these often ‘unconscious’ beliefs can run our lives – dictate, as it were, our reactions and choices in life. An examples might be, “I’m not good enough”. Someone with that belief will find that no matter how much they study or how accomplished they are, they still don’t see themselves as a success. They will always feel, “I’m not good enough”.
For example, if you had the belief as a child that you needed to hold your mother’s hand to cross the street, that probably was beneficial. However, if you still believe that as an adult, it could get in the way of your crossing the street alone. You chose the belief as a child and you can re-choose at any moment.
SH: How would you work with someone that has a belief of some low self-esteem for example, “I’m not good enough? Is this a course they take? How do they do this?
LB: I do one-on-one consulting and usually each session is an hour. We work together in person or on the telephone. A lot of issues could be resolved in one session. But a lot of times there is a core belief – one main issue or a way of perceiving reality that is the main root and then there are all the little rootlets or belieflets. Throughout all the sessions, they can explore different avenues. Results are immediate and ongoing. Right away they can be in a new place where situations do not cause them the same upset or if they do, they don’t last as long. I recommend doing an Option session weekly for at least 2-3 months.
So that’s one thing I do – the one-on-one consulting. I also teach 6-12 hour workshops. Sometimes I have groups meeting once a week for 8 weeks. Here, they can learn the Option Method questions. Then they can ask themselves questions. With this ongoing training they can, in a way, be self-sufficient and can ask themselves questions to get out of uncomfortable feelings or situations. In all the work they really explore those things that are holding them back from being happy and successful.
SH: So when someone does this series of appointments with you do they come to you when they are in trauma?
LB: Usually someone comes to me because there’s a specific thing that’s bothering him or her, or they feel stuck in any way.
SH: If this is done in a way that is invasive, it probably will create more of its own problems in the process.
LB: The beauty of Option is that I really follow them wherever they go. I do not have an agenda thinking, ‘OK, this is happening because they didn’t have a good relationship with their mother or father.’ I do not try to tie it into a nice little package. I’m not analyzing it. I don’t lead the inquiry or intrude in any way with direction or advice. I follow their lead. If they are square dancing, I’ll square dance with them but if then they start doing the rumba, I start doing the rumba with them. So, I stay where they are which is a very safe place to be. I am in acceptance and I feel like they are the expert on their life and I’ll explore with them wherever it seems that they need to go at the time.
SH: How does this not end up getting into sort of psychoanalysis of how everything under the sun really relates to some discomfort from our past? That’s sort of a bottomless pit.
LB: Sometimes what we resist persists. If there are those memories – some discomfort carried over from the past – let’s look at it and explore this in a safe, non-confrontational way and see, ‘Are they true for us now?’ Maybe we’re ready to leave them in the past.
SH: So when we look at some past incident during an option session, we may uncover how we reacted to it at that time and maybe see a pattern? And now somehow we can start with some new understanding, maybe we don’t have to react in that same way again – is that some of the goal?
LB: If there is any goal, it is simply to see what you’re unhappy about and see if there is some belief underlying that feeling. Most likely there is.
SH: So then someone could actually be talking with you about three or five or ten, or twenty different kinds of what you call beliefs at the same time? Or at some time, does it all merge together a little bit?
LB: I think my experience is that they merge into one main core belief.
SH: Oh, that’s interesting.
LB: And then as I said, there are little belieflets that stem off of that. My experience in the past 11 years, working with hundreds of people, is that there usually is one main root, one main conclusion that a person has come to that is guiding their life. And we don’t go around thinking, ‘Oh I have this self-defeating belief that I am not good enough.’ Sometimes, it’s a mystery. We don’t know that it’s a belief – that it’s limiting us. We don’t even know we think that.
SH: Give me an example.
LB: I’ll give they an example of someone that I did a session with. He was in a job he hated. It was his father’s business and his father had retired and his father’s partner was still there so the son and the older partner were in this business together and the son just hated it. He was there because he felt obligated. He was making pretty good money. He didn’t want to let his father down. And he was unhappy. I say un-happy but in each case it’s a specific kind of unhappiness to explore. It could be someone is, frustrated, disappointed, depressed, scared, angry – fill in the blank with any ‘opposite of happy.’
In this case as we explored it we started seeing what about his job made him unhappy. And he would list these different things: I don’t want to be there, it’s not really my interest. And we would just refine and refine the questioning until he came to the point where he said he believed that everybody would hate him if he did something he really loved. Now he hadn’t known that, but he was living in that fear – that if he made a decision to leave this job, he would be hated by his family and the other people in the company and it wasn’t worth being hated to do something he loved. It was better to just stay there in misery than to be hated.
SH: It sounds a little hard to imagine that, that kind of thought, as you say, belief, would have that much influence on him.
LB: It’s amazing, almost unfathomable the influence that those conclusions have on us. I think it is also physiological, somehow lodged in our bodies, our very cellular structure. I envision it as a neurological pathway, a habit, like a groove in a record. And the same habits, thought patterns, can keep running us. To change the neurological pathway or the belief or the pattern, we only need to turn our heads a little bit and have a different understanding, a different view of what is true for us. To find out what is really true for us, we first need to uncover the hidden self-defeating beliefs that limit our choices. First, uncover it, expose it, and then ask the questions!
SH: So after people do this series of appointments with you, since they can’t carry you in their back pocket for the rest of their lives, do people then find that the flag goes up or the buzzer goes off in their daily activities and interaction with people? Maybe they react and are aware in ways that they never knew before?
LB: Yes, after doing an Option session, when that situation comes up again, they have a new awareness. Then they have a choice, right there, where there was none before. That’s why it’s called Option because they have a choice to react in the old way or not. So the first step is an awareness of, “OK, my friend didn’t call me and I’m starting to feel abandoned, thinking that they don’t like me because if they loved me, they would call me and check up on me or say hi. Then they have a choice to ask, “Am I going to believe that I’m abandoned and I have to be unhappy because my friend didn’t call me and that means she doesn’t love me? And then that could go on to mean I’m no good or I’m unlovable or any such thing. The point is, we all make these meanings. That’s what a belief is. We could make it mean that nobody loves me and feel bad or that she’s busy and it doesn’t mean I’m unloved. After all, I haven’t called her and I still love her.”
So with the Option Method we start having the awareness as soon as any emotional discomfort creeps in. And right then we have a choice ‘Does it mean that if they loved me, they would call me?’
The belief is like a brick wall. The Option questions start poking out some of the bricks and our own light comes shining through. That old brick wall starts dissolving, brick by brick. Sometimes, just collapses instantly and the belief isn’t there – does not have that hold on us. It doesn’t grip us around the neck like it did before.
For example, with these particular gentlemen I was talking about beforeÈ As a result of his Option work he became more assertive. His doubts decreased, his self-esteem increased and he started living his dream. He knew he wanted to leave his job and discovered it didn’t mean that he wouldn’t be loved. When that belief started shattering he actually had the courage to talk to his Dad. That was his first step. And thru a series of events, he quit his job and began to pursue what he loved.
He became freer and happier even in the first step where he was able to talk to his Dad and say, ‘I just don’t want to do this – be in the company anymore.’ He was a man who didn’t make decisions or changes easily. With Option, he realized that he stayed in situations that he didn’t want because he was afraid.
SH: And when he noticed he was doing that, did he somehow become stronger – better able to do it differently?
LB: Yes, that hidden belief was not creating a reality where he had other choices. When we are stuck in an old belief, we only have black and white. Either I quit the job and everybody hates me or I stay in the job and everybody likes me and there’s nothing in between. So that’s hard. Often when we are between a rock and a hard place – feeling stuck – there’ll be some self-defeating belief like that. Like we want to be liked and loved but then that means we have to stay in this job and be miserable. So anyway, we start seeing other choices. He just started being more motivated from an inner sense of direction and not by guilt or habit or fear. And he began choosing different personal and business situations according to his level of happiness and not from fear.
SH: So, in a sense, you can say we all have some beliefs deep in our core or maybe unconscious that actually don’t serve us, actually don’t give us the happiness and well being in our life that we would want?
LB: Yes, that’s right.
SH: Then it’s almost like going into an old mine with a pick and helping to dig those old beliefs out and remove them? Then there’s a different ‘reality’ possible for us? I guess you are sort of a Core Belief Re-Trainer?
LB: I guess you could say that. I call myself a New Reality Coach using the Option Method. The Option method gives us a chance to choose beliefs that create happiness and an inner sense of peace. Let’s us choose – whatever word we want to fill in here: joy, wealth, success, peace, light, and aliveness.
We get to choose and life circumstances don’t have to defeat us. Option provides relief from thinking things have to be a certain way in order to be happy. That kind of ‘if only’ thinking. For example, if he loved me, he would do this or if I were married, then I would be happy. And once married, we complain, ‘well if only he would pick up his clothes off the floor then I’d be happy’ or ‘if only I had children’ Then with children it’s, ‘ if only they would listen to me and not whine, I could be happy.’ And so on.
We are always putting happiness out there as something to achieve if something else happens. Wouldn’t it be better, wouldn’t it be a true expansion of our happiness if we could be happy now – even before our husbands pick up their clothes or our children stop whining? To be happy now is the thing. It doesn’t mean we will never experience discomfort or unhappiness. But we can use any discomfort as an intelligent signal to explore and uncover the self-defeating beliefs – not have them run our lives.
SH: Someone can actually change his or her automatic response to beliefs, to reacting out of anger, out of hurt, out of some difficult emotion that complicates the matter at hand? Probably it has a chain reaction that helps everybody.
LB: That’s true.
SH: All right, well it was great talking to you.
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