Do you ever hear people say, “My boss made me so mad,” or, “That really hurt me.”
They, like many others, believe that events make us feel certain things, and that we have little control over our reactions. Let’s look at an example to explore this idea.
Suppose a man named Larry has accepted a better job in another state. Today the movers are loading up the van. Larry feels excited because he’s proud of the advance he’s making in his career. His daughter feels angry because she has to leave life-long friends. His wife feels sad about leaving her teaching job where she has worked under topnotch administrators.
And how do the movers feel as they carry out the flowered sofa?
The sofa’s heavy, but frankly they’re completely neutral about Larry’s move. Notice how the event is just an event: Larry’s family is moving. But each person’s feelings are very different based on their perceptions of the event. If they believe the event is good, bad, or neutral, they have corresponding feelings. We call these perceptions and judgments beliefs.
People’s feelings and behavior are based on what they believe
Bruce Di Marsico, who created the Option Method in the early 1970s, said…
The purpose of this system is to help people see that their emotions don’t just happen to them. We are not wandering souls being abused by the universe. We are not victims. Our emotions are the product of our judgments, without exception.
Perhaps a question is brewing in your mind. Something like, “Why does one person walk around with a set of beliefs that make him feel anxious, while another person bounces back from stress like a plastic Baby Huey doll? You know—you knock him over and he just springs right back up!”
For many years, most social scientists have believed that our feelings and behavior are driven by a combination of our environment and our genetic code. In recent years, genes have been discovered that correlate to emotional states, such as optimism and depression. As a result, some experts are putting more emphasis on the role genes play in determining our emotions.
However, Dr. Bruce Lipton, cellular biologist and author of The Biology of Belief, offers a groundbreaking theory proposing that genes and DNA do not control our biology. Instead, DNA is controlled by signals from outside the cell, including the energetic messages from our positive and negative thoughts. According to Dr. Lipton, we don’t create our lives out of a gene system but out of a belief system.
If our beliefs create our feelings, our actions and reactions, and all of our behavior, then we are responsible for our lives to a degree we never realized before. And we are more powerful than we realized because to change our lives, we need only change our beliefs. What we need is a way to change our beliefs so that our feelings and reality match our deeper, more authentic desires. The Option Method gives you a simple system that does just this. It consists of a series of questions that help you uncover and explore the self-defeating beliefs that are blocking you.
The Option Method begins its inquiry with questions about your feelings. What do you feel uncomfortable or unhappy with in your life, and why? Finding out how you feel is an easy place to start because feelings often sit on us like a 100-pound monkey. Since beliefs underlie feelings, exploring an uncomfortable feeling inevitably uncovers self-defeating beliefs that we’re often unaware of. To see how this works, let’s look at a segment of a session I had with a client named Dan. Dan came to me with a worried face saying that he always felt afraid.
Q. What are you afraid of?
A. Of not being good enough, of losing the standing I’ve created by working so hard.
Q. What do you mean by not being good enough?
A. I can never just relax. I’m afraid of making mistakes.
Q. What about making mistakes is frightening?
A. I’m afraid of being tossed aside by my business associates and family.
Q. What about being tossed aside frightens you?
A. I won’t be liked.
Q. Why, if you’re not liked, are you afraid?
A. I’m afraid of being alone.
Q. What might you be concerned would happen if you weren’t afraid?
A. I would relax and enjoy life a little more, but then I’d make more mistakes.
Q. Do you believe enjoying life would mean you’d make more mistakes?
A. Yes, If I’m happy, I wouldn’t work so hard. Fear keeps me going.
Q. Do you believe you need fear so you can work hard?
A. It seems so. (pause) No, I actually work hard because I love what I’m doing.
Q. If you were happy, would you stop loving what you do?
A. (Laughter) That sounds crazy. I’d still love what I do, and I’d actually be more relaxed. I’m not feeling so afraid now.
This example gives you a glimpse into how the Option Method helps us explore our feelings, until our unconscious, self-defeating beliefs come tumbling out. Once these old beliefs come into our present awareness, they often melt away, like the Wicked Witch of the West.
In summary, our feelings are not determined by events or by our genes, but by our beliefs. This understanding introduces tremendous hope because, while we cannot control outside events or our genetic makeup, we can change our beliefs.
The question now is…what are you waiting for?
What’s between you and your sweet life?
No matter how successful or happy you are, there is always something you can improve. I work one-on-one with men and women, in person or over the phone.
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