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The Doctor's Farmacy

Changing Our Beliefs Changes Our Lives: Discover How

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A belief is a statement about reality that we believe to be absolutely true—but that doesn’t mean that it is. A belief may be holding us back from reaching our goals and feeling truly content and we may not even be conscious that we have it. 

I’ve experienced how powerful it can be to recognize limiting beliefs and do the work to change them. I knew that I had traumatic experiences as a child that impacted me as an adult, but I had no idea how deeply they were affecting me. Working with a coach helped me identify the root of the belief (similar to the Functional Medicine approach to health) so that I could see the pattern and begin reframing what I know to be true. 

I’m so excited that my coach and good friend Shelly Lefkoe is today’s podcast guest.

Shelly and I jump into why our beliefs impact every area of our lives and how they are created from childhood. We all crave three things—affection, attention, and acknowledgment. When those needs aren’t fulfilled, we begin to give meaning to specific events and create beliefs over time. Happiness or suffering is determined by the meaning we give events. 

Some of the most common limiting beliefs are not feeling good enough, not feeling worthy of love, and not being able to trust others. If you stop to think about how incredibly heavy these beliefs are, it’s easy to see why they would disrupt every area of life. 

Shelly walks us through how we can start to see our own patterns and what the first steps are for eliminating negative beliefs. We don’t have to feel stuck. We don’t have to be victims. We just have to be willing to do the work. 

Whether we recognize it or not, all of us have beliefs that are limiting our joy. I hope you’ll tune in to start thinking about your own belief system and how you can change it for the better. 

This episode is brought to you by Thrive Market, Athletic Greens, and Four Sigmatic.

Thrive is offering all Doctor’s Farmacy listeners an amazing deal. You will receive an extra 25% off your first purchase and a free gift when you sign up for Thrive Market. Just head over to thrivemarket.com/Hyman

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I hope you enjoyed this conversation as much as I did. Wishing you health and happiness,
Mark Hyman, MD
Mark Hyman, MD

In this episode, you will learn (video / audio):

  1. What is a limiting belief, and how are our beliefs formed?
    (3:32 / 7:42)
  2. A limiting belief I worked with Shelly to overcome
    (6:50 / 11:00)
  3. Eliminating patterns
    (10:58 / 15:08)
  4. How our beliefs influence our behavior
    (18:02 / 22:12)
  5. Why “I’m not important” and “I’m not good enough” are the most prevalent beliefs, and how to change them
    (21:55 / 27:00)
  6. The meaning we give to things informs our emotions
    (33:08 / 38:13)
  7. How to get rid of emotions you don’t want to experience
    (38:26 / 43:31)
  8. Why our beliefs can hold us back from taking care of ourselves
    (45:07 / 50:12)
  9. Shelly’s work with a client who had bulimia and her own personal work around eating and weight
    (50:08 / 55:13)

Guest

 
Mark Hyman, MD

Mark Hyman, MD is the Founder and Director of The UltraWellness Center, the Head of Strategy and Innovation of Cleveland Clinic's Center for Functional Medicine, and a 13-time New York Times Bestselling author.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

 
Shelly Lefkoe

Shelly is a co-founder and Vice President of Lefkoe Institute, a San Francisco Bay Area firm whose mission is “To significantly improve the quality of life on the planet by having people recreate their lives and live as the unlimited possibilities they are.” Shelly has had the privilege of helping thousands of clients worldwide rid themselves of a wide variety of problems including phobias, relationships that never seem to work, violence, procrastination, unwillingness to confront people, health and wellness issues, and sexual dysfunction. Her clients have been able to eliminate emotional patterns such as fear, hostility, shyness, anxiety, depression, worry about what people think of them, and a negative sense of themselves.   

Show Notes

  1. Eliminate a belief for free

Transcript

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So when you come into this world, you give meaning. Something happens you give meaning. And then something happens a third time and now that meaning becomes a belief. It becomes something you believe.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Welcome to the Doctor’s Farmacy. I’m Dr. Mark Hyman, and that’s Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y, a place for conversations that matter. And if your beliefs and your mind gets in your way of living the life you want, then you better listen up to this podcast because it’s with none other than my good friend and belief wizard,
Shelly Lefkoe:. Shelly is the co-founder and vice president of the Lefkoe Institute. It’s a San Francisco Bay Area firm whose mission is to significantly improve the quality of life on the planet by helping people recreate their lives and live as the unlimited possibilities they are, which is awesome. She’s helped 1000s of clients, including me, which I’m going to talk to you about some of the stuff that she’s helped me with, helped them rid themselves of a variety of problems, including phobias, relationships that never seem to work, violence, procrastination, unwillingness to confront people, health and wellness issues, sexual dysfunction and lots more.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Her clients have been able to eliminate emotional patterns like fear, hostility, shyness, anxiety, depression, worry about what people think about them, and the negative sense they have of themselves. Her programs have reached over 150,000 people worldwide. And she’s been featured on the TODAY Show, Liza and many other media outlets. She’s got an incredible vision, which is to transform the way people parent. She believes if we raise a conscious generation of kids, violence will end, people will treat each other with respect and dignity and life on this planet will be better for everyone. I’ll sign up for that. Welcome, Shelley.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Thanks, Mark. Thanks for having me.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. So people say, “What does Shelly do,” when they ask me when I tell them about you. And I say, “She’s a belief worker. She works on your beliefs in ways that frees you from the limitations that your beliefs create in your life about getting the things you want. Whether it’s love, or work or happiness or anything, really.” And we all have them. And we all have beliefs that are unconscious that we just think are real, and we identify with, that really interrupt our lives. And we often are unconscious of those beliefs. And I’ve had a bunch of them, that were ruling my life, that Shelly really helped me overcome and has really let me be more free and happy and less encumbered by things that really weren’t working in my life, but I had these beliefs that kept me stuck in them.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So I’m just so thrilled with your work. It’s sort of the anti therapy work. It’s not actually therapy, where you sit on the couch for 30 years and tell your life story, and the psychiatrist, psychologist gives you encouragement and helps you to look at your patterns and takes forever to change. This is really about like a chiropractic adjustment for your mind, that breaks the patterns that are stuck that allow you to be quickly free from them. And it’s amazing how quickly it works. It’s not like you have to go for therapy forever and ever and ever. So Shelly, what are limiting beliefs? Where do they come from? Why do we have them?

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Great. I love that. Thanks, Mark. Thanks for all of that. So I love the first question, what is a limiting belief? So a belief is a statement about reality that we believe is the truth. So I always say-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
With a capital T?

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
With a capital T. It’s like being pregnant, you either is or you’re aren’t. It is the truth. You believe it. It’s not like yeah, I think so or maybe it is a statement about reality that you believe is the truth. Any belief, by definition is limiting. Because if something is the truth, then something else is not. So any belief is limiting. Number one.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Number two, we come into this world and we don’t know anything. We don’t know if we’re good enough, we’re not good enough. We don’t know if money is scarce and hard to get or it’s close to us with abundance. We don’t know if life is hard or easy. We don’t know if people are kind or people will hurt you, like I just worked with somebody in my last session. She had the belief, people will hurt me. So she didn’t have a lot of friends. And she doesn’t have a lot of support in her life. So we come into this world we don’t know anything. We’re little balls of consciousness. And what consciousness does is it creates distinctions.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So we arrive here, we look at mom and dad, generally or dad and dad or mom and mom or whatever your circumstances are when you get here. Or a single parent household, and you watch. And I always start my interviews, because it makes total sense to people, if you’ve ever had a kid, or if you ever were a child, which of course we all were, if I ask people, “When you come home at the end of the day, if you have a child, what does your child do?” “They run to me.” I have a client in Uganda who said that. “They run to me.” And what do they want? They want three things, they want affection, attention, and acknowledgement. And I love the alliteration, affection, attention and acknowledgement.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So if I ask what is the one word question that every child asks all day long? The answer is why. Why can’t you play with me, mommy? Why can’t you spend time with me? Why are you looking at your iPhone when I’m talking to you? Oh, I see. I’m not important. Why are you criticizing me all the time? Well, I guess I’m not good enough. Why don’t you give me hugs and kisses? Well, I guess I’m not lovable. Why are you struggling? Why are you always crying about paying the bills? Well, I guess money is scarce and hard to get. So that’s how our beliefs get formed.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Incredible. And then we get stuck in these beliefs, and we walk around thinking we’re not good enough, we’re not lovable and we’re not worthwhile. And people shouldn’t spend time with us. And we begin to actually incorporate this and extrapolate them. I know, one of the beliefs that I worked on was it is not safe to tell the truth. And that it wouldn’t be dangerous if I actually was honest about what I felt because then I would get an angry reaction from somebody, which was terrifying to me.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I knew this pattern and I was aware of it. But it was very difficult for me to overcome it. And it really came out of an experience I had as a little boy, which I’ll just share for a minute, which was I was seven years old. Maybe seven, eight. My mother had just remarried to a man from Canada. And he was a very angry man. He was a rageaholic. And he was also a very neat freak and germophobe. And my mother asked me to take the soup that was leftover in the pot and go throw it down the toilet, because there were no garbage disposals in the sink in those days, because I was born in the ’60s, a long time ago, and I had to go throw the soup in the toilet and flush the toilet.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And I came out of the bathroom, and he looked at me and he stood there. And he had this really loud, deep, bellowing scary voice. And he said, “Did you wash your hands?” And I’m like, “No, I didn’t wash my hands because I didn’t go to the bathroom.” And he went into a rage, he picked me up, he threw me across the room, smashed me into the wall, screamed at me, terrified me. I was just tiny little kid. And it taught me that if I said what the truth was that I would get in trouble, that people would be mad at me, that I would be physically harmed.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And so you really helped me work through that belief. And I just wonder, for people suffering from all sorts of different issues in their life like this that plague them, why it’s so difficult for us to overcome these. As an adult, I can look at it, I’ve talked about it in therapy, I mentioned it. I mean, I understand, what happened, but I couldn’t erase this underlying fear that I had, that came up every time I had to tell the truth. And it wasn’t really even… It’s not like I was personally lying, but I just didn’t feel safe to say, “Oh, I want this or I need that.” Or I’m going to change… I kept a canceled dinner because I’ve got this thing to do, or I would disappoint some. And it spiraled in every aspect of my life, and just bled into everything in a way that really limited my happiness and limited my ability to even to care for myself, because I was always trying to manage people’s feelings, so I wouldn’t get in trouble or I wouldn’t get hurt or I wouldn’t get yelled at or I would get rejected. Whatever it was.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And you took me through a process. So I want to go through this because we can get abstract about the beliefs and we’re going to get into more of the science of beliefs and where this comes from. But you took me through a process that helped me to unwind it and see why I wasn’t actually true with a capital T. So can of talk me through a little bit about what actually you did with me and why I don’t have it any more.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah, I will. And I really appreciate your honesty, it’s so inspiring. I just did Seth Greene’s podcast, and I said this on it, and he was blown away and I want to say it again. What you do interests people, maybe, but who you are, inspires them. And who you are Mark, so inspires me. And I can’t even go on without saying that your willingness, not just your wanting to help people, but your willingness to be so incredibly honest for the sake of helping people is who you are. And it is an inspiration.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So I want to make a distinction. So a belief, I explained what a belief is. Now I want to talk about what a pattern is. So nobody cares about eliminating beliefs. We care about eliminating patterns. Things that we do that don’t work. So a pattern is observable, you can see somebody procrastinating, you could see somebody not speaking up for themselves, you can see somebody getting sick all the time, you can see somebody not taking care of themselves, not exercising, not eating well, those are patterns. And that’s what we want to change.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So your pattern was you weren’t telling the truth, you weren’t honest because you were so afraid. And that belief that if I tell the truth, I’ll get hurt, stayed with you even though we have evidence that our beliefs are true. I worked with five Harvard PhDs who had the belief, I’m stupid. They knew they weren’t stupid. And I’m going to explain why our beliefs stay with us through 30 years of therapy. And that doesn’t mean good therapy isn’t good. And it doesn’t teach you how to cope with life and be more effective in life. It can. What we do is very different. When you cope with things, you’re building a building called, Mark, or Shelly or whoever’s listening, on shaky foundation, on shaky ground. And the beliefs are the foundation underneath every single pattern that you have.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
And here’s why they stay with us, even though we know better. Even though, I’ll give you a great example, I had the belief mistakes and failures are bad. I knew they weren’t. I read every book, I knew every business quote that there was, Richard Branson says, “If you’re not failing, you’re going to be mediocre.” But didn’t matter. I still-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s great.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
… couldn’t things. Because I-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s must be why I’m such a success, because I fail all the time.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
That’s right. And I knew that. But the belief was still there, even though I knew better. And here’s why, we think that we see our beliefs in the world. So when I said to you, Mark… And again, this is a process, it’s lots of steps in it. But when I said you, Mark, doesn’t it seem like you saw if I tell the truth, I’ll get into trouble? And you said, I didn’t see that. And I said, “Well, let’s go back and look.” So first of all, anything you could see, you can see this.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Anything you could see has a color, shape, and location. You never saw, and sorry, and I’m going to use a double negative. You cannot not believe something you think you saw. It’s impossible to not believe something you think you saw. So if I said to you, I’m a blonde. You’d say, “No, you’re not.” I’d say, “No, no, I’m a blonde.” You’d say, “Shelly, you’re not a blonde with your red hair.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You’re a redhead.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
You’re a redhead. You’re a redhead. Because you think you see that I’m a redhead. But if I pulled my hair off and said, “No, it’s a wig.” And suddenly you’ve said, “Oh, she is blonde.” Another example, if you have a belief, I can trust my spouse, you’re married 30 years, they would never cheat on me ever, ever, ever. And you walk into the bedroom one day and they’re having sex with your best friend. What happens to that belief, my spouse would never cheat on me?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It goes away.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Gone. So when you go back and you look at these beliefs and you get to the source of them, which in Mark’s case was his stepfather being violent with him, what you see is, I told the truth and my stepfather threw me into the wall. That is seeable. But where was, if I tell the truth, I will get into trouble, in the future, with anybody when I’m adult, that is made up. So it’s not powerful unless you’re actually doing this, this is teaching. Now I want to make one-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
A very powerful process.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah. I want to make one more distinction, the way most people try to change behavior is with information and motivation. I’m going to read up on incest or whatever happened to you, I’m going to read up, I’m going to learn everything about it. And I’m going to figure out how to be different, I’m going to get motivated. If you want to stop smoking, you’ll read a book about how to stop smoking. And then you get motivated, we’re all motivated to live. And yet, we don’t wear seat belts, we don’t eat… Perfect example, Mark tells you, “If you eat this, this, this and this, you’ll lower your inflammation,” he gives you all this great information that there’s not a time in the day that I don’t want to call Mark and go, “What’s the best,” what was yesterday? Fish oil supplement. Or I call him, “What vitamin K should I be taking?” Because he’s like the wealth of knowledge.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
But how many of us actually take our supplements, how many of us exercise, how many of us eat crap and sugar and things we shouldn’t eat, even though we’ve read all these books, we know better? Because we have beliefs that keep us from doing, being and having all that we want to be, do and have. Particularly in the area of health. And I’m going to give you some really good examples of beliefs that keep us from being healthy. But I want to complete this point about seeing.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So if you saw, if you think you saw, I’m not good enough. Shelly, if you were there, you would have seen that I’m not good enough. And I go back and we look and we look at alternative interpretations. And we loosen up the beliefs and then we get to this place where you get, I never saw that I wasn’t good enough, all I saw was my father criticize me every day.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
And the only place that I’m not good enough lived, was in your mind. You made that up.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, that’s true. And I think what’s interesting about your work Shelly, and I’ve experienced this, there’s layers of belief. So you might give it a one, but then there’s maybe other ones that are ancillary. So it’s almost like a set of different beliefs that can inform behavior or form your actions. So why do people have these negative beliefs? It’s because we see these things, and we create these meanings about them that then we think are universally applied to our lives, but it actually isn’t so true.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah. I look at people who don’t exercise. And it’s so interesting, because I have a very strong belief that if I’m going to be on this planet, I want to have fun. And I want to be able to do adventures, and I want to go to Hawaii, and my daughter says, “Let’s go for a hike.” And I don’t say how high, how fast, how long how… I just say yes. I believe that exercise will keep me young. I hate exercising at home. I hate it. I go to the gym six days a week. But since COVID, I don’t think you could see it, but my weights, my mat, my elastic band, I have a gym in my living room. So that belief motivates me to get some video on an exercise.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
However, I grew up with a lot of beliefs about body image. My mother used to say things like, “Oh, if I looked like that, pointing to a skinny woman, what would fail my life?” Meaning if I was thin, everything would be perfect. I would have the best life in the world. And I grew up with that belief. So I’ve been in accordion with my weight. Because she also used to say things like, if I was upset or crying, “Oh, have a cookie, mamilla. It’s okay. Have a cookie.” So I had the belief that eating was the way to deal with my emotions.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s not, you mean? Okay, all right. Well, it’s true. We shouldn’t be managing our feelings with food. I often say, not what are you eating but what’s eating you. And I think then you can figure-

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
That’s right.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… why you’re eating.
Speaker 3:
Hi, everyone. Hope you’re enjoying the episode. Before we continue, we have a quick message from Dr. Mark Hyman about his new company, Farmacy and their first product, the 10 Day Reset.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Hey, it’s Dr. Hyman. Do you have FLC? What’s FLC? It’s when you feel like crap. It’s a problem that so many people suffer from, and often have no idea that it’s not normal or that you can fix it. I mean, you know the feeling, it’s when you’re super sluggish, your digestion is off, you can’t think clearly. Or you have brain fog, or you just feel rundown. Can you relate? I know most people can. But the real question is, what the heck do we do about it? Well, I hate to break the news, but there’s no magic bullet. FLC isn’t caused by one single thing, so there’s not one single solution.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
However, there is a systems based approach, a way to tackle the multiple root factors that contribute to FLC. And I call that system, the 10 Day Reset. The 10 Day Reset combines food, key lifestyle habits and targeted supplements to address FLC straight on. It’s a protocol that I’ve used with 1000s of my community members to help them get their health back on track. It’s not a magic bullet, it’s not a quick fix. It’s a system that works. If you want to learn more and get your health back on track, click on the button below or visit getfarmacy.com that’s get, Farmacy with an F, F-A-R-M-A-C-Y.com.
Speaker 3:
Now back to this week’s episode.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
How do we begin to stop these limiting beliefs? How do we unlearn them?

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah. Well, that’s my least favorite question in a podcast, because obviously, I can’t take everybody through their own beliefs, and it is a one-on-one process. But I can tell you this, when you look at an unwanted behavior pattern, so if you’re not taking care of yourself, you can ask yourself logically, why might somebody believe that doesn’t take care of themselves? And one of the most common beliefs is, I’m not important. Why? Because as children, very few of us get the attention that we need. Children crave attention. That’s why I tell parents, put your iPhone down or tell your child, what you have to say to me is very important. And I can’t listen right now. But as soon as I’m finished, you’ll have my undivided attention. That’s very different. And you could do the same thing with your spouse. So I’m not important is a very common belief. Now, how do you get rid of it?

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
I could walk you through the steps of the process, but ultimately, as Mark said, there are a few beliefs that underlie depending. There could be one, there could be 100. And with eating disorders, I’ve worked with people who have an eating disorder like anorexia or bulimia. That’s lots of beliefs. You might have a fear of public speaking, which is 11 beliefs. So it’s different.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
But how you would ultimately get rid of a belief is, you find out what belief you have by saying it out loud. And if everybody just takes a deep breath, and the most common belief everybody has is, so say out loud, I’m not good enough.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m not good enough.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So if you have any emotion in saying that, I don’t want to say it, or it doesn’t feel good to say it, or I don’t like saying it, then that’s a belief that you have. And now say, I’m a monkey.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I’m a monkey.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So when you say, I’m a monkey that’s flat. It either feels funny, silly or flat. I’m not good enough. I’m not important. People can’t be trusted. Those are all just words. Just like I’m a monkey. The reason that it doesn’t feel good, is you have that belief. So that’s the first way you know you have a belief. It’s a little knob, but there’s a there’s a belief, I’m not worth loving. If somebody has that belief and they say it out loud, they will almost automatically cry. And that’s the only belief that almost always has that impact on people. So that’s how you discover that you have a belief. Then you go back and you look at, what is the source? Where would that have come from? And mostly our beliefs get formed in the first six to eight years of life and mostly from our parents.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Now, business beliefs, relationships beliefs might come later, but the self esteem beliefs come from our parents, mostly. And being bullied is also a very big topic for people. A lot of people were bullied and have lots of beliefs.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I was, I was.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah. Yeah.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Tell me about that. Because I’m curious about what beliefs I have about being bullied. Because I remember… Yeah, I mean, I’m curious to how you’d work with that. Because I remember, I was a nerdy little kid. I used to read a lot of books. Now nerds rule the world, which is fine.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah. Morning wise too.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I was really living in my own world. And I wasn’t that just able to fit in. And it was really ruthless for me growing up and adolescence was horrible. And I remember I changed my belief on my own, which I don’t know how I did it exactly, but I know that I was out west and I was camping with a bunch of people I didn’t really know that well, but they were making fun of me about something. And it was just very hurtful. And I remember having the thought then, “Okay, well, I have a choice. Either I can be a victim of these attacks and feel devastated and I’m not good enough. And I’m not worthy. And I’m not okay, and there’s something wrong with me.” Or I can reframe it, and I created a reframe, which was, either it’s their stuff, whatever their emotional stuff is, it requires them to do that it’s not really me. Or the flip side was maybe there’s a nugget of an observation or a truth in what they’re saying, even though they’re mean and a jerk that might be worth me looking at to grow from.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it was either it’s their stuff, or it’s going to help me grow. So then I began to welcome criticism. It was a weird flip. And I didn’t know if I was consciously doing it. But I really had that experience. So is that kind of thing you’re talking about? Or I just changed the meaning attached to what these guys are doing.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah. I’m not getting into meaning, but you keep bringing it up, so we may. Because it-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Why can’t we get into meaning? That’s the whole thing.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Okay. Because I’m going to tell you the difference between what meaning and belief is. And I will give everyone a way to get rid of negative emotions, because it’s very powerful. Very, very powerful.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Okay. So stay tuned. We’re listening to
Shelly Lefkoe: so make sure you listen carefully, because she’s going to tell us how to get rid of those-

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yes.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… nasty things.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
But let me stay with this with bullying. So what you did is the whole… So there’s two things, this is so good. So one is, the way that you interpreted the events determined what beliefs you form and how you deal with the events. So that’s the whole thing, it’s how you interpret events determines how you feel. The meaning you will give them. Number one.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Number two, sometimes we do that on top of beliefs. So beliefs are like beach balls. Okay? I’m not good enough. What makes me good enough is achieving things. Okay. Somebody I know, once I had that belief. What makes me good enough is being famous or being successful or achieving things. So as long as I’m doing that, my beach ball called I’m not good enough, stays underwater. I don’t believe I’m not good enough. I’m good enough, really. But you have to keep doing it and doing it and doing it. And more podcast, and more famous, and more stars, and more acknowledgement, and more media, and more books. And it’s never enough, because this is pushing up.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So if you create a belief on top of a belief, it doesn’t necessarily get rid of it, but your life will be better. Somebody who believes I’m a loser, and I’m a loser, and that’s it, is not going to have as good a life as Mark, who might believe, well, I’m a loser or I’m not good enough, but what makes me good enough is being successful. And as long as I’m successful I’m good enough. But it doesn’t change. That’s what workaholism is. That’s why workaholics are driven. They have to keep doing it. Because the beach ball’s still there.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So bullying, you said the beliefs that people have from being bullied, I don’t fit in, I don’t belong. So wherever they go, they don’t walk in and talk to people and say, “Hi, I’m Shelly. It’s so great to meet you.” They either don’t go or they’re very held back and shut down. Because I don’t fit in, I don’t belong. Those are the two big bullying beliefs. There’s something wrong with me, of course. I’m not good enough, I’m powerless. Because you can’t do anything about it. So people are mean, people can’t be trusted, people will hurt you. Those are the bullying beliefs.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And then you change that by getting them to see what-

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
That you never saw. So in order to see people, you have to see seven and a half billion people. In order to say people are you saw a few kids in school or at a camp ground being mean to you. And one interpretation is, there’s something wrong with you. Another interpretation is, give me one-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
There’s something wrong with them.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
There’s something wrong with them. Their father’s probably mean to them and they have to-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Well, that’s exactly what happened. I basically reframed it and created a different connotation of their behavior so that I wasn’t becoming victimized by it.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah. And so when you get, I never saw, I don’t fit in. All I saw was a bunch of kids being mean to me. I always call middle school the hellhole of humanity.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Terrible.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
I would never-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That was just like-

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
… the most horrible place.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I think quarantine is good for junior high. I think just keep kids away from each other for years they’ll have a-

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
[inaudible 00:31:25] of that. That’s brilliant. I put my kids in an alternative school, so they didn’t have to feel it’s terrible.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. Well, what’s interesting, Shelly, I think a lot about your work. When I first heard about it, start doing it, I realized it’s very straightforward. And it’s very easy, it’s very accessible. But it actually is based on ancient wisdom. That I think is very Buddhist, whether it was intentional or not, which is essentially the idea that our suffering comes from our attachment to things being a certain way or perceptions of things. And what you’re talking about is that we have perceptions, which are interpretations of things. And then we create meaning out of that. And that’s where the suffering comes from.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So it’s really breaking that cycle that actually lets you be free. And it happens quickly. And we’re just talking about a couple of these beliefs. But there’s a lot of other beliefs that people have that they don’t even know they have that block them from getting to their goals and dreams and keeps us stuck in being victims and stops us from being free. So how do we eliminate those blocks?

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Well, I want to go back to something you said. My husband, Morty, my late husband, somebody said to him one day before he had studied Buddhism, not study but read about it and learned about it. They said, “You reinvented Buddhism.” When they did the process. So his TEDx Talk is about that. And it’s about meaning. So when you come into this world, and something happens, you give meaning to an event. So let’s assume somebody cuts you off on the highway. And you go, “Oh, what a jerk.” That’s meaning. The meaning you’re giving it is he’s a jerk. So when you come into this world, you give meaning. Something happens, you give meaning. And then something happens a third time and now that meaning becomes a belief. It becomes something you believe. You with me so far?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Because this is a little complex. Now the belief that you have, that you have formed determines the meaning that you give events today. All of your feelings come from the meaning you give events, not the events.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. But this is a big concept, Shelly you should break down. Because you often say to me, “There’s no inherent meaning in anything.” And what causes happiness or suffering is the meaning you give to things.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Right. Exactly. Well, everybody imagine this, somebody walks past you, and they don’t say… No. Somebody walks past you and they don’t say hello. And you know them. What might you automatically think?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
They don’t like me-

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Everybody come up with something.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… they’re mad at me, they whenever.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
They don’t like me, they’re mad at me, they’re rude, they’re-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I got my mask on, they don’t recognize me.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Exactly. Yes, let’s make this podcast. Yes, exactly. So whatever you just came up with, whatever you just said, is meaning. Where did that meaning come from?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It comes from your own mind.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Good.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
You made it up.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
All meaning comes from your mind. Now watch, if meaning is in your mind, in your head, do events have inherent meaning?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
No.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
No. Now another way of saying that is we don’t know anything for sure because something happens. For instance, my husband was diagnosed with colon cancer. And he looked at the doctor and he said, “Okay.” And we get in the car and he goes, “Well, chemo or no chemo? Yeah, no chemo. All right. What am I going to do? Let’s try researching alternative treatments.” And my life became about 1000 different do this, do this, do this, we’re going to try this, we’re going to try this. Here’s the thing, he never gave his diagnosis meaning. In other words, the fact that he had colon cancer didn’t mean he was going to die, didn’t mean he was not going to be able to enjoy his life. We don’t know anything for sure because something happens. That’s what no meaning means. It isn’t that it’s no big deal. It isn’t that, who cares anyway? We can care about something tremendously and it still has no inherent meaning.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
It’s the story we tell ourselves about everything, that matters.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
No. But people always say that, it’s the story. I don’t know what it is.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So when people say, “It’s the story.” No. The story that we give, the meaning that we give will determine how you feel. So if somebody says, “You have mold toxicity.” And you go, “Oh, God. I’m going to be crippled, I’m going to be paralyzed, I’m going to die. Oh, my God.” You’re going to feel frightened and scared and horrified. But if you give it the meaning, “Oh, somebody told me Mark Hyman saves people’s lives who have mold, I got to make an appointment with Mark,” you’re going to feel hopeful. So the meaning that you give the events is always what’s causing your emotions.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Now, given that beliefs determine the meanings, you should probably eliminate your beliefs and you’ll be free as Mark said. However, I love to give people a takeaway. I cannot eliminate all of your beliefs in this podcast, but I can give you a tool to play with.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes, please.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
And I promise you, I promise you, if you work it, it will change your life. I’m going to give you two techniques. We have a course we teach this, we have five or six techniques. But I’m going to give you two really good ones. First one, anytime you have, and when I say, because I get flak for this sometimes, a negative emotion what I mean by that is anytime you have an emotion that you don’t want, so I’m one of those people I don’t want to be sad. People say, “Oh, but it’s…” No, I’m not interested. I don’t want to be sad. I don’t want to be scared. I don’t want to be disappointed. I don’t want any of those emotions that don’t feel good. I’m not interested. I’m here to have fun.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So anytime you have an emotion that you don’t want, anger, fear, disappointment, anxiety, whatever. This is what you do. What just happened? Somebody cut me off on the highway. Start easy. What meaning did I give it? He’s a jerk. What else could it mean? Come up with one other meaning. So what else could it mean that he’s cut you off?

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, he’s trying to get his pregnant wife to the hospital, because she’s having a baby and he’s in a hurry.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Perfect. Now, if you give it the meaning, that fact that he cut you off, it is the event that he’s a jerk, you’re going to get angry. If you give it the meaning., he’s going to the hospital to get his wife there, you’re going to feel compassion that he cut you off. The next step is the key. What does it really mean? What do I know for sure? Because he cut you off. So let’s assume you’re going through a breakup, an emotional breakup and you’re very, very sad. Now that’s sad. And you should feel sad. And there’s nothing wrong with grief, there’s nothing wrong with feeling sad. But when you’ve had enough, if you stop and ask yourself, what meaning am I giving the fact that we broke up? So it could mean, this is the worst thing that ever happened. In which case you’re going to feel bad. It could mean that you’re going to have some time to work on yourself, so that your next relationship will be the best one you ever had in your whole life.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
But the fact that you broke up doesn’t even mean you won’t go back together. In fact, I’ll tell you a great story. This is so cool. I had a client who was in law school and he wanted this internship with this firm, it was a job with this firm when he got out of school. That’s what it was. And he was dying, he was wanted it so badly. And he wanted it so badly that he blew the interview. And he said that he walked out, he started to get really upset, and he used this technique. Now here’s another way of doing it. Here’s what happened, I went on an interview, I blew the interview. And the meaning that I gave it is, this is really bad. I’m not going to get the job. And that’s bad. He said, “Maybe something better is waiting for me, but the fact that I blew the interview has no meaning. I don’t know anything for sure.” They tell him he didn’t get the job. Next day, they call him up and they said, “We read your resume. And we decided that you were nervous on the interview. But your resume was so good, we’re going to hire you.” So the fact that-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
[crosstalk 00:41:59].

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
… he didn’t get the job didn’t even have meaning.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Right.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Didn’t mean he wasn’t going to get it. So here’s the event, here’s the meaning.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
The meaning is never in the event.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. No, I was reading a beautiful book written by Jack Kornfield, who’s a meditation teacher. And he was talking about the story of this guy who really struggled with anger. And he was working through meditation to try to help himself and he just always was impatient and frustrated. And he was in line in the grocery store and there was this woman in front of him and the woman had a baby, and then he was in a hurry, and she was showing it to the checkout person. And the checkout person was cooing and happy to see the baby. And it was just this sweet moment between this woman who had this baby and the checkout person.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
And he was getting fuming and angry and upset and irritated, “Why is she wasting time?” And, “Well, I have to go somewhere, and I can’t check out.” And he had this whole story. And then he worked on himself to try to calm down and then he said to the woman, he said, “That was a cute baby.” And the checkout person said, “Yeah, that’s my kid. And my husband was in the army and he was killed. And it’s my mother who brought him in to see me, so I could see him during work sometimes.” It’s like you just never know. And he had had a certain meaning he was putting on it, but actually, it was a very different story. And I think that’s a great example of what you’re talking about.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
It’s a funny Jack Kornfield story talking about meaning. If you’re living in the East Coast, and you see a movie star, that’s a big deal and you go, “Oh, look, Hollywood.” We moved to what I call funky Fairfax, California. And Spirit Rock happens to be his meditation retreat, happens to be right here. So it’s the first weekend, we had just moved to California, we’re standing online in the movies. And somebody, this couple behind us, the husband says to the wife, “Don’t turn around. But Jack Kornfield is standing right behind us.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Going to the movies.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
And I looked at my husband and I said, “We’re not in Kansas anymore.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah. so Jack Kornfield, for those who don’t know, is a very well known Buddhist meditation teacher. So talk about habits. We’re talking about beliefs a little bit, but often we want to change our behavior, not just our beliefs. And it’s very difficult to change habits. You mentioned eating for example, and everybody reads my books, they want to change, they want to get healthy, but they don’t do it. I said, “Don’t read my book, eat my book. At least there’s fiber in there.” [inaudible 00:44:49] a little bit. But if you’re not going to do-

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
And they detox.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… it just eat it.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
And they detox. And they detox. And I might want to lose weight. They detox.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thank you.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
It’s the best recipe.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
We now call it the 10 Day Reset, you can go find out about it at getfarmacy.com. Anyway-

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Oh, it’s the best.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… so these habits are difficult and 92% of people who try to change their habits fail. So why is it hard to change? And how do we get into a change strategy that really works instead of one that doesn’t work?

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Awesome. Because information and motivation doesn’t make change. And that’s what we’re all trying to do. I’m going to get the information, I’m going to read the book, I’m going to motivate myself, because I want to live, we all want to live, we all want to be healthy, we don’t do it. So you said it’s one thing to have beliefs, it’s another thing to have behavior. Our beliefs determine our behavior. So if you have a belief, I could eat anything I want and still be healthy, you’re going to eat anything you want. If you have a belief that what goes into my body actually matters and makes a difference. Now, here’s where the problem comes, everybody who’s reading Mark’s book, obviously has beliefs that your health matters, or you wouldn’t be reading Mark’s books. Unfortunately, you have other beliefs that are driving the behavior.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Of every pattern that I work on… I had a client the other day, this was so wonderful Mark, you would have loved this. What’s your pattern? I get sick all the time. Now that sounds biological. I get sick all the time. Well, guess what her belief was? When she was little, the only time she got attention from her mother was when she got sick. So she concluded the way to get attention and love is to be sick. And she just got sick all the time. So I worked with her two years ago on this, she doesn’t get sick anymore. She came to me with a relationship problem, because now she is in a relationship and it’s not going well.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So our beliefs determine our behavior. If you want to eat well, you have to examine and look at what are the beliefs that keep you from doing it? So when I think about making a healthy dinner tonight, as opposed to ordering a pizza, what thoughts and feelings do I have? I don’t deserve, I’m not worth it. It’s too hard. I’ll screw it up. I can’t do anything right. I’m not a good cook. There’s a million beliefs that people have that keep them from taking care of themselves from doing what they know. If you believe what makes me good enough is achieving things, you’re going to be working all the time. You’re not going to be taking time for your health. Unless, again, you have beliefs about the importance of doing that. Most of us were not raised with beliefs about good food and health. We weren’t. My-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So how do we change that then? How do we change those habits? Because what we’re doing now doesn’t work. So how do we change that?

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Right. Well, again, by getting rid of the beliefs that cause those problems and those issues. Eating is a complex one. Because eating is not just about eating, eating is about self esteem, eating is about feelings, eating is about a lot of things. If you came to me and said, “I can’t stand up for myself,” well, what do you believe? What I have to say is not important, or I’m powerless. You get a couple of beliefs and you handle it. Eating is a big deal. It’s not something I can say, “Oh, get rid of these five beliefs and you’ll change your habits.” Same exercises is easier, because exercises generally, I’m not important.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
And again, we have a program called Natural Confidence that has 19 of the most common self esteem beliefs. And that’s just a good start. Because you get rid of I’m not good enough, and I’m not important. And when you get rid of the self esteem beliefs, and you feel better about yourself, I don’t deserve, then you can say, you know what, I deserve to take the time to nurture myself and love myself and take care of myself. I mean, this is your temple, this is what you’ve taken through the rest of your life. I love the fact that I could go into any exercise class, I don’t care where it is or what it is, and pretty much do it. And that’s because of my beliefs.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So when you say to me how to, how to, my answer is always get rid of your beliefs. And when you say, “How do you do that?” You have to identify them, you have to get the right ones that are causing the particular pattern that you have. And there’s very specific things. I worked with somebody who had bulimia. And for her, it was all about feelings and control. Her mother controlled everything. So she believed that binging and purging was a way to have control in life, because she didn’t have control over anything else. So we go back and we do the process, and we get ultimately to the place of her seeing, that might have been a way to have control as a child, it’s not a way to have control as an adult as adult. As an adult, you have control. So it’s a way to have control when somebody else is controlling your life.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So you look at other interpretations of those events. You could write down on a piece of paper, my father used to tell me, and here’s my eating issues, my brother was very skinny, I was a little chubby. And my mother used to buy my brother Ding Dongs and Devil Dogs.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Oh, I remember those. Oh, yeah.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Oh, my God, they were wrapped in silver foil.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yes.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yes. Those are the Ding Dongs. And then the Devil Dogs, it was this chocolate, two pieces of chocolate cake. God knows it was made in a factory. My parents didn’t need anything that had food in it. I said to my mother, I said, “Mom, when are you going to start buying processed food?” She says, “Oh, the only thing in my kitchen that’s processed is the American cheese that they wrap in the individual slices.” I said, “I’ll give you $1 for each thing in your kitchen that’s not processed.” She didn’t even know what processed food was. My mother had great beliefs. Amazing beliefs.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
So going back to my father used to say to me, “That’s for your brother, it’s not for you. Don’t eat that. You’re going to be a…” He once said to me, I’ll never forget it. And my father was very loving. He loved me so much. But he had a thing about weight. And he used to say-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, boy.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
… “You’re going to be a fat horse. Don’t eat that.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Oh, no.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
And I concluded, “Oh, my God, the way to have power is to eat whatever I want, whenever I want. No one will ever do this to me again, nobody’s going to tell me what to put in my mouth.”

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Yeah.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
My mother was obsessed with being thin, and she was on diets her whole life. So I had to believe that in order to be loved, you have to be thin. That was my work.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
So this is a really powerful approach to dealing with your life that I think is quite different than traditional approaches of psychotherapy, different than traditional coaching different than a lot of self help approaches, different than focusing on Eastern religion, or meditation or yoga. I mean, all those things are helpful, but this is one of those very targeted, specific and direct ways to access the root cause of your suffering. It’s very much like functional medicine for your psycho emotional, spiritual life. It’s like root cause analysis and-

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
That’s great.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
… essentially gets to the reasons for your happiness or your suffering. You may not want to change your habit. Maybe you believe that going for a walk should make you happy. That’s fine. That’s not a bad belief. But the belief of if I don’t go for a walk, I’m going to be unhappy, that’s a bad belief. I have that one. I’m like, if I can’t exercise, I’m going to be miserable and unhappy. And I struggle with that one. Because it’s a very strong belief I have. But I’ve tried to deal with that, because I had back surgery this summer, and I’ve had to reframe that and reinterpret it and attach different meaning to it. And I worked with the tools you gave me.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
But I think it’s a gift for people, this work. And I wonder, how can they access this? How can they learn this? Because you can’t see the 35, 40 million people who have downloaded my podcast, you can’t do sessions with all of them. So how can people access your work and learn more about how to deal with these beliefs on their own?

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah. So the first thing I’m going to do is give you access to eliminating a belief for free. So there are three of the most common beliefs that people have, and if you go to recreateyourlife.com, R-E-C-R-E-A-T-E-Y, recreateyourlife.com, you can eliminate a belief for free. And what I’m going to coach you right now is when you get to that step that says doesn’t seem like you saw the belief in the world, because it will take you step by step by step, remember anything you could see has a color, shape and location. You cannot see a belief. That’s the difference between a belief and a pattern, you can see a pattern, you can’t see a belief.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
If you get that, the belief will go, and then there’s more steps. And it will also help you get rid of all your feelings. Then if you feel successful, there’s a product called Natural Confidence that has the 19 most common beliefs. I have 1000s and 1000s of testimonials, that it’s life changing.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
That’s so powerful.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Yeah. And-

Dr. Mark Hyman:
Thank you for creating that, Shelly. It’s really a great program, recreateyourlife.com. Everybody should go sign in, sign up, get going, get rid of those beliefs. Because, you know what? Since I’ve been working with Shelley, personally, I’ve found myself. And I do a lot of different things, so it’s not just Shelly. But I have to give her credit for the things she’s helped me break through and let go of. And allowed me to actually reclaim my life in ways that I wasn’t even aware I was not doing that. And I am really grateful for you, Shelly, I’m grateful for your work. I think it’s a real contribution. You’re a part of our Feelgood Summit, you are a big hit, and everybody loved you. And I think you’re just a beautiful bright star in the world who’s helping people break through the limiting beliefs that keep them from living their full life. And that’s what we all want to do. So thank you, Shelly, so much for being on the podcast.

Shelly Lefkoe:.:
Thank you. I love you.

Dr. Mark Hyman:
I love you too. And if you listen to this podcast, you like it, please share with your friends and family on social media, leave a comment, tell us about how beliefs are limiting your life and what you’ve done to fix them. And subscribe wherever you get your podcasts and we’ll see you next week on The Doctor’s Farmacy.

If you are looking for personalized medical support, we highly recommend contacting Dr. Hyman’s UltraWellness Center in Lenox, Massachusetts today.

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