Essentially, everyone gives meaning all day long to events as they happen and usually doesn’t realize that there is a difference between the actual events and how they “occur” to us. For example, you fail to meet your targets. That is all that actually happened. For many of us, however, it would occur to us as: Why does something always go wrong? Or, if only so-and-so had done what he promised, we’d have come in under budget. Or, I knew that target was too high; I should have complained when it was set.
Here’s another example. Your boss walks into your office and asks you a question and it occurs to you that she doesn’t trust me, or she doesn’t like me, or I’m going to get fired. That is the meaning you have given to the boss’s question. In reality all that happened is that she asked you a question.
Usually we don’t distinguish between reality and how reality occurs for us (the meaning we give the event), so we think the meaning IS reality. As a result, we interact with our meaning, not reality.
It’s difficult to deal effectively with a situation when we are trying to deal with the meaning we have given it—that exists only in our mind—instead of the situation itself.
Events don’t cause feelings; our meaning causes feelings
Most of us think that our frustrations, annoyances, anxieties, and angers are the result of what happened to us. In fact our feelings are the result of the meaning we have given to what happened to us. Your boss walking into your office and asking you a question doesn’t result in any feelings. The meaning you give that neutral event—such as she doesn’t trust me, or she doesn’t like me, or I’m going to get fired—is the cause of your feelings.
The further clarify this point, if you don’t get something you want and you give it the meaning: I can’t get what I want and I never will—you probably will get upset. If you give it the meaning: I haven’t gotten what I want yet, so what do I have to do to get it?—you probably will feel challenged and excited.
The meaning we give events is the primary source of our feelings. Thus, being able to dissolve your meanings enables you to simultaneously dissolve negative feelings, such as anxiety, anger, frustration, and upset.
Why the Lefkoe Freedom Process is so valuable
We’ve developed a program that enables clients, first, to quickly distinguish between the events in their lives and how those events occur to them and, second, dissolve the meaning in a matter of minutes, so they are left only with what actually happened in the world. The value in being able to do that is incalculable.