"Hello, this is Gary van Warmerdam, from pathwaytohappiness.com. This is a lesson to the self mastery course on reclaiming your personal power. In this exercise, the activity is to notice where you expend your energy, your personal power on ideas that are false. And I’m going to give you specific ideas that are false to look for, because you’re going to start there. And with that narrow focus, it will be easier to find them. And once you shift those, we’re going to move on to other areas to reclaim more and more personal power. Once you have an idea of how this works in this simple way.
The first area we’re going to reclaim is over the responsibility and power of our emotions. And it has to do with the ideas we invest in. We unconsciously believe or habitually say and think without realizing the detrimental impact on our energy and our emotions. So, first to understand is personal power, one can also use the term energy. We think of ability to get somewhere, the gasoline you put in your car, the electricity that charges it, is the power that you have to drive in, it tells you how fast you can go and how far you can go. Money is a kind of power. It tells you how far you can travel and how long you can stay there. It’s a resource.
Every morning you get up and your body is rested, your attention is rested. You’ve got a certain reserve of personal power. So you get personal power every day, just by breathing, just by living, just by resting. The question then has to do with what do you do with it? Do you expend it on wasteful things? Or do you use it to accomplish what you want? What will benefit you and help you gather more personal power, so you can do more of the things you want to do. And what most people do, much of the day, is that they waste the energy they’ve been allotted. It’s like they’re throwing money away down the drain. They’re investing it in bad ideas, lives that hurt themselves instead of make them feel better.
Now, we’ve already done this in much of our life. We’ve invested in a lot of ideas and beliefs that are false. And very much the process of gaining personal power is to gain back that personal power we’ve invested in these ideas that have become beliefs. And to recover that personal power that I usually call faith, from these ideas. You know, there’s ideas we believe in, we’ve put faith in them. It’s like putting money in them. And they are true for us. But they might not be really true.
“I’m not good enough.” “I can’t do that.” “This won’t work.”
If you believe that, it means that it has a certain kind of certainty. And that certainty is confidence that it’s true. Even if it’s negative to you and limiting to you. But it may not be true. And we don’t know until we take our faith out.
Here are the things that we lie about, and I’ll use the term lie for a belief that’s false. But say someone tells a joke, and Person A laughs and Person B, they feel it’s a lie and it’s offensive. Person A is joyful with laughter. Person B is offended. If you ask Person A “What are they laughing about?” “Oh, that joke was funny. It made me laugh.” If you ask Person B, they’ll say “Oh, that joke was offensive. It upset me. Makes me angry.”
That’s the language we use. “The joke was funny, made me laugh.” “Joke was offensive, it made me upset.” To the same joke. Something’s wrong in our thinking, something’s wrong in what we say and what we believe about the joke, causing us to feel joyful or causing us to feel miserable, upset and offended.
And we say these things without realizing the impact. What we’ve done is we’ve attributed our emotions to this joke that someone said. Good emotions or bad emotions. But if it was really the joke, then wouldn’t that joke affect all people the same way? The joke is healthy water, everybody drinks healthy water, and it’s good, it’s good for him. If it’s a poison, that’s enough poison, it would kill everybody. But if it’s a drink that makes one person better and one person, Ill, then something’s in that person’s system, that gives them a different effect. One person eats wheat, “I feel great!”. Another person eats wheat, if they have celiac disease, they get sick. Is it the wheat? No, it’s the way our system responds to the wheat. What’s going on inside of us, and how we respond and our body responds to the wheat.
With the joke. We have a response to the joke, but we don’t see it, it’s invisible, we don’t see it. Because it’s silent. We don’t hear it. It happens so quick. We haven’t tuned our attention to catch it. And that’s the interpretation and meaning of what we believe the joke means. That gives us a response of joyful laughter or feeling offended. A person’s body responds to wheat. A creating of something painful in their body or feeling good. It’s not the wheat. It’s how we respond to it. We all respond, according to how we perceive based on our belief system interpreting it.
But here’s the lie I want you to catch, it’s when we say that joke made me laugh, because that’s the lie.
And it causes us to take our attention away, and ignore this interpretation mechanism, and meaning we create about what we just heard, and attribute our emotions of joy to the joke alone. And the person who’s offended, they attribute their suffering, their anger, and their feeling offended to the joke or to the person who said it. And they don’t notice the power they have to change their belief, to change their interpretation. And then change how they feel about what was said. Or at least reduce it if they still find it’s in bad taste.
How much amplitude of emotion does one need to create to have that decision. So they need to go on a rant, and be upset for hours or days about the joke and would be upset with them a year later, they spend a lot of energy. And they’ll still say “That person makes me so angry”.
That’s the lie I want you to catch. When we attribute our emotions that can be from our belief system to this external thing that happened, a joke, the dishes, traffic, the weather, someone else, the photocopier, what your computer’s doing. We will habitually say these things. “It makes me so angry.” Not recognizing it’s a lie. And we put our faith, our personal power in the idea that this person is controlling our emotions, “they’ve made me feel a certain thing”.
And there’s a consequence to that lie, because now we’ve hypnotized ourselves to believe “I don’t have power over my own emotions.” “I’m at the mercy of what they say and do.” I’m just a puppet on the string, ready loaded reactions and I’m going to respond to them.” There’s no agency in that phrasing. Pay attention to how many times you talk about your emotions, and what the source is.
Or see and hear other people talk about it. “Oh, this makes me so upset.” “That makes me so angry.” “He makes me so happy.’ Each time is hypnosis, and they are putting their faith in this idea that somebody else has their emotion. And what they do, they’re not putting any faith in themselves that they can change it.
And so your mission here is to pay attention to those phrasings and things set in thought. Where you attribute your emotions to other things, and other people, when it could be from your own belief system or yourself creating that emotion. And when you catch yourself, do a rewrite go, “okay? That may not be creating my emotions, there could be something in my internal belief system that’s creating my response to this emotionally.”
This may not seem like a big deal, but the impact over time to dehypnotize yourself of this powerless feeling, that you don’t have any control over your emotions, and that you are the puppet on a string to these other people’s behavior and actions, begins to move that power into yourself.
What’s the languaging that we’re looking for? “Ah, this weather is so depressing.” We’re not saying, “This weather is creating my emotions.” and “because of the weather I’m feeling this way.” It’s this shorthand way of talking that we don’t notice the embedded, powerlessness quality of it. “Oh, this weather is so depressing.” We’re not even talking about ourselves, but we’re hypnotizing ourselves that we’re powerless. By believing that thought, by investing it.
“This weather is so beautiful, makes me feel so good.” Can sound like an offhand comment. “This driver really pisses me off. They’re going so slow, I can’t stand it.” We haven’t even said the emotions we’re feeling, but “I can’t stand it.” kind of implies “I’m having a really bad reaction because of them.” And “I’m having a really bad reaction.” is abdicating our power over our emotions. And not acknowledging that there’s this mechanism inside us called our automated belief system that’s actually interpreting what this driver is doing, what it means, how it’s affecting us, and deciding what our emotional response is automatically, and we didn’t notice.
When you break it out, you see that it’s a lie. When you take the time to notice, like “I’m having an interpretation made about what this driver is doing and what it means.” And I know this one, well, I wrote about it in my book. I had to consciously learn when I felt something behind a slow driver. I consciously adopt the story. If that driver wasn’t there, I might be going too fast, I get to an intersection and get in an accident. This is changing the course for me and my timing, maybe for better. I can thank this driver in advance. Because this way, I’m not getting a ticket that I might otherwise have gotten. Or gotten in an accident that I might otherwise have gotten in this some alternate version of my timeline. “Thank you.”
That’s a conscious choice for an interpretation, a conscious choice for gratitude. As opposed to the automatic program, that “He’s in my way.” “He’s wasting my time.” “He’s ruining my day.” That’s the kind of stuff that’s buried in there. These interpretations are not things that you’d see. But these are things that you will see if you look for them. The offhand comment hides these interpretations.
Here, so what is making these responses to drivers, to other people, to the computer being slow, to a customer support agent? These reactions, basically, to our jealousy at our partner, to people traveling on an airplane where they’re behaving, how loud they’re talking. How a meal tastes. If you were to look inward, and this is what you’ll learn as you continue forward, and how to dismantle these things. Whatever your issue is,
I’ll use the example, somebody leaves dirty dishes out, you’ve asked him many times, will he clean that up? This is how funky a belief system is. Sometimes you come back “Oh, that doesn’t bother me.” Like “I’ll clean that up for him.” “They’re probably busy.” But other times, maybe you’re more tired and stressed, and your mind and your belief system, because you’re in a different state of mind, interprets it differently. And now, them not cleaning it up, like you asked, means they don’t listen to you. “Is that dirty dishes sitting there? Oh, they got busy, I’ll help them.” Your mind does this quick calculation, “I have told them, multiple times. They didn’t do it, therefore they didn’t listen to me.”
This is the unseen interpretation. If they didn’t listen to me, “Oh, it could be, because they don’t respect me.” “They respect me.” “They don’t listen to me.” “I’m not heard.” “I don’t feel seen.” “No one’s there for me.” “I have to do everything alone.” “I feel abandoned.” “That’s frightening and scary.” “I’m angry at what they’ve done to me, left me here by myself.” If you delayer that interpretation about the dishes when you get really angry. It could have any one or all of those meanings, hidden in the interpretation. And we respond with a big outburst of anger towards them.
Do we notice all these interpretations where we invest in personal power? No. It’s unheard by us, unseen by us because we haven’t looked or paid attention there. Our unconscious belief system does it very quickly. We see the dishes, our unconscious belief system goes through all those layers and says, here’s the response. Just as if we were coming to a traffic light, and it turns red. And so we move our foot to the brake, we’re automatically programmed. And we get angry, and we only unleash on that person. Same if we have a jealous outburst. Or get sad at something or get fearful about something. We’re running a program that has many layers of ideas that we’ve invested in.
The key is to see it, be aware of it. And once you spring these layers into your awareness, you can change them. What prevents us from seeing them and being aware of them and changing them. We hypnotize ourselves with this first layer and say, “Oh, they pissed me off.” “Those dirty dishes drive me crazy.” And we go off with our attention on them with anger, we go off and fixate our attention on the dishes. And our attention being over there makes us unable to bring our attention inward and say, Oh, I think I have a program of beliefs about dishes. And my program of beliefs is generating, feeling abandoned, disrespected, unloved, and hurt.
Dirty dishes are out, somebody’s not doing what you say. That is symbolic of being abandoned to my belief system. And so I created in my belief system, a very big emotional reaction about dirty dishes. Can I change my emotional reaction? Yes, as soon as I address these unconscious beliefs that are in there.
But I can’t address the unconscious beliefs if I’m hypnotized to say, “the dirty dishes” or “they make me angry.” Because if they make me angry, if dirty dishes make me angry I have the answer. I just need to change their behavior and go down that road, I need to make them clean up, and then my belief system doesn’t activate. Of course, changing somebody else’s behavior means you have to change their belief system that has them leave dirty dishes out. So somebody’s belief system has to change. And it’s a lot easier to change your own than to change somebody else’s. That’s for sure.
And this is self mastery, this isn’t about controlling another person. These are the hidden programs that create our emotional responses. And I’m not asking you to find them and change them yet. I’m asking you to take off this top layer and be open to “There is something there inside of me as a belief program that creates emotion and I’m no longer going to blame somebody else for what I’m creating inside me as my interpretation system, and that way I claim power and agency”. And this is more truthful. Because to say “They’re making me feel this way”, is a lie.
I’ll give you another example of this. Jealousy. You know, you see your friend has a message on social media with somebody and it makes you suspicious, fearful, angry, insecure. You see them talk to somebody and laugh. And what does your mind do with that information?
One person’s mind is “Ah, they’re having a great time. That’s nice. I wonder what the joke is. I want to be included, I want to laugh like that. What is so funny?”
Somebody else’s mind, their belief system is running “Oh, they’re paying attention to them and not me. I feel left out, they must like them better”. The unconscious belief interpretation is that “They like them better”, “They want to be with them and not with me”, “They want to be with them because they’re better than me”, “They’re better looking” or “They have more money” or “They have more of this and I have less”. “I’m not good enough”, “I feel inferior”, “I feel hurt and rejected”, “I feel pain”. And that’s the automatic program that creates our emotions.
But if we aren’t aware, what do we say? “Oh, they’re making me jealous.” “Oh, they shouldn’t be doing that.” “That’s rude.” “That’s disrespectful to me.” “They hurt my feelings.” Those are the kinds of things we say to hypnotize ourselves to then not notice the agreements and ideas we’ve invested in in the past.
This reclaiming your personal power is a lot about unblinding you to these hypnotic lies that you’re powerless. And as you become more aware, you’re going to go “I got a lot of power”. “I got a lot of power and energy stored in these ideas about myself, and they’re creating a lot of my emotions.” Now, are all these beliefs and ideas stored inside of us creating emotions? Are they causing all of our emotions? No, no, you can have emotions that come from other things.
You listen to a piece of music, it can affect you. Music is designed and created to elicit a certain feeling without interpreting what the music means. You know, particularly you notice this if you have an experience with music you’ve never heard before. You feel something. And since you’ve never heard it before, you have no meaning, you have no history, you have no preconceived beliefs about that song. So you have more of a direct feeling when it’s something new.
A lot of nature, you can feel emotions from nature. But a lot of, and I’d say 80% 90%, of our emotions come as our reactions to events. And those reactions are based on conditioned responses. I remember I was playing with my nephew, and he was about three. And we were kicking the ball back and forth. I kicked it to him and only went like halfway. And so I’m running up to the ball to go kick it the rest of the way. And I’m looking down at the ball and I go to kick it. I didn’t realize he was running towards the ball too. And he’s like, 10 feet away, and I kick it, it’s this little softball, but it hits him in the face. And he looked at me with this surprised look, not knowing how to respond. This is a new experience. “I don’t know what this means.” “I don’t know what I do with this.”
And I saw that surprise look of not knowing. And I threw up my hands and smiled, and I laughed. And he laughed. You’ll see this when kids fall down. They’re learning to walk or they stumbled. Two or three or four years old. They’ll look around, they’ll see who notices. They’ll see how they respond. And to see a parent rushing to save them and go “Oh no, no. Are you okay?”. And then they start crying. Like they’ve contemplated “Okay, I should react with crying”. That’s what it looks like to me.
One of the things that we realize or distort is this notion that “Oh, this person makes me so angry.” “They make me so sad.” “They make me so happy.” And the way we’ve hypnotized ourselves with thinking and saying that sort of thing multiple times over the years. And now you come to this realization like “Wait a minute, I’ve been giving my power away. I give my power away to this person.” That’s not what’s been happening.
Your power hasn’t been going to this person. It hasn’t been going to traffic or the weather. Power has been going into this idea you’ve stored in this program-memory. The unconscious about your relationship to weather, the relationship to this person, the relationship to a customer service agent. You’ve invested faith. Even though you said, “They make me happy”. The power isn’t in them, the power is in the idea that you make them happy. And when you recognize the idea is false. “They don’t make me happy.” I love being with him and my love coming out for them feels really great, joyful, happy, loving…” But “make me” that’s a different thing. “Make me miserable.” “Make me afraid.” “Make me jealous.” “Make me angry.” That’s amplifying it to a lie level. And it’s not them making me happy, we’re not giving our power to them, we’re giving our power to these ideas in the form of beliefs.
So you don’t have to recover your power back from that or the person. You’re recovering back your power from your own belief system, by breaking yourself from this hypnosis of lies. And I’m not inviting you to find all these buried unconscious agreements. There are more skills needed to do that. What I first want you to do is grow an awareness and say “Yes, I am creating my emotions based on these unconscious belief programs that just take off. And my mind wants to say they, or that thing, or this customer service person, or this traffic, or this rain is causing me to feel this way. And I realized that’s not true. And I realized the truth is that I’ve invested power in these unconscious beliefs and they have been creating my emotions 80 to 90% of the time.”
So notice during the day, when you’re saying these things, catch your words, catch your thoughts. Notice these things when you are thinking these things. Notice it also when somebody else is saying it. How they’re hypnotizing themselves into a lie. Okay, that’ll heighten your awareness to how much it’s going on and how much you’re being offered this kind of paradigm that most people live in. And then reframe a truth. Be honest. “I’m creating these emotions with my unconscious beliefs and that world of change is possible inside me. I don’t have control over it yet but at least I know where to look. I’m going to look inward, instead of outward at them for what they did or what they should do.” Because now we’re in a wasteful story. We’re expending energy. Trying to control them. We’re expending energy getting angry at them, expending energy getting jealous of them or afraid of them.
When in fact, when you realize “I’m creating this emotion”, you stop expending energy on something that’s not the cause and you start looking inward. And that, stopping refraining from expanding that wasted energy, means you have more personal power.
This reclaiming of personal power allows you to redirect your energy inward. If I’m yelling at this person, this customer service person because I feel terrible about what they do. I’m yelling at someone, politician XYZ because of a policy because they really pissed me off. I’m just expending a lot of energy. Trying to change them so I feel better instead of looking at my beliefs and interpretations, which would actually make me feel better.
And so you’re not just recovering the personal power of faith from the idea “They’re making me feel”. You’re bringing into your awareness that “They’re not making me feel that”. “They’re not making me jealous.” “That makes me angry.” “They’re not making me afraid.” It’s not what they think that worries me, it’s what I think and what I believe they think that worries me. When you shift that, you’re going to stop wasting energy trying to impress other people, trying to control them, trying to make them change. And now you’ve got a lot more personal power, because you know where to look to make the changes in yourself you want to make.
So there’s a couple of levels of personal power, you’ll recover and as you do this, now you’ll have the energy and the intent to look inward at these layers of beliefs, and to do the practices that will change them.
So what happens as a resistance to this?
One of the belief programs in your mind from the inner critic, or the judge, as I call it, will say bad things about you. Let’s say, “Oh, I’ve been giving my power away”. “That’s been so stupid.” “You’re so stupid.” “Oh, I should have known this earlier.” “Oh, you’re screwing up again.” “Oh, you’re such a failure to have done this or not realize this.”
Or it will see you do it “You just said that person makes you angry, you know it doesn’t. You’re not doing the assignment.” The habit is, you’re still going to say those things. Our automated thinking and interpretation about what makes us angry isn’t going to change on a dime, there’s a momentum here. But bringing your awareness will slow it down and stop it, and it will take you a few weeks to get it completely turned around. Might take a lot longer in some cases of things that really upset you or things you can’t quite get around how you’re interpreting it. What’s going to take time in the meantime, the judge will want to condemn you. It’ll want to make you feel miserable for not realizing this sooner or the things that you’re doing in blaming other people.
The painful judgment It will make is “I’m the one making me angry”. “I’m the one making me afraid.” “I’m the one making me jealous.” “I’m doing all these things wrong.” But we say “If I feel this way, and I did it”, we’re the one with that inner critic turning its attention on us. But here’s the thing to notice, and I’ve integrated this here, is we didn’t consciously choose our emotions, in these cases. We didn’t consciously choose to be angry or sad or laugh at the joke or be offended at the joke, or how we reacted to the dishes. We didn’t choose that, in a way that wasn’t us. That was our belief system of automated programs we built in the past, with no awareness to what we were doing or the consequences later in our life.
Okay, our past self built these belief systems, created these automatic programs for emotional reactions, and then we forgot about it. And they had a purpose at the time. And they’ve been helpful at times in the past.
But it’s a matter of recognizing that inner critic that was to blame you, make you feel bad because you’re making yourself feel bad, or making yourself angry or offended, is to go “Hi, judge. Thank you. That’s not actually what happened. It’s not me consciously choosing this right now. Turns out I have this belief programmed from the past, that’s generating emotions automatically”.
Now you’re still responsible for the belief program. This isn’t saying you’re abdicating your responsibility. But it’s not you personally doing it right now, today. Like in a conscious, intentional way to make yourself angry or sad or offended. You know, our responses are like the Pavlov dog response. The dog that was trained to, when it heard the bell, salivate because they rang the bell, and they fed it food, they rang the bell and fed it food, they rang the bell and fed it food and then when they rang the bell, the dog salivated, even if it didn’t get food. Just conditioning association over time and habit.
Now, we all have some of those. Are we responsible for our habits? Yes. Can we change them? Yes. Do we need to judge ourselves from what we created in the past and forgot about? Now, the judging isn’t necessary. We’re already reaping enough consequences of the habit without having to add punishment on top of it as an extra motivator. So if the judge wants to turn on you, you can help redirect the judge. Say, “Hey, the actual problem over here is the habit of this belief system that’s unconscious. If you really want to help, you’ll help me dissect it”.
It’s kind of like, what the judge wants to do is like blame the dog for being stupid, because the dog salivates at the sound of a bell. The dog isn’t stupid, it has just been conditioned to have a programmed response. You know, and the judge that wants to blame us for being stupid or be at fault for creating these emotions is just the kind of judge that would blame the dog for salivating. It’s like, No, we have just been conditioned to respond this way.
And we can condition ourselves to change it. That’s the cool thing. You notice how powerful these conditionings are, that’s your creation, and you have the power to change it. So the more powerful you notice it to be, the bigger the emotional reaction, is a clue to how much power you have available. And then as you reclaim that power and learn how to dismantle the beliefs and recover that power, you can create vastly different feelings and emotions and behaviors, patterns in your life.
The other element of resistance that you have to get through, is that there’s this nice feeling to blame somebody else.
Yeah, that sounds kind of screwy. And it is. But when we blame somebody else, and tell them “It’s their fault”, and “They’re making me feel this way’', we can elevate ourselves in this sense of superiority and righteousness. So there’s this emotional quality that we get to feel there, if we’re blaming somebody else. It’s kind of an addictive dopamine, but it comes sandwiched in between a victim narrative of feeling powerless and offended. It also comes with a personal power narrative of hopelessness, that we can’t ever change it because we’re dependent on them.
So you end up believing these powerless, “I don’t have agency”, “I can’t control this feeling”. And you end up with this victim reaction, feeling. That’s the downside, along with the righteousness and superiority, when you blame somebody else. Two big downsides. And then after the reaction, we typically judge ourselves for overreacting, and there’s guilt and shame.
So there’s like, four unpleasant emotions in that approach. But there’s a tendency to hang on to it, because people are really attached to the sense of being superior and right, as an idea of who they are. And that causes them incredibly emotionally, and personal power and agency wise, as a consequence, so just, if you feel resistance, look for those two things. The feeling of being right, and how you might be attached to that. And the avoidance of taking any blame that the judge wants to direct to you, that’s actually better directed to a belief system program that you created in the past.
So these power over emotions, or those coming from belief systems, that’s not the only source of emotion. For most people, 80-90% of your emotions are coming from your belief systems. And so, when you stop looking outward at somebody else, you can direct your attention inward.
And how do you do this? Notice, where you’re attributing the cause of your emotions, your thoughts and what you say. Or it might just be kind of the paradigm of frustration with somebody, or something.
And when you notice that, you want to reframe it towards the truth. Say, “That’s a lie”. “What’s actually happening, I’m creating this emotion with my attitude towards this with my unconscious belief about this with my belief system program automatically doing this.” And the lie is that it’s all that. The lie is that it’s the dishes, the joke, XYZ situation.
And if you want to really accelerate this process and recover your personal power back faster, you’ll write each one of these down that you notice. Because it reinforces your brain and fixates to say, “Oh, he’s writing this down”, or “She’s writing this down”, “This is an important thing to pay attention to”. And your brain is learning, “Okay, I’m really going to pay attention to when I abdicate my personal power, and I’m going to recover it”, or “He’s writing it down again”, “She’s writing it down again”, “This is an important thing”. And so it will heighten you to be aware of it before you do it the next time or the time after that.
You will learn to break the habit of these hypnotic thoughts and things you say. You’ll break them a lot faster when you bring your attention to them in that way, by writing them down.
You know, by the end of the day or on your phone during the day, just make a quick note. “I just said this.” “I just thought that.” “Okay, what’s the truth of that?” “I’ve actually created that emotion with my attitude, with my belief, with my expectation being misplaced.”