Finding the Option Method was, for me, like finally finding a bridge I had been looking for. Option is a simple, yet amazingly powerful vehicle for getting from where you are to where you want to be.

And so I began the process of questioning my unhappiness, my issues, with Option’s very respectful dialogue technique. It allowed me to explore and discover what the belief was that fueled a particular issue. Once the belief was exposed, I could decide whether it was still relevant or applicable for me--whether or not I still believed it.

When I would realize through dialogues that a belief was no longer true for me, the feelings and behaviors that followed from it seemed to just fall away. It was very powerful. It's like when it stops raining, no one has to tell you to take off your raincoat - you know you just don’t need it any longer. That’s how feelings and behaviors are in relation to outdated simply don’t need them any more.

For example, on exploring an issue I had about weighing more than I thought I should, I found that I believed if I didn’t feel unhappy about being overweight, I wouldn’t do anything about it. When the facilitator I was working with asked me "Why do you believe that?" my mind was flooded with the following answers: "I’ve never not been unhappy about my weight, so how do I know that I wouldn’t do anything about it" and "I’ve been unhappy about it most of my life and that hasn’t been very successful in resolving my problem so far. So if I am using unhappiness to motivate myself, it sure isn’t working. Plus, it hurts!". It even occurred to me that here I was ‘beating myself up?to stop overeating, but maybe one of the reasons I was overeating was because I was beating myself up.

This marked the beginning of the end of my adversarial relationship not only with food, but also with myself. It became obvious that ‘motivation by self-flagellation?was not the best way. I don’t have to be unhappy now in order to be happy later. Maybe I could even be more effective and creative in achieving what I want without the added burden of unhappiness.

Since that time I have continued to work with myself and with other people, searching for and uprooting our self-defeating and limiting beliefs. Beliefs are funny things. By definition, they are things we accept as real or true without positive knowledge or proof. It seems we acquire many of them when we are children, because they were probably true back then, or at least helpful. But unfortunately, beliefs, like some government programs, get put on the books, but never get reassessed for their value.

What is so exciting about the Option Method is watching people use it to take back their lives, reclaiming their power to make their lives what they really want.

One woman I had the honor of working with was a very good and successful teacher. In her explorations she discovered that even though she found teaching to be satisfying and rewarding, she always wondered if she could support herself solely as a performer. She had a wonderful singing voice, but had a lot of limiting beliefs concerning such things as being ‘practical?and ‘realistic? more specifically that ‘teaching is a very secure profession? and ‘it is the rare performer who can actually make a good living at it--no matter how good they are? Though on examination she saw that those beliefs might have some validity; she concluded they were not necessarily true.

Ultimately, she decided that she would indeed try it, knowing that she wouldn’t like it if she lived her life without having taken that risk. And, besides, she believed that she was a good teacher and, therefore, would be able to get another teaching job if she did decide to go back to it.

To make a long story short, she left her teaching job and supported herself quite well solely by performing for about one year. And although she was thrilled at having actually done it, she decided she preferred the teaching profession for a number of her own reasons. Within a few weeks, she had an even better job with the school district, this time knowing she was teaching because she wanted to do it more than anything else.

She discovered, as I had, a deep respect for herself and her ability to take care of herself, which translated to an abiding self-trust.

And the more I work with others, the more I find the basic Option premises to be true for all of us: (1) we are rational beings whose reactions and responses to stimuli follow from the beliefs we hold at any given moment, (2) we are always taking care of ourselves the best we can based on the beliefs we are operating from, (3) we are each our own best expert, and (4) anything we discover in our explorations can only enrich our lives.

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