* These stories are real life stories about real life people (all names and identifying characteristics have been changed).

Many years ago before I became a business consultant I was a piano player and got a call to play at a venue with a musician friend of mine.  Short on cash I eagerly accepted the gig.

Then 45 minutes later I got a call from another friend who had another job opportunity the same night at three times the pay!  I didn’t feel like I could say yes because I had already committed to the lower paying job and knew I would feel guilty if I had to call back and cancel.

After I hung up the phone my mind started racing with anger and frustration.  “This isn’t fair I need the money – I need the higher paying gig!”  I wanted to make my friend wrong because he “made” me take the cheap job and had offered me such a cheap gig.

I was frustrated at myself because I wasn’t willing to call and cancel so I could take the higher paying job.  I literally felt like the proverbial rock in hard place.  “Why do I feel so guilty? Why don’t I just call back my friend and cancel?”  I wondered.

A few days prior I had finished reading a book on how our beliefs create our experience and - ultimately our entire personal reality.  I was feeling so resentful and stuck after I hung up the phone that I decided it couldn’t hurt to use some of the concepts I had learned and see if I could create some sort of a breakthrough.

I knew (according to what I had just read) that my emotional experience comes from my beliefs - from what I believe to be true about people, places and things.  I learned that a belief is just an idea that I’ve told myself is true time and time again.

However, a belief is never “what’s actually so.” It’s just an idea that I use as a guideline in my life and that I no longer question.

So I decide to enter into a personal inquiry.  I explored my beliefs about guilt and discovered an entire hidden belief system.  I held beliefs like, “It’s wrong to break your promises.”  “It’s right for people to have a guilty conscious.”

“People who don’t have a guilty conscious are bad people and will do bad things.”  After each belief arose I paused and asked myself, “Is this necessarily true?” Then I would sit in the inquiry until I could see for myself that it wasn’t necessarilytrue.

After examining one belief after another I suddenly became really sick to my stomach.  I fell down on the floor.  And before I was aware of what I was doing I found myself getting down on my knees and clasping my hands together like I was praying.

I thought, “Where on earth is this coming from?”  Suddenly a memory occurred to me that I had long forgotten.  I remembered being 8 years old and being very, very sick. I remember believing at the time that God was punishing me with my sickness because I was a bad boy.

And so there I was 30 years old, watching and recreating my entire experience and memory from my childhood sickness.  In a flash of insight I realized I had made up all my beliefs and experience around guilt and punishment. I didn’t have to feel guilty!
Experiencing immediate relief and a new found sense of freedom I immediately called my friend up and explaining to him that I had been offered a higher paying job and would he mind if I took it.  He immediately responded casually, “Sure, of course - no worries!”

Daily Reminder and Practice
Today I will be aware of any circumstances that arise that cause me to experience any kind of emotional upset: anger, guilt, sadness, overwhelm, anxiety or stuckness of any kind.

When I notice these feelings I will pause and take a few moments to reflect (whether it’s in the moment, or later after I’ve removed myself from the situation).
I’ll ask myself, “What are the beliefs that I’m holding about this situation that might be triggering my emotional upset?” I will make a comprehensive list of all associated beliefs.

Then I will be willing to examine the truth of my beliefs one by one and ask, “Is this belief necessarily true?”  I will stay with each belief until I can see clearly that it is not necessarily true.

Ultimately, while I may not have control or power over other people, places and things, I do have control over is how I am interpreting my situation.  And the only way I can gain insight into my interpretations is to by examining and questioning my beliefs and replacing them with something more empowering.

I’ll continue until I’ve explored all my beliefs that arise about my situation and replace them with new possibility that gives me a great sense of freedom and choice.

Author's Bio: 

Leslie Cunningham specializes in working with women entrepreneurs who experience fear and self-doubt in their ability to consistently make more money in their business. The end result that women achieve through following Leslie's advice and expertise is that they are able to permanently get off the emotional financial roller coaster ride and break into six-figures and beyond. http://impactandprofits.com/