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How to Free Yourself from Opinions with Shelly Lefkoe

Shelly Lefkoe is co-founder and President of the Lefkoe Institute, and the founder of Parenting the Lefkoe Way. She has personally worked with thousands of individuals from around the world. Using The Lefkoe Method, she has helped these people eliminate issues as serious as eating disorders, phobias, and depression as well as everyday problems like procrastination, shyness, fear of public speaking, and the inability to form healthy relationships. Shelly is a speaker, workshop leader, and author of Parenting the Lefkoe Way.


"The only place ‘I’m not good enough’ lives is in your mind."


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  • In my book Limitless, there is an entire chapter on mindset, where I mention Shelly Lefkoe and her work. I talk about the L.I.E’s (limited ideas entertained) we have that hold us back. They are just  B.S. (our belief systems). In this chapter, I discuss how criticism of other people matters to us, so I asked Shelly to tell us what someone should do that has been holding back in some area of their life because they are afraid of what other people are going to think.
  • Shelly explained that a belief is a statement about reality that you believe is the truth. Like being pregnant, you either are, or you aren’t. You might believe people are good or not good.
  • We have many beliefs, most of which are unconscious that sometimes get in our way.
  • Shelly had the belief that what made her good enough was having other people think well of her. That belief ran her life, causing her to question whether or not she did or said the right things for people to like her all of the time.
  • When she got rid of that belief, Shelly expressed that she got her life. She calls it her Martin Luther King, Jr. moment because she was “free at last.” She became free to be herself.
  • No matter what you do, someone is not going to like it. Instead of asking what will people think about me, consider asking yourself what might the consequences be of my actions, and do I want to live with those consequences.


  • When you came into this life, you didn’t know if you were good enough or not good enough. You didn’t know what makes someone good enough. As a child, you looked to your parents for those distinctions.
  • When your parents began to ask you questions like why can’t you do this or how many times do I have to tell you this, you experienced criticism — even from the most loving of parents.
  • As a result, you started to ask yourself why you couldn’t live up to your parents’ expectations. Then you justified it by saying, “oh, I see. I’m not good enough.” To a child, being criticized by parents feels like seeing that they are not good enough.
  • You concluded things based on what you thought you saw as a child, and those beliefs stayed with you through your life because it’s impossible not to believe something that you think you saw.
  • If Shelly were to say to someone that Jim is not Asian, they would not agree because they can see that he is Asian. She would not be able to talk someone into believing something they think they saw.
  • You can do self-help work and learn to grow and get better, but your belief is not going to go anywhere until you realize that you never saw that belief in the world.
  • The only place ‘I’m not good enough’ lives is in your mind.
  • The event itself does not have any meaning. The meaning comes from inside your mind.
  • Ultimately you have to go back and eliminate your beliefs to change your behavior and emotions.
  • Let’s go back to childhood. You had the belief that you were not good enough until one day, someone patted you on the back and acknowledged your brilliance. All of a sudden, you felt good enough. You recognized that when someone thought well of you, you felt good enough. This led you to the notion that what makes you feel good enough is when other people think well of you.
  • Then, for example, when you asked your parents to dye your hair pink, and they told you no because of what others might think, the belief became cemented in your mind.
  • Your parents cared about what other people thought and trained you to have the same insidious belief.
  • This belief keeps us from being ourselves and allowing our kids to be themselves today.
  • Sometimes we are more concerned about what strangers will think of us than what we may cause our children to believe about themselves when we criticize them.
  • Shelly recalls seeing a woman yelling at her 3-year-old for touching things in a store because she was worried that other people would think of her as a bad mother and think her child had no manners.
  • As children, we formed the belief that what makes us good enough is when other people think well of us, and it impacts the rest of our lives.
  • Just remember that when somebody thinks well of you and when somebody doesn’t, you are the exact same person. Nothing changed about you except the voice in your head.


  • When you eliminate beliefs, emotions disappear.
  • A way to test if you have the belief that you are not important is by asking yourself, what makes you important. If your answer is anything other than “nothing, I just am,” then you have the belief that you aren’t important.
  • If you have to be, do, or have something to be important (e.g., be a good parent, be the CEO, or have a bestselling book), you can’t believe you are inherently important.
  • If you get rid of the belief that says you are not important and your friend ignores you, you won’t get upset and angry; you would just be able to acknowledge that you don’t like being ignored. Consequently, you’d be able to ask your friend not to ignore you.
  • If you have the belief that you aren’t important and your friend ignores you, you are more likely to respond in a rash or defensive way.
  • If you get rid of your beliefs, your behavior will change, and your emotions will change.


  • While Shelly and her husband Morty worked with people, they realized that every once in a while, the belief they had would go away, but the emotion would still be there.
  • From there, Morty created a process that’s based on conditioning.
  • Close your eyes and remember a time as a little kid when you were criticized or judged by your parents. At that moment, did you feel loved or unloved? You felt unloved.
  • Criticism and judgment do not cause fear. Every time criticism and judgment were present when you were little, so was feeling unloved by the people for whom your survival depended. This is what caused the fear: the threat to your survival, not the criticism and the judgment.
  • The only reason you feel fear today is that you never made that distinction as a child. You were conditioned.
  • Close your eyes again and imagine that your mother or father did not criticize you or judge you but told you that you were loved unconditionally. Imagine going to a neighbor’s house where the neighbor criticized or judged you. Would you feel fear? No, because there is no threat to your survival.
  • It was never the criticism and the judgment that made you feel fear. If you did not feel fear then, would you feel it now? No.
  • Not living up to an expectation doesn’t cause fear in someone.
  • Close your eyes and imagine not living up to your parents’ expectations. Imagine hearing them tell you they are disappointed in you, you really let them down, or they thought you could do better. At that moment, as a young child, do you feel loved or unloved? Unloved.
  • So again, every time not living up to an expectation was present, so was feeling unloved by the person on whom your survival depended. The fear was not caused by not living up to the expectation. The fear was caused by feeling unloved  — it was a threat to your survival.
  • Fear is always caused by a real or imagined threat to your survival.
  • Visit Shelly’s website to experience belief elimination, here.


  • Take a screenshot of this episode, tag us on social media (@ShellyLefkoe & @JimKwik), and share your greatest “aha!” moment from this episode with us.
  • Find out how to eliminate limiting beliefs here.

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