What's that knot in my stomach saying?


We all see the world through filters, without even knowing it.

Our early experiences shape any new data that comes into our awareness, and we just live that "reality" as if it were true.

Those distortions and generalizations are then called beliefs, but we're often completely unaware that we're even holding the beliefs - they just feel like truth. 

Those beliefs don't have a full update on how old we are, how wise we are, how we could be noticing different things, or interpreting what we do notice differently, or how we could be LIVING differently.

When we got into some belief work in an Awaken class, one of our participants said in our private WhatsApp group (used with permission, of course): 

"I just had a HUGE realization listening to Christi Byerly and Ben’s conversation this morning… 

I feel like I exist in a permanent state of anxiety — the “knot” in my stomach and tension in my whole body like I’m bracing myself for impact all the time… and so I asked how old that feeling thinks I am.

It said 13 or 14.

That’s the age I started to “perform” — as the lead in school plays, in debate teams, in public speaking competitions, and it’s also the year I had my first set of formal exams.

I got so anxious at this time it made me extremely unwell and I ultimately developed an eating disorder as a coping mechanism.

But I did brilliantly in all of it. I excelled perfectly at EVERYTHING.

And I think somehow this part of me — that thinks I’m still 13/14 — also thinks that for me to achieve good things and get results, I have to feel horrifically anxious first.

So, the logic of that part is:



This feels HUUUUUUGE to me. I can’t even tell you how much this feels like I’ve cracked a code in my brain. 🕵  🤯 right now.

I need to lie down I think… 🤣"

Beliefs sound like: 

  • x = y (anxiety = success)
  • x causes y (my ADHD makes people hate me)
  • x doesn't exist (nice men aren't nice - they're just like all the other men)

Those beliefs pass by unnoticed. Until one day you do notice them - often in a coaching conversation. 

And that’s when the belief starts to lose its power over you. All you need is a touch of curiosity, a touch of doubt, a touch of imagination, a touch of possibility. And a willingness to behave in ways that make other things feel more true. 

This Awaken participant can hang out with her 13/14-year-old and give that younger self a dose of kindness, safety, and truth.

They can introduce the possibility that success and good results often happen when you're calm and happy.

And they can start testing out what it's like to live that way.  

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