Do “allergies” make you a bad person?

I heard a teenager give a presentation recently about his struggles with anxiety and depression. It was very powerful and honest, and it reminded me of something I’ve been wanting to write about for a while.

It’s an idea that didn’t make it into the book, but I may try to work it into the next version, because it’s incredibly helpful—and something I’ve been sharing with a lot of people lately, even my grade school children.

Anyway, if you ever beat yourself up because of how you’ve reacted to something, this is for you.

This might be one to share with others, too.


P.S. Big news! The hardcover of Raise Your Inner Game is now available for FREE!* More info in the post and at



    • Powerful story of a teenager struggling with anxiety and depression.
    • The simple shift in perspective that changed everything for him.
    • A transformational idea for our daily mental health and happiness.
    • Listen/read to get the full message.


    1) NEW: Raise Your Inner Game hardcover is now available for FREE!* Comes with a 6-week online training ($97 value) and a private student forum. Learn more and order your copy today at! (*The book is free. You pay $7 for s/h)

    2) Check out our podcast, The David Levin Show.

    3) NOW AVAILABLE: Limited Edition Raise Your Inner Game Medallion. Carry it in your purse or pocket. It’s an UP button for your Inner Elevator! Visit to learn more and order yours. (FREE shipping!)

    Finished: Kane and Abel by Jeffrey Archer. Oh boy. Started well but pretty soon I recognized his schtick. Painful from then on. Melodramatic. Simplistic. The good people are so good. The bad, so bad. Won’t make that mistake again.

    Up next: Might wait for Seth Godin’s new one next week – This is Marketing. Might read Kennedy for the Defense. We’ll see.

    [ transcript ]
    Hey, it’s David Levin. Author of Raise Your Inner Game, co-author QBQ, the Question Behind the Question, Founder of Raise Your Inner Game Academy.

    So, this might sound like a silly question, but does having hay fever make someone a bad person? No.

    If you’re experiencing allergy symptoms yourself — sneezing, runny nose, all that — do you feel embarrassed by that, or are you ashamed of yourself for it? Again, I assume and hope, the answer is no. Of course not.

    Seasonal allergies are annoying, but they have nothing to say about who we are as a person. Right? It’s just how our body reacts to certain things in the environment — pollen/dust/etc. And when the symptoms kick in, we don’t feel guilty about it. We just wipe our nose and move on. It’s nothing personal. Agree?

    Okay, so what I want to suggest to you is that many of the things we do that we ARE ashamed of, that we DO believe say something about who we are as a person, many of those things should be thought of in exactly the same way. They’re not about who we are, they’re just how our system reacts to certain things in our environment – our emotional and mental environment.

    Take me, for example. Last week I told a story about getting stuck behind a man using a walker and reacting internally like a bit of an impatient jerk. And again, I didn’t act out on it or anything. It was just some fleeting thoughts and emotions. But still, it’s not something I was proud of. It’s something I would like to be better about, and I talked about one specific idea for how to do that, which was to give myself more time between appointments. So I took the reaction seriously, I took ownership for it, and put some energy into how to improve it. And that’s what we should do. But what I DIDN’T do was beat myself up for having had the feelings in the first place.

    The feelings of frustration and being judgmental are just how I react when I expose myself to the allergen, if you will, of running late. And the proof that it’s not really me is that if I give myself more time between appointments, I don’t have those feelings. You see? They only come up when they’re triggered by the situation.

    That’s the shift I want you to make. I want you to depersonalize your thoughts and emotions and just think of them as allergic reactions, as just your system doing what it does.

    I know this can be a tricky shift because it’s so different from how we normally think about this. But if you can do it, the idea is absolutely transformational for our daily mental health and happiness.

    Here’s an illustration of that.

    I heard a young man, a teenager, recently speaking about a rough period he’d come through, struggling with anxiety and depression. It was very powerful and honest. He said he had basically felt like he was just worthless. He had nothing to offer. He didn’t matter. Things just seemed pointless.

    So he started seeing a therapist and she helped him see that all those thoughts and feelings he was having, were not really HIM, not the REAL him. They were just his adolescent brain doing what adolescent brains tend to do. Those kinds of thoughts are super common at that age, which is one reason suicide rates are higher in teenagers.

    But he said, that core idea—that the thoughts weren’t coming from the real HIM—that shift made the difference.

    That’s exactly what we’re talking about here. It’s actually the foundation of everything I talk about in Raise Your Inner Game. You have thoughts but you are not your thoughts, you have emotions but you are not your emotions, you have a body but you are not your body.

    The more we can internalize that, and start seeing our reactions to things as just our system responding to triggers rather than as a mark against our character, the easier and happier life becomes.

    I hope that makes sense. It is an incredibly powerful shift.

    So that’s the main thing I wanted to talk to you about this week. See if you can’t start thinking about your negative thoughts and emotions as if they’re just allergy symptoms. There’s something in the air. My system is reacting. It’s nothing personal.

    In the news this week, I am super excited to announce that the hardcover edition of my book, Raise Your Inner Game is now available for free! I’m not kidding.

    So the deal is, I bought a bunch of books because basically, I want people to have them. The more I hear from people how it helps them, the more I want others to have it, too. So I’m giving away the books now. But I also want to make sure you get the most out of the book, so when you order, you also get a 6-week online training—the Raise Your Inner Game Accelerator. That’s normally $97 but I’m including that for free. AND you get 12 weeks of access to a private forum where you can basically ask me anything. It’s a pretty good deal.
    Now, I say the book is free, along with the training and the forum, and they are. But to help me offset some of the costs so I can continue to offer this, I do ask you to pay $7 for shipping and handling.
    So you get the hardcover book, the 6-week training, and the private forum, all for just $7 shipping and handling. Pretty great.
    You can learn more about this and order your copy at my site, or at
    If you don’t have the book yet, this is a great chance to get it. There’s really no excuse anymore not to get this, if you’re at all interested in self improvement. It’s just a no brainer.
    If you do have the book and have friends you think would be helped by it, it’s a great offer to tell them about. Again, just point them to or

    So that is it for this week. If you haven’t subscribed to our podcast yet, The David Levin Show, would love to have you join us there.

    Raise Your Inner Game ACADEMY is currently closed. But you can get on the wait list at

    Otherwise thank you. Keep up the good work. And I will talk to you next time.

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