Thursday, October 25, 2012

Compassionate intent

When we talk about having compassion it is so often about having compassion for others, yet how many of us come down hard on ourselves, that inner critic always criticising, never allowing ourselves to forgive ourselves, or even to try to understand why we behave or act or feel in a way we don't like.  I'll bet the person we are hardest on in criticism and leanest on compassion is ourselves.

And this is where another of the NLP presuppositions comes into play.

Every behaviour has a positive intent.....that's often a difficult one to understand and one that possibly meets with most resistance. However, it is one of the most important of the NLP presuppositions or beliefs as understanding this begins to allow compassion for yourself and those around you.

A very important distinction to make is that of INTENT rather than outcome.   Clearly not every behaviour has a positive outcome, yet every behaviour does have a positive intent - for the person doing that behaviour, though not necessarily for the person on the receiving end of the behaviour or action.  And that intent is almost invariably to satisfy an unmet need - be that a very basic physiological need, protection, or perhaps love, esteem, confidence, peace or happiness. 

Now, whilst this is useful for perhaps understanding or at least having compassion for someone else's behaviour and actions, where it comes into its own is for understanding and having compassion for ourselves.   Every bit of behaviour, every action that we don't like about ourselves, that we are critical of, that keeps us in our own internal conflict, is created for some positive intent, for ourselves.   Seems hard to believe doesn't it?   Why or how would a seemingly negative behaviour, action or habit be doing something positive for us? 

Often when people are trying to give up smoking or lose weight, or trying to make some other positive change it is the 'thing' that stops us from being successful, that little voice that says oh go on just one more won't hurt, or that seems to automatically reach for the biscuit tin or fridge door, those actions that seem set on sabotaging our efforts to improve our lives.   With guidance through therapeutic NLP and hypnotherapy the positive intention for these behaviours and actions that get in the way can be acknowledged, understood, and once understood we can show ourselves compassion for acting in that way.  And with that compassion, the opening up to other possible ways of meeting those needs and giving ourselves love, peace, happiness, confidence, or self esteem or some other 'state' we are seeking, without the need for the original unhelpful response.

Some examples from clients in my clinic revealed the positive intention of a fear of flying was for protection and peace, smoking was for courage and making a stand against bullying, overwhelming general anxiety was for love.

It is a wonderful way of resolving inner conflict and turmoil, of letting go of behaviours, responses and feelings that don't serve us well.   And very often the crucial element in making sustained and positive change and in accepting and loving ourselves for who we are.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Seeing things differently

During our sessions, or perhaps in books or other blogs you have read you may have heard  about the NLP (neuro linguistic programming) presuppositions and wondered what the heck they are!  Or perhaps you've heard or read phrases and wondered where they've come from or what they actually mean.

Underpinning the basis of all NLP work are deeply embedded core assumptions called the NLP presuppositions.  Now, that's a bit of a technical jargon so to put simply, they are a set of assumptions or beliefs about how people operate that create the basis on which NLP works and how change can happen. If you like, they are a way to look at things, ways can be useful in making changes to or understanding the way you and others respond to situations, relationships and life in general.

These core assumptions are:
  • The map is not the territory
  • There is no failure, only feedback
  • The meaning of the communication is the response you get
  • If what you are doing doesn't work, try something different
  • In any system the element with the most flexibility exerts the most influence
  • You cannot fail to communicate
  • Individuals have all the resources they need to achieve their desired outcomes
  • People work perfectly to accomplish what they're currently accomplishing
  • Every behaviour has a positive intent
  • Every behaviour is useful in some context
  • The mind and the body are connected and influence each other
  • Modelling successful performance leads to excellence
  • Having a choice is better than not having a choice
  • People make the best choice they can at any moment in time
  • People respond to their experience not the reality itself

Clearly as an NLP practitioner all the work that I do is based on these underlying beliefs and and perhaps as you read the list you may have agreed with some of them but raised an eyebrow or two at others!   Remember these are just beliefs, useful ways to look at things and I wonder in how many and in what ways your life would change if you made the choice to believe them.

Over the coming weeks I will explore each one of these beliefs, and you might like to see how they fit into your world, and how your view of the world could change as you begin to understand these and apply them!

So, the map is not the territory.  Huh?  What does that mean?  

Each and every one of us has our own map of the world - its what makes two people go to a party and have an entirely different experience, how siblings can grow up within a family and have two different tales of family life, how two people can see the same thing in a completely different way.

HSBC bank ran a series of adverts, often seen in airport corridors, that demonstrate this beautifully

How do you understand and interpret these images?  Perhaps in a different way?  All our maps are different and unique, they are the way we see and interpret the world, yet they are not the world.

How many different maps are there of the UK?  Yet which one actually depicts exactly what the land is?  None of them.   Each one is just a representation of what the reality is - some maps will concentrate on roads, others on topography, some may be in colour, pictorial, or a model.  But not one will be the territory itself.

So when you start to think about your own map of the world, how is it different to say the way your partner, your family, friends, colleagues see the world?  There will be a lot of similarities but there will also be differences.  And it is these differences that create the misunderstandings and conflicts.    And, just by understanding that our maps all differ, we can begin to appreciate and be aware of our differences, accepting them, and finding ways to seek understanding and resolution where there is conflict.

Next time you're frustrated that someone doesn't get what you're saying or doing, or you don't understand them, just take a moment to appreciate they're simply working from a different map.  You don't have to understand their map, nor they yours, just having the understanding and acceptance that the maps are different goes a long way to making the first steps to positive change and resolving conflict within a relationship.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Gettting to the nub of it works

...even if you don't know what it is, or if that is scary!

What I love about the work that I do, both as a body worker in my sports massage clinic, or with my therapeutic NLP and hypnotherapy is that to be successful I have to work with my clients on the cause and not the symptom.   You just won't get the sustained change without it. 

This can be frustrating for my clients. Why are we working on that when its this that hurts or causes me the problem, but I say stick with it and trust the process.   You have to resolve the root cause of the problem, sticking a plaster on or popping a pill may work or ease things in the short term but it will come back again, and again until you get to the bottom of it.

A wonderful reminder of this occurred recently.  A client came to me about a fear of travelling.  He'd had hypnotherapy before and it hadn't worked.   I explained that there are two parts to dealing with extreme fear or phobias -  destabilising the pattern of behaviour and installing a new pattern which deals with the 'symptom' or the response; but also exploring why the response was created in the first place and acknowledging and appreciating that there are  more appropriate options in how best to respond - the root cause.   My client looked a bit dubious about this second part and so I explained that probably the other hypnotherapy sessions he'd had just dealt with the symptom and that was why there hadn't been a sustained and permanent change in his behaviour, because the root cause had not been dealt with.  Sure enough, what came up was that the phobia's roots lay in an experience of flying home many many years ago knowing there was a very unpleasant abusive situation to deal with when he got home.  This had never been explored, in fact it had been buried so deep the client was surprised to have been reminded of it.  With some further work around the root cause, he left the session to go and book a trip, and we hadn't even started work yet on the symptoms!

It may be daunting at times to explore the real nub of the issue, we can dress it up, pretend it doesn't exist, choose to brush it under the carpet, but it will continue to rear its ugly head time and time again until we choose to face it and resolve it. 

Working with a therapeutic NLP and hypnotherapy practitioner will allow you to explore these root causes, the real nub, with empathy and support.  And it could transform your life.  Imagine a life free of those things that hold you back, that create internal conflict, how wonderful that would be.   You can have this too!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Munching a mammoth in 30 days?

There's that saying about 'how do you eat an elephant - bit by bit of course' and I was reminded of this in my own mentoring session with a colleague this week.   The issue was the elephant just seemed so humungously woolly mammoth sized that even eating it bit by bit seemed like too big a deal.  Funny then that an email should also pop into my inbox from the wonderful Connie Chapman from A Life Of Perfect Days inviting me to join her on a Transformational 90 day Challenge.   But somehow even 90 days seemed too long, too daunting, too overwelming.   Sound familiar? 

So bit by bit we chunked down, broke that woolly mammoth into an elephant and then into even smaller bitesize pieces and ended up with a challenging but realistically manageable 30 day challenge!  It was quite contagious and I challenged my colleague to join me in the challenge which was duly accepted!  And as I write this I am smiling as I originally typed  "I shan't reveal the details but know that the success of it will be clearly evidenced on here, on Facebook, on Twitter and ultimately in my diary!"  yet the challenge requires me to declare it!  So deep breath - 30 days to get out there in world what we do!   There - that wasn't so bad after all!

So how does a 30 day challenge hit the spot?  Well 30 days is only a month, in fact less than a month for 7 of them!  Its four and a bit weeks - hardly any time at all when you consider we're already into October 2012 and I last blogged at the end of July which seemed like just last week!  So it's not too long to fear commiting to, yet its long enough to create a habit, to bed down new patterns of behaviour and certainly long enough to start seeing results which will inspire you to continue on way past the 30 days!

A 30 day challenge is fantastic for making big changes or little tweaks - and once you start you'll start to see lots more opportunities in your life for other 30 day challenges.  And its great fun and a huge motivator to share with friends or colleagues - set up a facebook group or blog and declare your challenge publicly  to the world (or the intimacy of a secret group if more appropriate) as letting people know what you are doing holds you accountable and you may be surprised at the support you get, from unexpected places!

Not sure where to start, what to do for a 30 day challenge - pick an area of your life where you'd like to see change and identify the change you want that is realistic yet challenging within 30 days.  Think of what action(s) will start to move you towards that goal and commit to doing that action(s) for 30 days and hey presto that's your 30 day challenge!  It doesn't have to be anything big - start small for your first 30 day challenge and you know its funny how a seemingly small 30 day challenge will bring far greater positive benefits than you would ever thought possible!

Would love to hear about your 30 day challenge!