it’s not what you believe, it’s how you live your life ..
As I take care of my old mum through her decline into dementia, navigating the family dynamics, and learning from all the ‘stuff’ that comes up while doing what I imagine, and hope, is best for the person I’ve known longer than anyone else .. I realize that no amount of commitment to a belief, or to an ethical principle is a genuine substitute for authentic personal alignment and congruity.
In other words, if I let unresolved issues get in the way, or if I look at things as they unfold as anything other than a gift and an opportunity to learn something new, then I would be missing life’s big opportunities.
It’s not that there’s anything wrong with belief, or faith, or clear principles. It’s just that, by themselves, they won’t make you happy or change you. Your life is a work in progress. Your hardest challenges are often the greatest gifts, sent to heal and transform you. All it takes is to recognize them for what they are.
Because I value all I have learned over the years from meditation, hypnosis, and NLP; and because NLP in particular is something that people are asking us about in anticipation of our upcoming NLP training, I want to write about the connection between NLP and what I referred to above as ‘personal alignment and congruity’.
First of all, NLP is NOT FOR YOU if:
- Your inertia is stronger than your sense of adventure and discovery.
- You prefer to blame others rather than change something within yourself.
- You don’t want to challenge the limits you have set for what is possible.
- You like to win people over to your point of view, rather than listening to where they are coming from.
- You have high ideals but find yourself compromising a lot.
- You avoid doing things that cause you to risk failing, or making a mistake.
- You avoid learning new things that challenge what you believe and how you think.
- You don’t want to change any of the above.
Actually, NLP is not so easy to define, because it’s not what you do with it, as much as the thinking you use behind what you do. What shows up as personal alignment is different for everybody. When people ask us what NLP is we often say, “Everything you experience is made of the words and pictures you use to represent it .. and you can change that!”
NLP is not strictly a modality, because there is such a wide variety of ways to practice it. Some of them may even seem to contradict each other! Though there is certainly a body of coherent skills within NLP that can be learned.
NLP is certainly not a belief system. In fact it tends to question the very mechanism by which we formulate beliefs. It emerged in the early 1970’s out of a handful of curious and brilliant innovators who took it upon themselves to integrate, synthesize, and model what worked best in the fields of psychology, personal development, and human accomplishment in general. Though it’s roots go back much earlier. The momentum that created NLP was through a methodology, a way of questioning and experimenting. So NLP is best described as a method for replicating effective strategies, it is a means towards an end, the road to a positive desired outcome.
For example, someone may have an intense irrational fear of spiders, so strong that they avoid going anywhere near them. How might you instill a similar fear, not of spiders, but of needles in a drug addict? With NLP you can do that.
With someone who is chronically late for appointments, but never misses their morning coffee, you can apply a similar strategy .. to help them either to give up coffee, if that’s what they want to do, or to be punctual for all their appointments. With NLP can do that.
Some good questions to ask are:
“What can I learn here?”
“What can I take from this situation to other situations, that will allow for greater effectiveness and maximum benefit?”
“If this is the best thing that could have happened, how can I make use of it now towards the greatest positive good?”
When should you use these questions? Anytime! Especially when you are least inclined to; when you don’t get what you expected, when your car breaks down or you are delayed in getting to the most important meeting of your life, when someone, or something, you had relied on suddenly isn’t there anymore, when someone surprises you with a devastating personal attack ..
Managing Your Emotions
Another way of say this is that NLP is all about managing your emotional state, and since NLP has allowed me to begin to learn how to do that, one of the great pleasures I now enjoy when I am with my ol’ mum, is to engage her sense of humor and irony, to be playful with her, to help her remember that there are ways to be light, relaxed, free from anxiety.