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Archive for the ‘Self Help’ Category

There’s life in the old dog yet…

Sunday, September 28th, 2014

olddog

 

You know what? I just decided the other day that I really hate the phrase “Back in the day”.

 

On a recent night out with old school friends we started, as we often do, reminiscing about the past. One of my closer friends that I’ve known for close to 3 decades started entertaining us with stories about the various shenanigans we used to get up to. He kept on starting each story the same way, using the phrase “Back in the day”

 

I’m sure you know the line and may have used it yourself… “Back in the day when we used to <fill in the blank with something you used to do when you were young> etc”.

 

I don’t know about you but every time I hear someone use that line I get a sudden jolt of anxiety. I know for many it’s just a turn of phrase but the thought that instantly goes through my mind is

 

“Today is the day! Not some time 15 years ago!”

 

Whenever I hear one of my friends use the phrase ‘back in the day’ I always feel that the silent implication is that our best years are behind us. That just because we are rapidly heading towards 40, some of us are going bald, some are going grey and some are going bald and grey that we no longer have the ability to be as engaged and connected with life as we used to.

 

I hate this implication. I also find it to be mostly untrue. So many things in life get better with age. As we gain life experience and our mind develops over time we open up the potential to appreciate layers of pleasure and meaning that we simply couldn’t see when we were young.

 

I remember the first time I went to see the film ‘Pulp Fiction’. I was 19 and I hated it. I just didn’t get it.  I’d heard all the reviews and acclaims of creative brilliance but the only thing that surprised me as I walked out of the cinema was how boring and pointless I thought it was.

 

The scenes were too long, there was too much talking and it didn’t even appear to have a coherent structure. John Travolta gets shot dead half way through the film and then miraculously appears in another scene right after it! I had absolutely no idea what the heck was going on!

 

It wasn’t until years later when I watched it for a second time that I realised the scenes weren’t meant to be shown in chronological order and the film did actually have a very deliberate and quite innovative structure. As I watched it through older and wiser eyes I suddenly appreciated the brilliance of the film. The acting, the dialogue and the quirky atmosphere Tarintino had created, it was utterly absorbing. Why on earth hadn’t I noticed it the first time around? Why hadn’t I saw and appreciated the genius?

 

The reality was the genius had always been there, it had always been a brilliant film…I just needed to age a bit to see it.

 

I don’t think we’ll ever gain a full appreciation of everything life has to offer but I’m pretty sure more layers of pleasure and meaning become available the older and wiser we get. As we become more ‘experienced’ we start to see layers of appreciation we couldn’t see through younger eyes.

 

It’s not just with films but with most things we do. If we are open and willing to look deeper then there will always be greater depths of enjoyment and fulfilment to find. There will always be more to see, learn, explore and experience, in both our current activities and the things we are yet to do.

 

If we start buying into the illusion that we are past our prime, in decay and that ‘today’ is no longer ‘our day’ though, then we start to close ourselves off to these layers. We’re on, as many pre-retirees, say ‘the run down’. We might as well pop into a pair of slippers, grab a cup of Ovaltine and start watching re-runs of ‘Last of the Summer Wine’ and ‘Cocoon’.

 

There will obviously come a time when our body is failing and our mind is nowhere near what it used to be but let’s not speed it up on purpose shall we?

 

That’s why I really don’t like the phrase ‘Back in the day’. Sure, it’s great to reminisce about past pleasant times and it’s wonderful to share memories with friends but I don’t think it’s particularly healthy to start believing that ‘our day’ has gone.

 

Today is the day! And now that we are a day wiser, it’s got the potential to be even better than yesterday.

 

 

All the best

Steve

 

Do you swear to tell the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth?

Wednesday, June 11th, 2014

 

She burst into tears. I replied “Interesting!”.

 

Have you ever considered how liberating it would be to not get involved in any emotional drama…especially your own!?

 

Here’s my version of the drama process; an emotion happens because of something daft e.g. trains, work, relationship, money whatever. A wee voice inside our heads starts asking over and over again something along the lines of ‘Why me? Why does this always happen to me?’.

 

This begins to turn the volume up on the emotion at ever increasing rates and, before we know which way is up, we are wrapped up in an emotional drama which, of course, only serves to make the emotion worse, the voice louder and the drama complete! Sound familiar?

 

One concept I remember being taught a long time ago, by an excellent Yoga teacher, was the concept of witness consciousness; the understanding that the dramas of the physical world, both positive and negative, were not who you are. You are more than all of this and if you could meditate and connect enough with ‘spirit’, or whatever you personally call it, you could attain a state of witness consciousness, realise that ‘life’ as we know it is a transient phase of your existence and, therefore, you could watch your physical life unfold before you without ever getting involved in any drama.

 

Why would you, the dramas are mind stuff and the mind isn’t who or what you are?

 

It doesn’t fit me to take it quite that far but that doesn’t change the fact I loved the concept then, I still love it now and I’ve worked with it ever since albeit I’ve twisted it a bit.

 

So let me ask you, what would happen if you became a witness to your own thoughts? What would happen if, rather than losing yourself in your daily dramas, you stepped back as they began and just witnessed their emotional roots from a position of curiosity, like an emotional David Attenborough, fascinated by the curious behaviour of the creature that is you. What would Sir David say if his next epic programme was all about you?

 

The word ‘interesting’ is one of my favourite words and its one I use with myself and my clients all the time because, in my book, it’s a word of a witness. You see when I help someone hit an emotion, either positive or negative, it means we’ve discovered something together, maybe we’ve found something new, maybe it’s something old but I know we’ve discovered something! Now the fun is finding out what it is and how to make it do what we want!

 

So here’s a wee task for you tomorrow, or tonight if you still have time to fit in a drama before bed (if you’re in one just now even better!), feel what you feel as it starts, inside your mind step back from letting it consume you or acting on it (that doesn’t mean the feeling will go away, just you’re doing nothing with it) and just witness it. Watch it, see what it does. Don’t ask ‘why me?’, ask ‘why do that? What does it achieve?’.

 

One thing the great Sir David would think if he was studying the average person today? He’d be fascinated why, at times, they put so much energy into things they can’t change and so little into the things they can. But it wouldn’t bother him. He’d just think it was interesting.

 

After all, he’s only a witness. It’s not his drama.

 

Brian

 

How do you like your Change – Fast or Slow?

Monday, May 12th, 2014

 

At the end of our recent NLP Practitioner course one of our students asked a wonderfully crafted question. I can’t remember it exactly but it went something like this –

 

 

If you were to cast your mind back to when you were on your first NLP course assuming you had the knowledge and experience you have now, what advice would you give that ‘younger you’ to help them as they embarked on their journey as an NLP Practitioner?

 

 

Apart from the fact that it put me in a seriously DEEP state of trance! I thought it was a terrific question.

 

On further reflection I think the following advice is what I would give. (I also think it’s useful advice for people who have a casual interest in NLP but have not yet done an NLP Practitioner course)

 

The advice is this —

 

 

Change doesn’t always HAVE to happen fast!

 

 

There’s a bit of a myth in the NLP world that some people seem to have bought into that change HAS to be super fast or NOT AT ALL. Almost like a boom or bust, black and white kind of mentality.

 

Now don’t get me wrong here, I love and believe in fast change and think it firmly has a place in NLP. Phobias can generally be overcome in about an hour and emotional issues can often be released in anything from one session to five depending on the person and situation. Fast, flashy change is great and one of the reasons why NLP attracts the huge attention it does.

 

Without negating the usefulness and validity of fast change, I personally think the most useful and powerful type of change is the gradual and more sustainable one you make over a longer period of time. For me, who you become over a matter of months and years as a result of deepening your NLP skill and applying the tools and techniques to your life on a continual basis absolutely kicks the ass out of fast change any day.

 

I found out recently that in pretty much every culture there’s a variation of ‘The story of the fast and the slow’, ours in the UK being that of ‘The Tortoise and the Hare’.

 

The moral is of course that in life there can often be two types of people. Those who sprint off in a blaze of glory stealing all the limelight and those who take their time, not appearing to be doing much at the micro level, but in the grand scheme of things making steady consistent progress.

 

The former in the story, as we know, starts to believe in their own hype, rests on their laurels and eventually becomes complacent. The later continues to plod along making gradual but significant progress until, to everyone’s sudden surprise, overtakes the sprinter and finishes first in the race.

 

Stories like this aren’t just cute little parables that families all around the world tell their kids at night time. They are cultural memes that act as vehicles for passing on important and useful historical learnings. Story telling acts as a ‘time-binding’ function, helping pass on the learnings of the past to the next generation and the fact the story of the ‘The Fast and the Slow’ has been told for many generations across many different cultures suggest that there could be something important to learn from it.

 

I know we live in a time where people want things NOW! In fact sometimes YESTERDAY! But it’s simply not useful to invest so much of your energy into the concept that change HAS to be super fast or not at all. A far more useful approach is to look at where you want to head over a longer period of time and then make gradual but significant progress towards getting there. Sometimes you’ll get a big breakthrough and sometimes it’ll feel like change is taking a little longer. Sometimes you’ll want to make a quick, dramatic impact and sometimes you’ll find it works better to steadily work away at making more subtle improvements.

 

Hey sometimes it’s fun to be the hare for a while. To arrive in a blaze of glory, to show off and bedazzle. It’s exciting and dramatic but if that’s all you’re about then you’ll wake up one day and realize that there’s a whole bunch of tortoises staring back at you from the finishing line with contented smiles you can only pretend to have.

 

Making an instant impact is important but don’t forget the longer and ultimately more important game. Life is as they say – A marathon not a sprint.

 

All the best…

 

Steven Burns

 

 

What’s beyond your problem is most likely your truth…

Monday, April 7th, 2014

 

Imagine for a moment that you completely unlearned your biggest psychological problem. Might stretch your imagination a bit but just imagine that you clicked your fingers and ‘hey presto’ it was gone, exposed as an illusion, as if by magic.

 

If that was possible and you stepped into the space beyond, what do you think would naturally be there without you having to do a single thing?

 

Chances are you’d be massively relieved and just pleased that you don’t have to feel bad any more but once the dust had settled what would you notice to be there without you necessarily having to create something new?

 

A sense of peace, purity, happiness, freedom, pure potentiality perhaps?

 

It’s funny, we often think that we have to create positive alternatives to our problems from scratch – ‘Out with the old and in with the new’ so to speak. The assumption being that, when we change, we always have to create something new to put in the old problem’s place.

 

Well have you ever considered that there is already something special and pure sitting behind the problem, in the background, only you can’t see or experience it yet because you’re too pre-occupied with all the turbulence?

 

What if you were to go beyond and catch a glimpse? What if you stepped fully into it and then looked back at the problem…how do you think that might change things?

 

I know this probably sounds a little strange and possibly a bit esoteric but stop and fully consider it for a moment…

 

 

If your problem was to suddenly be exposed as an illusion and you stepped beyond, what would naturally be there without you having to create or do anything other than simply notice?

 

 

I think when you honestly do this you start to get an appreciation of your truth.

 

When I first learned NLP I was told that when you quote ‘remove’ a limitation you are left with a void that needs to be filled. If not then the client (or you) would be left confused and may end up falling back into their old ways of thinking.

 

Unless you strongly suggest this to them then I don’t think this is what actually happens when we resolve a problem. I think, in the absence of the problem, something pure exists behind and it’s more a case of ‘unblocking’ things to allow the natural energy and emotion to flow.

 

That change is often more a case of ‘unlearning the not so useful stuff’ so that we can ‘re-tune into’ our natural sense of pure potentiality rather than ‘removing limitations’ and ‘installing new stuff’.

 

Sure, sometimes we need new strategies and learning brand new ways of looking at ourselves and the world is an essentially part of being Human but to suggest that change is always about creating something entirely new is a bit of an insult to human nature.

 

It’s a bit of a trick of the left hemisphere really, creating a kind of narrow focus, spotlight type thinking that stops us from having an appreciation of the layers behind.

 

It operates from the utterly false assumption that we are born as complete blank slates and that without our ‘learnings’ our ability to experience the world would completely collapse. It’s just not the case and there is plenty of beauty naturally there that we start to re-connect with in the absence of our problems.

 

I remember talking to a Yoga teacher who told me that, throughout his training as his body gradually returned to something resembling its default form, he started to experience pure, positive emotions he hadn’t felt since he was a child. He wasn’t even really doing anything other than getting his body back into a healthy place, human nature did the rest.

 

There’s something about the process of unblocking the body that allows you to experience a once felt purity that you perhaps haven’t felt for some time and I think a similar thing happens with psychological change. When you resolve a big issue and then step beyond, it feels different but it also feels kind of familiar, like you’re recapturing some of the purity of what it felt like when you were a kid. At least that’s what it feels like for me and I know from talking to people that it’s also like that for many others.

 

So have a think about it again as you rarely get the full appreciation of it on first reflection –

 

 

If you snapped your fingers and suddenly realised that your deepest psychological issue (and we all have one!) was an illusion, what would naturally be there in its place without you having to create or do anything other than simply notice?

 

 

Because when you honestly step beyond into this place, what’s naturally already there is most likely your truth.

 

 

All the best

 

Steve

 

Do you see the world in HD?

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

So I finally decided to bite the bullet and go for a long overdue eye test today and I am now the proud owner of a lovely pair of designer prescription specs. (I look super intelligent btw)

When I tried them on for the first time the words that instantly came to me were -

 

“Ahh, so this is how the world is meant to look!!”

 

My eye sight wasn’t that bad but seriously…it was like suddenly seeing the world in HD!

 

I spent at least 10 minutes staring at this tree in the picture. I couldn’t believe all the details I’d been missing and how beautiful it looked.

 

 

tree

 

 

It goes to show that you really don’t know what you’re missing until you’re suddenly made aware of it again.

 

I guess it can be a bit like going for a massage to release a knot in your back. You don’t know how physically tight your body has been until you experience the release.

 

It’s the ‘Law of Familiarity’. When we’re in pain our body and mind finds a way to manage and cope with it and we sometimes start believing that’s the way it ‘should be’. Everyone has their burden to bear in life right?

 

It’s only when we resolve the pain and experience the relief and benefits that come with it that we realise how much we’ve actually been struggling and just ‘making do’.

 

I think it’s the same with psychological change work.

 

You don’t fully realise how much you’ve been struggling and ‘just getting by’ until you experience resolution.

 

You really don’t know what you’re missing out on until you’re suddenly made aware of it again.

 

I guess it’s also relevant to your potential. You don’t know what you’re capable of until you let go of the things that hold you back.

 

So the question to ponder is this – What’s the thing you ‘manage’ or ‘just make do with’ and what steps do you need to take to start making it better?

 

Perhaps it’s a physical thing you’ve been dealing with, perhaps it’s psychological or maybe both…

 

Perhaps there’s a quick simple solution to it or maybe you have a journey of healing ahead of you. Whatever it is, now is the time to start.

 

If you’re already on that path, what’s the next step? The journey of a thousand miles always begins with the first step and then continues with the next one. What’s the next step for you that will make the biggest difference?

 

Think about it…

 

What do you need to do to start seeing the way the world is meant to look? To start seeing it in HD again…

 

Take Care
Steve

 

Are you ready to make a REAL decision?!

Monday, June 17th, 2013

 

How good are you at making decisions? If you are still pondering the answer to that question then you already have your answer…let’s move on!

 

Making decisions is actually, in most cases, really easy to do. You know what to do, more importantly, you know what you *want* to do, you decide to do it and, as has already been said, you move on. Decision made.

 

But that’s not what happens for many of us, is it? In fact what actually happens is we know what to do, we know what we want to do…then we look to see if there is an easier or less scary way to do it, we ask some other people in the hope they will make the decision for us, we worry about it for a bit, we procrastinate, worry, ask about, worry and then we then make a half ar$ed, safe decision that goes just some of the way, but never all of the way, in the hope that ‘it will do for now’ and then, when it all goes t!ts up, we decide we’re crap at deciding because we didn’t do what we knew we wanted to do in the first place and the whole cycle becomes even more difficult next time.

 

Sound accurate!?

 

The two places I see this strategy carried out most often is giving up smoking and losing weight. Both of these things are big things. Especially with weight loss, it can take time and both require lifestyle changes. But they are things that people all around us want. So why don’t they get it?

 

My opinion? It’s simply because they never truly decide to do what needs to be done.

 

I totally promise you, when you truly decide to lose weight or give up fags, you will. The biscuits will stop miraculously jumping in your shopping trolley and even Jim in accounts offering you a fag on that night out, when he should have known you were two weeks into giving them up, won’t be enough to make you go ‘aye, alright then, just one’. But to make these changes, it takes YOU to decide.

 

A decision is a moment of certainty. A moment when you draw a line that you want go back across. It is a moment of power where you gain a clarity and focus, where a switch flicks in your head and you just know, you don’t know how you know but you know, something has changed.

 

You don’t have to fight it, you don’t have to be told, you don’t need to feel good or ever feel like you’re cheating, you just choose, completely and congruently, to live life a certain way and, from that place, I promise you, even changing the big stuff is easy.

 

I know if you think about your life there will be times when you made a decision like this one. You’ll recognise that nothing would have ever undone it even if the results of that decision were painful or sore. You will remember just being focused on keeping yourself safe, happy or free and that made even the sore bits easy to cope with. So, you have the ability, now all you need is some practice!

 

Try it on. I dare you! Give it a shot tomorrow. Just for one day, decide to make a change. Doesn’t have to be a big one, but make is a good one. Decide right now that you are going to stick with it. Feel free to post it here in the comments if you want all of us to see how well you did tomorrow. But decide.

 

There’s a wee phrase I remember picking up a long time ago; baby steps lead to miracles, miracles don’t lead to baby steps.

 

Time to just find your feet tomorrow. Than maybe the next day you can decide to walk a little further. Who knows where you’ll be by the end of the week…

 

Do Good Things

 

Brian

 

 

Do you crave complete control of your inner and outer world?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

When I was having a bit of spring clean the other day I came across one of my old notebooks.

When I first started learning NLP and hypnosis and being interested in personal development in general I used to always keep a note book in my back pocket to write down any ideas or sparks of insight that came to mind.

I couldn’t resist a quick flick through it to see some of the things I had wrote and the first page I opened had a list of goals I had written.

I had actually come up with the goals while on my NLP Practitioner course back in 1999 and I couldn’t help but laugh a bit when I read them. The first two were:

1.To have complete control of my inner world. Complete control of my emotions and be able to feel what I want when I want it.

2.To have complete control of my outer world. To be able to make enough money so I can do what I want when I want.

Now bear in mind I was only 22! and had just been introduced to NLP and how powerful it was. Even so, I couldn’t help but feel there was a slight sense of ‘megalomania’ about them!

It amazed me how much my goals have changed and also how many times I used the word ‘control’ when now a days the word has pretty much been deleted from my vocabulary.

I used to really crave control…complete and utter dominance of my inner and outer world.

It went on for a while until I realised I was slowly building a jail cell around myself.

I think a lot of people are the same. The word ‘control’ brings up a lot of stuff for people, especially if they feel ‘out of control’.

It’s the thing people think they want when they’re struggling to cope with what’s going on in their life but it’s definitely not what they need.

Have you ever craved control?

Do you still crave it now?

Maybe it’s something you try to get on the inside by controlling people and/or things on the outside. Maybe it brought you to self help, personal development, NLP or some place else.

Because the reality is you can never have it. It’s a bit like trying to catch a firefly flickering through the night. It seduces you into thinking you can capture it but every time you get close and reach out it flies off into the dark.

Rather than trying to control I think it’s much more healthy (and useful) to be comfortable when things are out of control.

This is a much more useful skill to develop…

The more you accept that some things just can’t be controlled the more comfortable you are when you don’t have it.

The more comfortable you are when you don’t have it the more you can relax, be in the moment and ‘in flow’.

Your vision starts to open up to the outside world and it’s much easier to improvise and respond to what’s going on.

And it’s waaayyy more pleasant…Speaking from experience, trying to control is a heck of a lot of work.

You don’t have to let go of it completely, just enough to realise that all you can ever do is attempt to do your best.

Sometimes you’ll surpass yourself, sometimes you won’t because of lots of potential reasons. At the end of the day that’s really all you can do.

The rest is in the lap of the gods and there really is no point in torturing yourself over it.

So what’s it like for you when you feel completely comfortable…not being in control?

Fully consider and reflect on the question…Notice where it takes your attention.

Kind of bends the mind a bit doesn’t it? :-)

I like to think we all have our own little books of old beliefs, notions and concepts we used to buy into…Things that, when you look back, seem a little silly while at the same time, rather cute and innocent.

For me ‘complete control’ is most definitely in there.
Take care
Steve

 

Do you dare to be vulnerable?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

What’s it like to be naked while everybody else is clothed?

A friend text me the other day to tell me they hated my blog post on forgiveness. She said it was patronizing and simplistic and that politics shouldn’t be used as a springboard to discuss forgiveness. Ouch!

It was probably quite a big leap to go from politics to forgiveness and she did have a point with the simplicity thing.

It was a very simple concept I wanted to get across about the tendency for people to hold onto resentment rather than learn from experience and move on.

In truth the post wasn’t really about politics or even Margaret Thatcher, it was about not letting harmful emotions do you damage and instead using them to fuel more productive behaviours and ways of being in the world.

It was a strange feeling though to get that kind of *cough* constructive feedback :-) and it got me thinking about a book I’m reading at the moment. It’s called ‘Dare to be Great’ by Brene Brown.

Her main argument is that anything worth getting or doing in life requires an element of vulnerability.

At some point you’re going to have to put yourself in a place where the quality of what you’re doing is judged or assessed and sometimes that judgement won’t be entirely complimentary.

How true is that?!

She also makes the really interesting statement that ‘vulnerability is the cradle that holds all of our worthwhile emotions’.

At first I thought this was a bit of a sweeping generalisation but as I analysed the things I considered ‘worthwhile’ I struggled to find any examples to the contrary…this idea returned to my thoughts as I read the text.

When you really think about it, any sort of challenge you undertake that’s important to you requires you to be vulnerable.

It requires you to step out of the shadows and risk judgement…possibly even condemnation and consequences. If not then perhaps it’s not really a challenge and not as important as you think?

There’s a wonderful NLP type book called ‘The Heroes Journey’ by Robert Dilts and Stephen Gilligan. It’s based on the work of famous mythologist Joseph Campbell and describes the different stages a hero or heroine has to go through when they embark on a quest.

One of the stages of the journey is called ‘Crossing the threshold’.
This is where the hero or heroine leaves the comfort of their home and sets off into the unknown to explore a new adventure.

One of the things they have to accept when they cross the threshold is that their current skill or knowledge WILL be seriously tested and may even fail them and it’s only at this point that they start to develop and transform.

In other words, if they want to progress through their journey and claim the golden elixir, they have to accept a certain element of vulnerability and there really isn’t any way to avoid it other than trot back home with your tail between your legs.

When you think about the different elements of your life, how is your own level of risk taking?

Could you increase it a little? A lot?

What would happen if you did?

How are you with vulnerability? Does is spook you out or do you see it as inevitable when pursuing the things you want?

Everybody has their own threshold before they start totally freaking out and you don’t have to go all out and do the scariest thing in the world.

It can be something as simple as pushing yourself into the limelight just that little bit more than you have been.

So…what do you think…Do you dare to vulnerable?

There’s a good chance you’ll be judged and assessed and it can sometimes feel like you’re naked while everyone else is clothed but it does provides a huge springboard for you to transform and grow.

Take Care

Steve

 

Who ever said change HAD to mean ‘burning your bridges’?

Monday, April 22nd, 2013

So anyway…I’ve been meaning to ask this for a while -

Have you read 50 shades of grey? I haven’t and don’t think I will…but I DO really like the title!

When Brian and I were running our Licensed NLP Master Practitioner Course last week a theme popped up every now and again that seems to affect quite a lot of people.

It was the notion that people are scared of and can also sometimes be threatened by change.

The idea of change can seriously raise people’s ‘stuff’.

Change has mostly very positive associations for me but I know that’s not the case for everyone. In fact, for most, it can be pretty scary.

Perhaps it’s an unexpected change in your personal or work life or that you see the people around you changing while you seem to be standing still, it can often create angst and jealousy at a pre-conscious level out with most people’s awareness.

Why the heck is that? What about you…how are you with change?

Do you thrive? Does it always excite you? or does it sometimes freak you out a little?

What about your friends, family and work mates? When YOU change does it unsettle them? Do they embrace it or does it sometimes feel as if they try and ‘bring you down to earth’?

I’ve certainly found the later of these pretty common in my own life and it can definitely be quite difficult to manage at times.

I think there are lots of reasons why change can unsettle people but I find it mainly comes down to two things.

Firstly, a person’s threshold for difference and secondly, the idea that change HAS to mean that you are about to lose something.

In life we are constantly balancing the two forces of familiarity and difference.

On one hand we all need a base level of familiarity to function, feel comfortable and secure while, at the same time, we need an element of difference to create variety and spice things up a little.

Too little difference and we start to feel bored while too much can make us stressed or sometimes totally freak out!

If you’ve ever had a life changing event like the ending of a long term relationship or suddenly losing your job you’ll know the feeling.

In reality it’s not necessarily a bad thing (in fact most people in hindsight say lots of good stuff come from such events) but, at the time, it can be massively stressful simply because you just don’t know what the feck is going on!

So much difference and unfamiliarity has suddenly been thrust into your life that it can be hard to adjust initially and find your balance.

Most people find their balance eventually but it can take time to re-establish.

Everybody has their own threshold for difference…Some people can take lots of it and generally thrive on change and variety (these are also the people who have a low threshold for boredom) while others start falling off the edge with very little.

How is your threshold? How much familiarity do you need to feel comfortable exploring something new and different?

The second main reason is a trap that lots of people fall into.

The belief that change HAS to means we are about to lose something.

This is one most of us succumb to at some stage. It’s very easy (especially if you’re into self help!) to buy into the illusion that change HAS to mean the disintegration of one thing with the replacement of another.

Sometimes of course it does but a lot of change is actually about learning something new IN ADDITION to what you already do well.

Whoever decided it always has to be all or nothing?

This is actually one of the main reasons why ‘you changing’ (especially when you change dramatically) can often freak out your friends and family.

It’s not because they don’t like you and want to ‘bring you down a peg or two’ it’s that they don’t want to lose you! They think that just because you’re changing it HAS to mean they’ll in some way lose the special relationship they have with you

Again, sometimes this can be the case but it’s most certainly not the only path.

To completely obliterate an old behaviour and replace it with a new one is often called in NLP ‘sloppy work’.

To create new more empowering choices so they rarely if ever have to use the old way is much more elegant and healthy.

I love the metaphor of the shapes.

If you were an unhappy square who desperately wanted to change you might decide to become a triangle. For a while you’re a blissfully happy triangle, life is good!

Then, after a while you start to become unhappy again. You yearn for the ‘good old days’ when you were a square but you don’t want to go backwards so you decide to change again only this time you become a circle.

Again life is good! It feels different, fresh and new…being round is good!

Then after a while you start to get restless again…

You think to yourself, ‘what the &^*! I’ve changed twice now I’m still not happy! What’s next? A hexagon, pentagon? A two-dimension regular polytope? (it does exist btw!)

Well perhaps rather than changing to another 2 dimensional shape you could move to the wonderful world of 3D and become a cube…

Because within a cube you can also fit a circle, a square, a triangle or perhaps even a teradecagon if you wish.

By becoming a cube you increase your depth…you open the avenue for additional choices without necessarily destroying the old.

Sure, you might never want to be a circle again but you still have the choice if it feels right.

In actual fact, you’re not really changing at all, you’re transforming.

You’re increasing your flexibility and range of choices rather than replacing old with new.

Sure they’ll be times where ‘burning your bridges’ is the most useful thing to do and there’ll be times where a problem really does need to be exposed and extinguished but to suggest these are the ONLY avenues for change is nonsense.

There are *cough* ‘50 shades of grey’ in most things if you open your eyes and do a bit of exploration and there is often a way to include new ways of being in the world without destroying the old.

Maybe I will read the book after all, what about you? :-)

Take care
Steve

 

Confidence and Self worth – Do you feel ‘loveable’

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

I read somewhere that deep down, the root of all our issues is that we just want to be loved and feel like we are ‘loveable’. I think there’s a lot in that…

To be loved is one of the highest ‘values’ we can have placed on us. To feel that we are ‘loveable’ gives us the full blown experience that we are indeed worthy and valuable.

It’s like the 3 Michelin star fine dining version of confidence builders…It’s where you feel your value and worth as a person has been unequivocally validated. It touches you deep within and lets you realise that you are actually perfectly okay.

I do think most of our issues, at some level, come about from the fear that we are not valued or that something could happen to cause our intrinsic sense of value to drop.
(more…)

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