I’m constantly amazed at how I’m really not that good at this life lark, despite 41 years of having a go. It’s not that I think I’m particularly worse at it than other people, I just think most of us don’t really know what we’re doing (well, I don’t think it’s just me).
So when something does click and make sense, I get, well, a little bit over excited. I’m like, woooooohay! I get something! And I’m having one of these moments with beliefs.
About ten years ago I did an NLP training course at work. It was an intensive Practitioner’s course, and I found myself falling in love with NLP: I loved the opportunity to understand myself more, and I loved the opportunity to understand other people more. At the time I managed an internal communications team, and this course was to help me – the team – be better at meeting the needs of the business. But, what I didn’t know at the time, was how big a part NLP would play in my future life outside of work, in my recovery, in just living.
NLP – neuro-linguistic programming – is an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy. It was initially designed to discover how certain individuals had become excellent communicators, and to create models of this behaviour, which would then enable them to teach others how to be as good. Since then a whole host of techniques have been created under the banner of NLP, and NLP training courses are widely available.
The title of NLP refers to the connection between the neurological processes (neuro), language (linguistic) and behavioural patterns that have been learned through experience (programming). The idea is that with better awareness of these relationships, we can improve how we think, feel and behave.
And the other day, I sat back with my current package of worries (there’s never just one is there?) and realised I was, once again, going to be calling on my good friend NLP.
You see, here’s the thing: I seem to be spending way too much time with my not so good friend, self-limiting beliefs. I know why – but I also know they have to go. Do One. Foxtrot Oscar.
About six weeks ago, I woke up one day and suddenly felt well. Not the I’m-not-a-hundred-percent-well-but-feel-pretty-good-as-long-as-I-take-care-of-myself-well (which is how I was before Japan, how I have been for the last couple of years – until the recent crash a few months ago, which has seen me reunited with fatigue, frustration, and the sofa) but a bloody hell, I-think-I-feel-normal-well (well, apart from the endometriosis, and a sickness bug my mum rudely gave me, but that is a whole other saga!).
I know: BLOODY HELL.
Of course this is great; fantastic; amazing; brilliant; wonderful; fabulous (okay, I think you get it…).
But (oh yes, there’s always a but isn’t there), it quite simply freaked me out; it was so sudden. And out they all came, the self-limiting beliefs, joining forces, ganging up on me, attempting to spoil my happy party:
Will the energy last?
Is this it?
Am I now well?
Should I be being careful, not ‘spending’ all my energy at once?
Should I…? Should I….? Should I…?
And so I found myself in the craziest of situations: physically I felt fine, more than fine – but mentally, oh dear.
But I recognised it all for what it was, and so came my WOOOOOOHAY moment! ‘I know what’s going on,’ I smugly said to myself, to Husband, to Best Friend. ‘AND I know what to do about it,’ I added, with an extra helping of smugness.
It’s perfectly understandable, that after such a challenging relationship with my body, sometimes I quite simply don’t trust it. And even though, it seems to be fixed, to be strong, to be healthy, it’s going to take a little time for my mind to believe this. My mind is filled with memories of broken body moments, and it is filled of memories of when I thought everything was going to be okay but it wasn’t.
But I know I can retrain my mind to filter for different memories. I remember doing an interesting exercise on my NLP course when we looked at how we filter information. And we all do it (we have to or we would be in permanent overload): when you break up with a boyfriend, for example, the world suddenly seems to be full of couples. But, of course, there are the same number of couples as yesterday, it’s just that with your new focus, this is what your brain searches for. And guess what it finds: couples, everywhere.
But I know that this is what is happening (woooooohay!) and I’m not having it. So every time my memory throws up something about when my body has let me down, I challenge it with a memory when this didn’t happen. And to make this more powerful, I sometimes anchor a memory – really visualise the memory, bringing it to life: what did it feel like? What could I see? Where was I? What could I hear?
Or I am coaching myself (I know, I’m getting carried away) acting as a mentor, maybe someone I admire, or maybe just me on a good day. Because when I coach myself, I force myself to look at the whole picture, not just the self-limiting belief, which is doing its best to take me down at that moment.
I am also modelling my behaviour on people who have recovered. If we want to be good at something, NLP says learn from the best. So I am looking at fellow recoverers and seeing what they did to take themselves from nearly well to just well. For a start, they don’t live in fear that their body will let them down.
So, as I join forces with NLP, the enemy that is self-limiting beliefs will soon be on its knees. Woooooohay!
To find out more about NLP and NLP training courses, click here.
This post is sponsored by Inspire 360.