And so another week has passed and it is time again to start digging into ourselves, trying to work out what makes us tick. It’s great to know that we have emotions and that they are important and we should feel all the feels, but what do we do with this information? Start punching people who piss us off? Possibly. If you are like me, and you have made some adaptations to hide your limiting beliefs and your big emotions, well then, awareness is a huge step, but like Einstein said (or whoever put Einstein’s name on the quote) “We can’t solve problems by using the same kind of thinking we used when we created them”. So sadly, I can’t think myself out of this hearing thing, so what can I do?
Enter NLP or Neurolinguistic Programming. I had the great pleasure of learning a little about NLP last year with the effervescent Judy X King (follow her on Facebook if you need some inspiration). What I took from the course is that we all have a model of the world, often outside of our awareness. So let’s say that every second, via our senses, we take in millions or billions (read: a shitload) of bits of information and there is no way that our conscious mind can process all of it. So what do we do with it all? We delete bits that we don’t think are relevant, we generalise other bits into categories from what we have known in the past and we distort the information we take in to make it match our view of the world. We do this on autopilot and what it results in is that each of us doesn’t see the actual world as it “truly” is, but only a representation of it.
We know this when we see movies with our friends and have totally different experiences, or when someone really fucks off your friend but you don’t really see what the problem is. What about when you sit with someone’s family who they have been constantly complaining about and you think they are awesome? Or when we hear our friend tell us how dumb/fat/ugly they are, when all we see is brilliance. How we see the world through this filtered view, means that all of us feel different things about different experiences. Most of my family members, for example, didn’t get the joy of misophonia, and each of them processed our shared childhood in different ways and each made their own adaptations to survive and thrive in the place we grew up in.
Through coaching you can bring the ways that you delete, distort and generalise into your conscious awareness as it is often clear through the language you use to speak about what’s going on for you, where your representation of the world may be sitting. So you might tell yourself that you never get what you want, or you have made up your mind that someone definitely hates your guts or that you should work harder or be a better mother by sacrificing your needs. The way we speak shows so much about our representation of the world in what you may have deleted, distorted or generalised and having an awareness of this can bring a different possibility into your world.
So think about the ways that you might be (definitely are) deleting, distorting or generalising in your model of the world, and then think about how this is the same with every person around you, and how this can lead to so much confusion. This can help us to understand a couple of assumptions from NLP which can help us lead a calmer life. We can respect another person’s model of the world, and we can start with the premise that “everyone is doing the best they can with the resources they have available”. We are all seeing the world differently! And that can be a beautiful thing (and also totally fucked up).
The fun thing about NLP is the tools that it uses gets down to the level of the unconscious mind – the place where the murky memories are stored and possibly repressed, the place that keeps our blood pumping and heart beating and where we feel everything. It’s a bit tricky to think your way into your unconscious mind but through hypnosis and NLP tools, we can find ourselves there. This is going to be the way for me to dig into those beliefs about sounds and emotions and my worth in the world, that my conscious mind can’t access.
So in this session, my therapist introduced me to the first tool that we would use; anchoring. Anchoring is something that we do automatically so much of our lives; a certain smell can bring up a feeling from the past, entering a certain location might bring up another, and the feeling can be positive or negative. Through NLP, anchoring is a way to bring on the good emotions from things that happened in the past, to help us in the present.
The thing to do first is to select a certain touch that you will associate with a positive feeling, something that you don’t do regularly. For example you could hold your earlobe or press a certain knuckle, or else press the tip of your thumb with the thumb and pointer of the opposite hand. This is the one I chose.
What you then need to do is think of a time when you felt a strong positive emotion; in my session we did confidence. I thought of a time when I felt really confident and really got into that feeling via all of the senses. I closed my eyes and imagined what I was smelling, seeing, hearing and tasting and when the feeling of confidence felt like it was reaching a peak and I was embodying that feeling, I pressed down on my thumb and held it until the feeling started to pass. Then after a while, I tested it out; would simply pressing the thumb in the same way bring on good feelings? Hell yes, it did. Yahoo.
This doesn’t mean at all that if I have a misophonia attack that I will press it and all will be well, no no, this is just the beginning of anchoring, only to be used when I am feeling good anyway, and when I press it, I feel better.
The homework for the week was to practice this each day; both strengthening it by adding other times when I felt confident (or just using my imagination to make it if I couldn’t think of a time, it’s cool as it can be easy to trick your unconscious mind), and then pressing it each day to give the good feelings.
Go out and remember a time you felt joy, excitement, peaceful, confident, the best you ever felt, and create an anchor to use those beautiful memories to spice up NOW.
Try it out if you dare. Or you can contact me if you feel brave and we can chat or I can send you an example of an audio recording of me doing this anchoring THANG.