Archive for the ‘NLP’ Category

That “Falling in Love” Experience… & How to “Fall Out” of It!

If you had the luxury of falling in romantic love, you most certainly recall how it all first starts.

 Remember that instance of secretly free-floating kind of feeling?

 That oh so rare incredibly beaming, yet purring-like sort of feeling?

 That ‘once in a blue moon’ please don’t let me be dreaming kind of feeling?

 These are but a few dazzling signs of that first while. You can’t seem to help your face becoming decorated permanently with that smile. It’s as if you’re in trance stretching day and night. Those flickering butterflies in your stomach just won’t stop; and you keep wondering what’s with that soothing numbness you feel from bottom to top. You have this endless gaze in nowhere oblivious to whether the whole world is falling or not. You wish you could travel in time and space to cut short the seemingly endless hours of waiting; and the ridiculously long distances keeping you apart in craving. And when you meet with your loved one, that accidental touch makes your heart pound a hundred times faster. That look in their eyes sends that gentle electric buzz and you go: “where can I burry my eyes next” to avoid any blunder. You oscillate between awkward moments of silence followed by a barrage of held back emotions as if their floodgates swung wide open. And these effects continue and soar to more (I’ll let your thoughts freely reign). Then with time, all probably waxes and wanes ….

Those feelings, then, evolve into stages and start taking on many forms. They grow beautifully in absurd ways; yet, get shaken at times to your dismay. The seas can’t remain smooth forever; and you’re prone to face some storms (big, or small). All are part of the process of having that free-fall. There could be fights, major setbacks, and alarm signals warning you to watch out. Still, you cling to that bipolarity of feeling so strong yet so fragile; so happy yet so sad; having a “ruling of the world” feeling yet a sense of “complete lack of control”. No proper definition can capture what’s going on; and you find yourself unable to escape its tyranny. The only way out of it is through…. It’s like the inevitable bitter-sweet malady… the most pleasant melancholy ……, and then it’s the perfect remedy…. And hell yeah!! We all enjoy how the rich sweet ingredient of it feels; and curse the times of tragedy.

 And you’re lucky if it all lasts…. For some, the whole world slowly or suddenly witnesses a collapse. They recognize that their castles were built in void air; and all their dreams were set in flare. From that loved one they are to beware. For different reasons, they realize that there is no hope for continuing the affair. The future seems so bleak, and for more suffering they are to be prepared. Worst cases are when that loved one abandons, abuses, betrays, or turns out to be a complete lie. And they find themselves imprisoned; and believe if they let go, they’d possibly die. Mixed feelings dominate and fight inside. Like victims of circumstances they rage at being helpless. The good memories are still loaded up in their mind exacerbating their distress. Faced with the harsh reality, they still feel hopeless for a good relationship to thrive. It all becomes easier if they learn how to “fall out of love”. And you may often hear them saying: “I can’t possibly find another to love as much. My heart is too weak for a rebirth”. They miss on the idea that some six and a half billion people are roaming on planet earth. Their chances to find another are still very high….

If that beautiful epic fails, how can you help someone (maybe yourself) to let go and blast off forward on a new search? How can one regain that power of the mind over the heart? Let me tell you this: The mind has, in fact, that power already if we just use it right. I often use a technique that I adapted from Richard Bandler – the co-creator of NLP – to help my clients “fall out of love” (specifically the ones who’ve been hurt badly) when they choose to. It just requires recalling good and bad memories with the loved one. Emotionally charged memories are easily accessible, so that piece of it is very simple. Let’s assume you’re the one who wants to be totally free of your X-lover’s power. Just follow these steps in order to make the bad memories predominate and perhaps become repulsed from that hurtful X-mate.

 – Stacking good memories: Recall 4 or 5 nice memories one by one with your loved one. See yourself in each acting out the episode (i.e. watch it as if you were watching a movie). This is what we call a “dissociated” way. It’s like someone else is enjoying the good times (not you). Now run those episodes in black and white and one after another quickly. This drains life out of these memories further. When you’ve done that, run this continuous movie backwards with all its episodes till the day before you both met again. Then make the screen at the end of it go blank. Do this last step a couple of times running the movie backwards as fast as you can while shrinking it in size each time. This is how we lessen that memory’s emotional impact to the point of erasing it. The memory stays there, but its power over you disappears.

 – Stacking the bad memories: Now recall as many bad memories as you can (those that hurt you most) with your “X-mate”. This time, watch each of these in life size and through your own eyes as if you were the camera man this time. See what you saw then, hear what you heard, and feel again all those negative feelings. This is what we call an “associated” way of recall. Connect these memories together like a movie one after another. Run them again and again in your mind amplifying them in size, sound, and feeling. When you do this a couple of times, you’ll be fed up! The effects would be like that needed last straw that breaks the camel’s back to fall out of love.

 – Oscillate between the above two: Repeat the first two steps as needed and until you can’t bear associating with the bad ones any longer. The good memories will have no effect now that the bad feelings predominate.

 – Getting repulsed: Many would still fear reacting lovingly again to their “X”. After all, who’d want to remain a fool? There’s a way to go about that too. Just trigger disgust instead at the mere thought or sight as a replacing thought. Think of something that is really repugnant for your (I’ve heard examples of rotten poo with flies hovering around it, spread vomit, squashed rat, chopped liver, etc… – sorry about that); and make a picture of it. Make it really clear in every way possible till you’d want to puke. Now from the center of that picture, open the picture of your “X” smiling. Repeat this over and over till you associate that face with the repulsive thought. Do I need to tell you what happens next time you see or think of your “X”?

 – A brighter future: Imagine a brighter future now without your “X”. How would it be like? Imagine yourself laughing again, free, socializing, and being appreciated by many others. Step into that image and feel what it’s like. Totally different, right?

I truly wish no one ever has to go through this exercise and continue indulging in the “love treat”. Don’t let the fear of any future mishap hold you back. Not the first time; not again if those emotions attack. There’s so much to “falling in love” that you rise with it. You may not need to go out looking for it. It will find you somehow; just permit it. And if it disappoints you later, you can always count on time to heal. If not quickly enough, it’s up to you to speed up the process of recovery by using the power of your mind. We all know pain is inevitable. It’s the suffering that’s optional. So, keep indulging! There is always a way out. It’s through it; by that abide. Keep woo-hooing! It’s the most thrilling roller-coaster ride….


Resolving Relationship Issues: Fit into the Other’s Shoes

If you’re like most other humans – not living in isolation – you’re definitely involved in a wide array of relationships. And you’re lucky if these were enriching to your life and provide you with the necessary support to combat life’s hardships. Unfortunately, in many, you’re very likely to encounter bumps along the road to have these maintained. And sooner or later you may find yourself in attempts to weather all sorts of storms. Conflict, tension, frustration, and serious misunderstandings can result between parent and child, couples, siblings, friends, and colleagues at work. There’s an inevitable break-up with those you find yourself continuously struggling with. Some people are not so easily dispensable though. You realize that there are grave consequences for cutting all ties; and eventually feel you’re stuck with for life. You attempt different ways to reconcile; succeeding at times and maybe failing at others. And you keep trying……till it sometimes completely drains you. Sounds familiar?

There are few things that you need to keep in mind if you wanted to sustain indispensible relationships (you know…, those that can do you more harm than good if you lose):   

  1. Keep the channels of effective communication open. Even if you were given the “deaf ear” or the “cold shoulder”, each person has a key. Find it to unlock the silence. Talk about what makes them nicely “tick” and then actively listen to what is said (and left unsaid). Approach conversations in a positive way. This reduces the other party’s defensiveness and, in turn, allows you to be listened to just the same.
  2. The luggage we carry on our life journeys makes each of us perceive or interpret things differently. No wonder we vary in degrees. These differences naturally breed conflict. In relationships, it’s best to keep the focus on your similarities, common values, and interests. Doing otherwise would widen any existing gap further. Nobody is expected to share exactly your same thoughts, beliefs, needs, or priorities. Find where you both meet and take it from there.
  3. It’s not about keeping record of win-lose battles. Believe that you and the other party are on the same side of the fence. Avoid the common assumption of being antagonists fighting over power. Even if the other party still holds that as true, make it appear they have it. You’re the one in control if you have the right attitude and approach. Where’s the common cause? Find it; and make it a competition to reach a win-win solution that is mutually agreeable. Shift your mindset from having a combative to a cooperative relationship.
  4. Ask to work on problems together handling each at a time. There’s no “one” way to work things out. With the other party, expand on the possibilities, solutions, and the consequences of each. Problem solving situations are opportunities in disguise to make your relationships stronger. With the right attitude, you can use these constructively to strengthen your ties.
  5. Avoid the focus on the other person’s failings. Always consider their assets, qualities, and good attributes. Mention these during your conflict resolution attempts. It’s no use to open the file of past misdemeanors on every occasion. It only flames relational discord. The best thing about the past is that it is gone. Stay focused on what you can do now and in the future.
  6. Choose the right time to discuss any arising issue. If you’re angry, wait for your anger to subside a little. We all know that being negatively charged with emotions can lead to irreparable rifts. If the other party is in a rush (e.g. leaving to work), postpone discussion to a more appropriate time. Careful, as well, to the choice of place (alone with the other party as opposed to being in a crowd). Timing can make all the difference. If you leave things to snowball, it would be difficult to rectify an evolved pattern of grudges piling up one on top of another. Do I need to mention the consequences of bottling up? Naaah…, we all must have a taste of that obvious explosion somehow.

 When relationships become strained and conflict ridden, they become an additional source of hardship to overcome. The best thing you can do is to equip yourself with the skill of conflict resolution; and practice navigating your way through proper communication. Who wouldn’t like to live harmoniously with cherished others? Consider the following technique which you can use to positively approach conflicts. It requires you to dissociate and take on different perspectives around the issue you want to resolve. It’s more like a “role play” game (Yeah, it really helps to laugh and play when you have serious issues to take care of 🙂 ). It gets you in a clearer mindset to head on disagreements the right way especially if you’re turmoiling inside.

 Let’s do this exercise together. Think of an issue you want to resolve. Alone in a spacious area, choose 3 different locations that are more or less close to each other. Note that you’ll be physically standing on each of these and will be assuming different roles or positions.

 –       First position: That’s fully you! Think of the situation. What are you feeling now and what’s your attitude about the other person? Fully associate with that role (i.e. mentally travel in time scanning different episodes of your interactions and recalling things you’ve seen, heard, and felt). This is your baseline for resolution. When you’re done, blank the pictures in your mind and physically shake that role off. Move, next, to position 2 (usually facing the first position as if you’ll be conversing with the first role).

 –       Second position: That’s them! This is when you’ll assume the role of the other party. In your mind, imagine you’re fully them. In other words, be in their shoes, wearing their clothes, speaking as they do, and thinking exactly the way they would. Now is the time to practice “empathy”. Carry whatever degree of emotional baggage and experiences they may have had on their shoulders. Look at the person sitting in “position 1” (the original you). What’s their attitude towards you and what do they want? How are they talking to you? Get into their mind set. Why are they behaving, thinking, and feeling the way they do? Don’t forget to consider their good qualities here. Take as much time as you need. When you’re done, shake it all off like you did the first time; and go stand in position three facing the first two.

 –       Third position: That’s the role of a wise observer! Now in this spot assume you are a complete stranger to both as if you were a spectator of a movie. Your role here is that of a detached advisor who will objectively give an opinion about what’s going on between the two. Dissociated enough from the situation now, be as objective as you can. What’s going on out there? Generate solutions that are mutually satisfactory. Knowing that you cannot tell the other party (the one in position 2) what they are to do, advise the one in the first position (the real you) of how to better handle the situation. What resources does that person need to handle it right? What was missing in all interactions? It could be more confidence, empathy, better communication skills, etc…. Take your time to discover these.

 When you identify the needed resources, and still in that position, remember a time when you actually did have what was missing. Fully re-live those memories mentally one by one. See? You have these already and you can bring them back if you choose to. Imagine that you can transfer these somehow to the person sitting in the first position (again, the original you). You can gesture the transmission with your hands, or mentally. Then, go sit in “position 1” and imagine you’re receiving these through both body and mind. These are your new armor for future interactions. Remind yourself of the 6 points above. Now look at the person sitting in “position 2”. It feels different, doesn’t it? You have a better understanding of how to lead your confrontation and reach reconciliation. You and the other party will both win this time. GO!


Snap Out Of It: Dissociate. Here Is The “How”

Disappointment, discouragement, hopelessness, helplessness, or sadness are but few of the negative states that can put us in a depressed mood. The reasons vary; and when horrific things happen, negative emotions become paralleled with foggy thinking. We may become imprisoned by a chain of negative thinking until our emotions change to the better. Great…., but how do our feelings change? Would you wait for them to change on their own, or rely on external factors to make it happen? What if that doesn’t take place soon enough? How about you play a more active role instead of waiting? Consider the options you have when you find yourself in a depressed mood. You have at least 3:

  1. Stay in your negative state, beat yourself up with further distressing thoughts, and worsen your mood further.
  2. Kick away those negative feelings directly and bounce back to an opposite state as if nothing happened (more like denying yourself any experience of negative feelings).
  3. Allow yourself to stay there a bit just to process what triggered your bad mood; then, change state and focus on finding solutions.


It goes without saying that the nature and the magnitude of the trigger can place you somewhere on that continuum at first; nonetheless, you have a choice to move out, away, or into healthier responding. But which of the above three options do you think is considered “healthier responding”? You deserve to live your life fully, so why restrict yourself to negative states? Hence, the first option is by no means the best choice. One of the beauties of being human is that you have feelings; and to deny yourself getting in touch with your feelings only deprives you of your humanity and gets you in more complicated emotional problems. Hence, denying yourself the variety of emotional experiences is, similarly, unwise. The second option, therefore, is ruled out. This leaves you with option three. Do I hear you say: “Easier said than done!” or “you don’t know what you’re talking about; it’s too difficult to snap out of it”? Let me suggest a tool I often use in therapy and coaching. It’s called “Dissociation”. Many use it intuitively, and it has widespread other uses besides changing states.


Sit in a quiet comfortable place in solitary. Start a mental scan of the events that precipitated your bad mood. If you’re unable to identify a specific event for your low mood, just examine how the previous hours went by. You’ll be surprised as to how easily the main cause emerges.


Assess: Start processing your feelings (processing here means identifying and labeling your feelings). Delve behind the feelings for reasons; analyze and dissect the situation into its main components. Your thoughts about it will feed into your feeling further down, so just allow yourself, then, to be fully associated with your negative state (i.e. feel, visualize, and hear the external and internal dialogues).


Dissociate: When you’re through this examination, physically stand up and face the place you were sitting in. It may seem bizarre the first time, but you’re alone (hopefully) and no one will wonder what in the world you’re doing (keep playing the game of dissociation). Visualize yourself sitting in that seat (make a mental picture of how you were sitting exactly – the other you). Imagine that the one standing, now, is your best friend (i.e. the best friend of the one sitting). Being your best friend now, what would you objectively advise the person in front of you to think feel, and do? Narrate the counter arguments of the situation, draw attention to the bigger picture, list the empowering possibilities, and reignite that person into a better mood.


Associate: Bring in several memories of times that you felt totally happy, confident, motivated, or any other positive state. Associate yourself with those good feelings every time by mentally visualizing each of those incidents, seeing all the details, hearing all the sounds, and re-living those feelings that dominated then. Let the picture become brighter, the sounds become louder, and allow those feelings to grow each time. Finally, get back into the body of the person sitting in that place (both mentally and physically). You still carry those positive vibes, so just permit them some time to take over that prior state as if you were receiving the new empowering vibes now.


When you do this, you will realize how much our thoughts affect our internal states. It is very easy to give in to negative thinking, but these exacerbate our negative emotions. If you want to snap out of it, just allow yourself some time to process what happened then change your thoughts. Changing your thoughts guarantees a change of state. Now you know how you can do that. Dissociate, but follow that with associating into good memories. Says who you cannot be the nautical wheeler of navigating your own ship of emotions?..….

When You Can’t “Undo” It, “Re-do” it!

Wouldn’t it be great if we had the ability to press “undo” for some past events we don’t fully approve of just as we do on a “word document”? Unfortunately, in real life, the potential for unhappy life experiences is loaded; and we are not equipped with a similar opportunity when things go wrong. We often say things we regret. We find ourselves in embarrassing or painful situations. We even acquire many fears and phobias following just one ill-fated accident. And then, we beat ourselves up repeatedly with the memory until the negative feelings compound and restrict our ability to move forward. We get cornered in between self created confining walls and feel stuck because we carry a heavy baggage of all sorts of guilt, shame, or fear that keep one in place. So, then what do we do?

Well…. Maybe you cannot totally “undo” a previous incident, but there is a smart way to go about it if you have exhausted all other resources to rectify. You can learn your lesson, forgive yourself, minimize the importance of the whole event, and water down the intensity of any corresponding negative feelings. Time can surely heal, but things may drag. It’s more empowering to speed up the process, assume control and lift up your own spirits. Here is one sure way derived from NLP techniques to help you “re-do” what can’t be undone. It makes use of humor and visual minimization. We all know that humor can be a good coping mechanism to deal with difficulty. And we unknowingly and un-deliberately use both minimization and humor to deal with many tough realities. The following exercise combines both in a much more concentrated effort when the need arises.

Imagine yourself sitting all alone in a cinema holding in your hand a remote control that starts a movie on a big screen in front of you. You can control when the movie starts, stops, and play some scenes forward or backward. You can similarly control the sound, color, how fast the scenes go, and even the size of the image. This cinema is the “change workplace”. As you sit there, start playing the episode of that phobic or distressing situation. Watch it all happen slowly. You may experience some discomfort, but that’s Okay. Let it wash over you for the last time. If the anguish is too intense (in cases of phobias), stop the scene, rewind and play it again until you’re able to watch it all through. Tell yourself: “I need to face this for the last time”. When you succeed, stop and re-play the scene backward to the start. Watch it all in reverse (you or others talking or walking backward, etc…).

Next, run the movie from start really fast this time up to the critical moment (taking only a second or two); then run it backward as fast again. Do it a couple of times (i.e. fast forward and backward). The final stage is that of intervention and “re-doing”. Play the scene forward shrinking the image in size till it becomes the size of a postage stamp towards the end. Do this a second time playing forward adding some humor. You can insert the sound of some circus music in the scene and/or make the voices of you or others talking really funny. Add the voices of other spectators laughing as if watching a comedy sitcom while clowns jump around in funny maneuvers. Shrink the scene again as you play it forward. Repeat the same process playing it backward then forward as fast as you can until you feel that your worries greatly diminished and faded away.

When you think about the situation now, you won’t find it as disturbing or fearful as it was earlier. And if there are still any major residues, smooth it over by playing around that movie some more each time adding funny things and fading the colors and the size of the scene. The shift in your new experienced feelings will simply be magical. “Redoing” the episode this way will make you feel lighter and alters your state from that of bemoaning to owning a change in course. Why not save your time, attention, and energy to focus away from that experience and build new positive bridges. Whatever you nurture grows much bigger in size just as a shadow is of any respective object. And you need to accept that some “stains” are difficult to “undo”, and it is much easier to throw a garment than to dispose of our self-image. And unless you decide to let go, and actively shrink that memory, you will remain disempowered and stagnate. Active self-healing may be necessary to speed up the process of discounting the perils of a gloomy past episode, so better not rely only on time to do the work.


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