Saturday, 5 August 2006

Your Words Create Your Reality

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That our words create our reality is the foundation of Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP). When I was growing up I overheard my parents saying that I would probably be a doctor or lawyer. I was about 8 or 9 years old at the time. Now this had a profound effect on me because I thought to myself “Doctors and lawyers are pretty smart. Therefore, I must be smart too.”

However, I was not tempted into either profession. I couldn’t see myself reading all those endless tomes of information that lawyers have to read and, as for being a doctor, I didn’t like the idea of dissecting guinea pigs. It wasn’t so much that I was squeamish; I just hated the idea of all those poor guinea pigs being sacrificed in the name of science. They’re such cuddly looking animals. I know. I know. But that’s how I felt then and to some extent still feel that way today.

Although, I held that fundamental belief that I was intelligent, there were events in my life that did rock my self-confidence. But the kernel of an idea had been planted – “If I was smart then it followed that I should be able to achieve anything I set my mind to.” However, when I was a teenager I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life.

I stumbled into in the teaching profession. I taught chemistry and integrated science for a few years but couldn’t see that form of teaching as a lifelong profession. Since then, I have held many posts including that of General Manager of an arts organisation but today, in effect, I teach in the health and fitness and personal development arenas.

Guess what? I still have to read copious amounts of material but I like it better that I my work emphasises prevention of disease as opposed to treatment. A big plus is that I don’t have to slice and dice any of my clients but I do get them to probe deep inside to discover their true self. It is only when your authentic self shows up in the world that you can achieve true happiness and success.

One of my clients was telling me how worried she is for her daughter. She said her daughter was “vulnerable” and she worried that if anything happened should happen to her that her daughter would not be able to defend herself. Several times in our conversation she mentioned that there were a lot of “bad people” out there.

The latter is true but there are also a lot of good people. If you expect to meet up with “bad people” and expect to be treated unfairly or worse then that will be your experience of the world. If, however, instead of seeing the world as a hostile and threatening place, you see how much good there is out there then that too will be your experience. I’m not saying that you will never encounter negativity or never be wronged but you attract what you give energy to.

I explained to my client that if she saw her daughter as a vulnerable person then she would only encourage her daughter to act as though she were vulnerable – ironically the complete opposite to what she was trying to achieve. I also suggested that perhaps she was seeing her old vulnerability in her daughter but that she had made significant progress in changing that image. In other words she was looking at an old reflection.

I suggested that instead she see her daughter’s positive qualities and acknowledge these strengths. This would assist her daughter in being able to build these strengths.

Parents naturally want the best for their children but they often go about things the wrong way. Continually highlighting an individual’s deficiencies only results in more of the same. It also erodes self-esteem.

Misplaced criticism can also have devastating effects, even if that criticism is a one-off remark. For instance, if a child is told “You’re stupid!” then all too often they will adopt that label and act and feel stupid in numerous other instances even although there may be no validation of this statement. It’s worse if the child is repeatedly hearing these things but sometimes it can be a simple, one-off, throwaway remark that can either set that child up for life or tear them down before they even start.

So many of the world’s great achievers attribute their success to someone seeing in them what they could not then see in themselves. For Jack Canfield (co-Author of the Chicken Soup™ book series and author of Success Principles) it was W Clement Stone. Jack Canfield admits that Stone saw something in him that he himself could not yet see. This faith helped him to expand his horizons and radically transformed his life.

See in those you care about the qualities that will help them to succeed in life. See in them that which they have no the eyes as yet to see for themselves.

“Faith is to believe what you do not yet see;
the reward for this faith is to see what you believe.”
St Augustine

Then help them to create that vision with words that will, in turn, support them in creating a reality they desire.

For discussion
What words do you repeatedly say to yourself and how is this impacting upon your life?

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