When we have a problem, we are extremely aware of what we don’t like. We don’t like eating so much. We don’t like being so lonely. We don’t like always being in debt. We don’t like how angry we get. We don’t like it. We want it changed and for things to be different. To eat properly and healthfully. To have friends and company. To have financial stability. To be patient and hard-to-ruffle. We want these things. We don’t want the problems.
An NLP session begins with the lovely question “What would you like?” It begins by asking you to imagine and step into the reality that you don’t currently experience, but which you want and our work is aiming you toward experiencing, perhaps more quickly than you had thought possible. Meanwhile, you are resisting and protesting the problem, the thing you have instead of what you would like. This all makes enormous sense.
There’s a dilemma at the heart of this situation, though: to resist our problems, we have to disrespect ourselves. We have to tell ourselves how wrong we are to overeat, to be lonely, to be in debt, to be so angry. These problems cause us suffering (and often cause others to suffer, too, which just makes it all worse). Unfortunately, we cannot get ourselves to where we want by disrespecting ourselves. It is impossible. It puts us in conflict with ourselves—we think that to get what we want, we must place ourselves against ourselves. This attempt at change always fails.
Sometimes we go to counselors and have the wonderful experience of having someone else join us in standing against our present state. We dislike our overeating; our counselor says, yes, what a shame, it must be terrible to have this experience. Yes, wouldn’t it be great to eat healthily. We get a temporary good feeling from having someone join us in resisting our problem along with us. But this natural and empathetic move blocks real change by—quite unintentionally—encouraging us to continue to disrespect ourselves.
Effective change requires that we are able to do two things rather simultaneously: Hold in our imagination the state we desire in the future, while at the same time completely respecting the state we now experience in the present. Part of the magic of NLP is its ability to make it possible for a client to have precisely this life-changing experience. It is through a new-found self-respect that we find the resources to reach for and embrace the things we most want in life. And until clients can respect the fullness of their experience—that is, their problems—the NLP practitioner holds that respect for them, inviting them into the desired state through self-respect, rather than through self-disrespect.
I invite you to discover what it is like to be asked “What would you like?” I offer a twenty minute free consultation in which we can begin that conversation.
Leslie Nipps, NLP & Change Work Practitioner
Trust as a Way of Life