Are you plagued by self-sabotaging behavior? For instance, you want to lose weight but you keep turning to that carton of chocolate ice cream for comfort. Or you want to be a successful manager, but you rub people the wrong way, or unwittingly create drama so you’re always putting out fires.
Self-sabotaging behavior occurs when different “parts” of your self are conflicted. You want success, but a Part of you doesn’t believe you deserve it. You want to be healthy and fit, but a Part of you self-medicates unhealed emotional wounds with comfort food.
Even if you somehow manage to ignore the needs of one of your Parts, you’ll still suffer from lack of harmony and integration. The result will be suppressed emotions and unmet desires.
On the other hand, if you learn to use a Parts Integration Technique, you’ll be more congruent, empowered and clear in your decisions and actions.
You can teach your Parts to holistically work together in an exercise I call the “Tea Time” exercise. (You can find the “Tea Time” exercise by clicking here.) This NLP based, Parts Integration technique lets you see what’s going on under the surface. It creates harmony between Parts of your unconscious mind, so that all of your values, wants and needs are in alignment.
What are the benefits of doing the “Tea Time” exercise?
Parts integration stimulates self-awareness. We are never just one thing. Even if one Part is smaller, when you dismiss it, it can cause imbalance internally. The “Tea Time” exercise is a great tool for understanding and accepting internal contradictions. For example, if you’re an extrovert, identify your smaller Part that has a strong need for alone time. A person that spends all their time with others and no time by themselves might be trying to avoid feeling lonely or being with their thoughts.
Parts integration assists in goal setting. Sometime you might struggle with conflicting goals and priorities. Identifying and naming the Parts in conflict can stimulate a useful internal dialogue that acknowledges all aspects of yourself. Goals formed with awareness of internal conflicts are less likely to be sabotaged by rebel Parts.
Parts integration uncovers resource states. One of my clients, a resolute introvert, wanted to become more comfortable with public speaking, yet he felt resistance to feeling exposed. He has a powerful message and an amazing personal story to share. He’s also articulate and has a warm presence. Inside, a great speaker was waiting to be unleashed.
As he prepared his next presentation, I suggested: “Can we have some Tea Time? Imagine the Part that wants to share your powerful message and state its positive intention. Now give voice to the Part that doesn’t want to feel vulnerable in front of a crowd and state its intention.”
When he could see that both Parts wanted something positive for him (the first part wanted to him to share his mission; the second one wanted him to be safe) he felt more understanding and ultimately at peace. When the time came to give the talk, he stepped fully into the role of public speaker, sharing that he felt vulnerable. He really connected with his audience and his talk was extremely powerful. He still uses the Tea Time exercise to continue to discover different Parts and cultivate inner peace and integration.
Parts integration fosters balance. We often want to hide, squash, deny Parts of ourselves we don’t like. If I value being kind and available to other, I might want to deny or squash the Part that seems selfish or self-centered. Using the Tea Time exercise can help us discover that the part we are not acknowledging is attempting to create inner balance between being other-centered and self-centered. In fact, our system is always organized to seek equilibrium and stability. This exercise can foster a sense of wholeness, integration and overall wellbeing.
If you’d like some guidance on how to use NLP to address an internal conflict please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
I’m also thinking about developing a NLP training online. Are you interested? Send me an email and I’ll keep you posted on my progress toward completing the course. I’d love to hear from you.
“Happiness is not a matter of intensity but of balance, order, rhythm and harmony.” ~ Thomas Merton
“I know I have to make a decision, but I’m really conflicted about this. On one hand I feel this way, but on the other hand I feel like this.” Have you ever felt or said something similar to this?
In my recent newsletter (if you haven’t signed up for it yet, you can click here to sign up), I discussed how this inner conflict is the result of our subconscious parts not working harmoniously together.
The good news is that you can teach your parts to holistically work together so you can achieve your desired outcomes in life. I’ve discovered an effective way that I use personally and that has helped my clients, too. I call it the “Tea Time” exercise.
The “Tea Time” exercise is my version of NLP’s (Neuro Linguistic Programming) popular Parts Integration technique. It’s a very useful skill to overcome ‘bad habits’, indecision, procrastination and all sorts of internal conflicts. It’s so helpful because it creates a non-judgmental space where all internal parts can be heard and expressed with the outcome of fostering understanding.
How do you do the “Tea Time” exercise?
Imagine that you’re sitting down to have tea with your Parts that are in conflict. For example, perhaps you are considering a new business venture and there are some risks involved. You feel conflicted internally and this is keeping your from moving forward. One the one hand, your safety-minded part wants to keep you safe. The wants-to-be-challenged part wants you to grow. You can invite both parts to participate.
Remember the following rules:
- Begin with a brief centering exercise to deliberately set the stage.
- Make a commitment to suspend all judgment and to listen with curiosity.
- Let each Part explain what it wants, needs, acknowledging its values, beliefs and positive intention.
- Act as a witness that, from a higher perspective, observes and perceives the different positive intentions.
- The two Parts previously in conflict can now understand the other’s intention.
- This understanding creates harmony between the Parts of the unconscious mind, so that their values are more in alignment.
By following this exercise you will have ‘Integrated Parts’ and this will lead to feeling more congruent, empowered and clear in your decisions and actions. In my next blog post, I’ll share how you can specifically use this technique for various outcomes and the specific benefits your can derive from doing so.
NLP is one of the best models for understanding the ways we communicate not only with others, but even more importantly with ourselves. It’s great for identifying what’s holding you back. If you’d like some guidance on how to use NLP to address an internal conflict please feel free to contact me and schedule an “Unlocking Your Potential” 30-minute complimentary consultation (in-person, by phone or via Skype).
“A certain harmony should be kept between actions and ideas if we want to fully develop the effects they can produce.” ~ François de La Rochefoucauld
Do you struggle with making decisions? Part of you wants to do it, but part of you doesn’t? Emotional experiences throughout life, especially during the early imprint years, results in the creation of “Parts” in your unconscious mind. (I blogged earlier about this in a post about your Shadow Self.) These Parts have their own values and beliefs, and they’re responsible for certain behaviors.
I believe that overwhelming feelings and reactions, as well as, out of control behaviors are the result of these “Parts” feeling conflicted. Internal conflicts occur when two or more “Parts” of a person are at odds about a particular situation and exhibit behaviors that are seemingly incongruous (out of harmony).
The most problematic conflicts occur when the opposing Parts have negative judgments about each other. To resolve this inner conflict, you must identify a common positive intention. It’s important to know what YOUR purpose or desired outcome is.
Sadly, many of your outcomes for career, family, romance, and health may be based on the requests, desires or expectations of others. You may try to please your parents, spouse, teachers, religious leaders, boss and society. Yet these are not your personal outcomes. It’s not really the life you’ve always wanted to live.
As a result, you probably won’t have the energy that propels you forward to make good decisions that help you achieve your highest potential. When you struggle with your outcomes, almost always there’s some hidden inner conflict that needs resolution. You won’t feel fully alive until these inner conflicts are resolved.
Sometimes you may have an internal conflict or incongruence about some aspect of yourself – you feel as if you’re of “two minds” on the issue. These Parts can each appear to have different intentions and can be functioning independently of the other.
Here are some of the conflicts you may be experiencing:
- your job vs. spending time with your family;
- your career vs. your health;
- being entrepreneurial vs. playing it safe;
- freedom vs. settling down with someone special.
An internal conflict is often revealed through the words you use. Phrases such as “on the one hand,” “I feel torn about this,” or “a part of me agrees with you.”
Your behaviors may suggest different attitudes, and these attitudes may vary in different contexts. You may have one set of behaviors at work and a different set at home. Do you ever find yourself saying the following?
- “I really want to stop procrastinating, but Part of me just keeps doing it.”
- “Part of me really likes him, but Part of me is scared.”
- “Part of me wants to go to law school, but another Part wants to travel.”
We often use this language without knowing that it represents a deeper conflict inside.
However, when you take a closer glance, you’ll discover a dozen of sub-personalities inside. Some may disagree quite passionately with each other about who you really are or what you’re capable of being or doing.
Some of your Parts may be brassy and dominant. Others are fully formed, but quiet and waiting to be engaged. Some Parts are distressing. Some are good at hiding.
My personal view is that it’s okay to have Parts, if the Parts are working in a holistic sense. For example, it’s nice to know that I have a creative Part, a compassionate Part, a safety-minded Part, and a wants-to-be-challenged Part. These Parts express different aspects of my nature that I’m able to access when I need specific assistance. When my Parts learn to cooperate with each other, I experience internal peace, harmony and equanimity. So can you.
Parts Integration is a NLP (neuro linguistic programming) technique for internal conflict resolution. NLP is one of the best, if not the best, models for understanding human communication. It has proven techniques to help you address what’s holding you back.
I’ve been using NLP for years to help my clients excel. Now I’m thinking about developing a NLP training online. Are you interested? Send me an email and I’ll keep you posted on my progress toward completing the course. I’d love to hear from you.
It’s commonly assumed that good leadership styles are mostly mind or personality based. Although it’s recognized that leaders should look the part too, being physically fit and well groomed. And some even give consideration to speech training and the way a person carries herself. But beyond that the body isn’t thought about much…
That’s a mistake because ultimately what’s inspiring is a leader’s presence and way of being.
An embodied leader is aware that planning and leading are definitely whole mind/body/spirit activities. And that’s what makes business leaders who have embodied leadership skills so different and more much effective.
Take for example a leader we’ll call Sarah.
She’s so busy she doesn’t have time for breakfast as she rushes off to meet her team. They greet her with demands that pull her in eight different directions. She tries to handle them all at once, while not giving any of them the attention they deserve. Oh, her frustration and stress levels are rising. She has deadlines to meet, so she cancels another lunch date with her best friend…again! She just hates putting her friend off like that, but she couldn’t have eaten a bite anyway.
The presentation scheduled this afternoon is making her sick to her stomach. And no, she can’t make it to the gym today. She’s must keep her doctor’s appointment because her blood pressure pills need to be adjusted and she want to talk with the doc about getting something for the anxiety and depression that’s closing in on her.
Everyone thinks she has it all together. That she’s so successful. She looks like a leader. Yet she’s falling apart inside. Something is drastically wrong. Her leadership style is impossible to maintain.
Are you starting to see that effective leadership styles requires that the body be completely congruent with the mind?
A successful leader must be able to intervene in his or her own physiological responses to stress and have the awareness to know which decisions are going to support the things that are really important in life.
Sarah, from the above story, wants to be calm and collected. She has every intention of reaching her goals for having a successful business, strong friendships and good health. Yet as stress is introduced, her body betrays her. Because she’s only thinking with her conscious mind of doing the things she know good leaders do, her body rebels, because it reverts back to patterns that have been formed by a lifetime of habits.
Your habits live not only in your memories, but in your tissues and cells. The body remembers. Embodied awareness lets you hear what your body is saying. It helps you watch yourself from an outside perspective. Then you can engage in practices that develop your ability to take more effective actions. In time, you develop a new muscle memory that lets you do things you couldn’t have done before, whether it’s being calm under crisis or being an assertive introvert.
Extreme stress can cause a mind/body disconnect that makes people act in crazy ways. I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, “She’s not herself today.” When stress triggers an interaction in our brain between the hypothalamus, which regulates hormones and the amygdala, which assigns emotional significance to an event, the fight or flight stress response takes over the conscious mind. Normally you wouldn’t scream, yell, shake, and cry, but the brain/body disconnect makes you behave in a way that’s foreign to you.
Let’s put it in another way…you may know you’re not supposed to run from a bear, but your legs don’t believe you. This is a really dangerous mind/body disconnect that gets you in trouble. Because the next thing you know you’re trying to outrun a bear…not a good idea!
So what can embodied leadership principles do for you that other leadership styles do not?
It supports you as you make slow and steady progress toward a strong awareness of your mind/body/spirit connection. Through mindfulness, centering, somatic exercises, breathing techniques, and NLP anchoring techniques you learn how to be present in the moment of stress in a relaxed, unattached way. It gives you time and the skills to slow down, be fully mindful so your actions truly reflect a peaceful state of mind. If you’d like to work with me as you master these skills, I’d be honored for you to contact me. We can set up a time to meet in person at my Ashland, Oregon office or via Skype.
Stressed out. Strung out. Uptight. On edge. Tense. Nervous. People have such a hard time achieving a deeply relaxed state of mind. Any little thing can set them off, send them over the edge. This is taking a terrible toll on the emotional, mental, physical, and spiritual health of us and our loved ones.
Earlier, I shared a number of ways to achieve deep relaxation through Progressive Muscle Relaxation and simply making time for things you enjoy. (Yes, that’s me in the picture. I love archery!) As mentioned, to get the most benefit, focus on relaxation via the body, via the mind, and via the soul.
What do I mean by Deep Relaxation via the Soul?
A lot of people say that they can’t relax because their lives are chaotic and messy. It’s important to practice your ability to relax fully no matter the circumstances or the conditions around you. Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) teaches us that we can choose any psychological state at will. This means that you can experience bliss, joy, gratitude, or love no matter what is happening in your life. And one of the NLP techniques that helps you do this is called “anchoring”.
In NLP, “anchoring” refers to the process of associating an internal response with some external or internal trigger so that the response may be quickly and subtly accessed.
NLP anchoring techniques are based on science. Russian scientist, Ivan Pavlov, famously demonstrated how conditioning works. He rang a bell every time dogs were fed. Soon the dogs psychologically associated the smell and taste of food with the sound of the bell. So even if the food was not present, the dogs would salivate at the sound. The bell (an external trigger) caused a real physiological response (salivation) even though the smell and taste were absent.
NLP anchoring techniques similarly cause you to psychologically associate a signal or trigger (tapping your chest, snapping a rubber band, squeezing your fingers) with a physiological response (an emotion, mood, or mental state) of your choice. When you experience a negative emotion, you can trigger a positive emotion and extinguish the negative one. This thereby allows you to choose your mood or state of mind no matter what the circumstances are.
Here are 7 Easy Steps to Anchoring a Resourceful State of Mind:
- Decide on the state you want to anchor. For example being calm and relaxed.
- Recall a memory or imagine a situation where you can experience the state. Make it very detailed and vivid, using all your senses.
- When the experience is vivid and you’re in the desired state, connect it with a part of your body. For example, put your hand on your heart when the state is at its peak!
- Now, break state by removing your hand and doing something else. Open your eyes, count down from 10 to break state and distract yourself.
- Apply the anchor by just placing your hand on your heart and check that the required state, such as calmness or peace, occurs again.
- You may need to repeat the anchoring process a number of times to make the experience sufficiently intense.
- Use your new anchor in the situation where you want to experience the desired state. For example, when you’re feeling stressed during your next business meeting, place your hand on your heart and make sure it creates a sufficiently robust resourced state of calmness.
NLP anchoring techniques are really a method of deep relaxation that is best learned under the guidance of a trained professional. If you’d like to add this excellent tool to your life skills, please contact me and I’d be happy to help you finally achieve the peace you crave.