Four ways to cultivate healthy relationships

Richard Bandler and John Grinder are the founding fathers of NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming). NLP is basically a study of your objective experiences and what can be calculated from those experiences based on the belief that all behavior has a structure to it.

People bring the same life experiences in, yet in radically different ways. You have created dif­ferent models, and in those models, you make the best choices possible for yourself based on the structure of your models. You take in information and act on it through your five senses. You then use your language to order your thoughts and behavior and communicate; and you program it all by organizing and placing meaning on it. This result is the creation of your different models of perceiving life. Here, you use distinc­tive mechanisms or techniques to process your life models.

“Be careful not to mistake your ‘model’ of choice for reality,” say Bandler and Grinder. They suggest that we all use three mechanisms to do this: generalization, distortion and deletion.

“You always do that!” is a perfect example of a generalization. Perhaps the behavior that you perceive as always being done flows from a lens you have created for yourself based on feeling that you are victimized by this behavior. When you were eight you were laughed at and mocked for sharing your feelings. For the rest of your life, if that becomes one of your models, you will reference all moments of laughter in your presence to it and generalize that “any time anyone laughs after I share my feelings, they are mocking me.”

“We will eliminate judgment of one another when we can understand that all human behavior occurs within the context in which it origi­nated.” —Bandler and Grinder.

You Don’t Love Me

According to Bandler and Grinder, deletion is the process by which you selectively pay attention to certain aspects of your experience and exclude others. For example, you have the ability to focus in on one conversation in a very crowded room and block out the other voices. The same holds true for your perception of other people’s behaviors. Based on your own models of love you have the ability to block out other people’s behavior completely if it does not fit into your model.

A common block in relationships is overlooking loving expressions (words, gestures, actions), because your model contains generalizations you have made about your own sense of worth, when it comes to loving and being loved. So, you become incapable (when viewing your loved one through your model) of taking in and processing any loving action or word.

To gain an accurate perception of another’s words and actions towards you, become aware of the models you have created around the expe­rience of loving and being loved. Do you feel worthy of love? Do you feel capable of loving and being loved? Do you carry feelings of inadequacy around loving?

“Deletion reduces the world to proportions which we feel capable of handling.” —Bandler and Grinder

The Distortion Dilemma

According to Bandler and Grinder, distortion is “… the process which allows us to make a shift in our sensory date.” Basically, in order to stay aligned with your models of the world, you are constantly distorting information that does not fit with your perception of the way you see life (relationships, work, success, loss, parenting, etc.).

Even if you are able to identify pieces of information coming into your experience such as supportive actions and words from those around you, you will distort your perception of them in order to align yourself with your limited model of the world.

According to Bandler and Grinder, we all block ourselves from richer experiences in life because of our limited models. If you have repeatedly experienced rejection in love you will often make the assumption that something is wrong with you, and that you must not be worth loving, because it never works out. This is a generalization that leads to deleting pieces of essential in­formation that are contrary to your belief. Yet they hold within themselves the potential to create a much richer model of love in your life.

Observe yourself as you go through your day and make a note of experiences that perhaps you have deleted, generalized or distorted; valuable pieces of information that have the potential of expanding your perception of yourself and the world.

Remember, as you open yourself up to more options in life, you expand your ability to face challenges with a positive perspective which has a direct effect on the outcomes in life, including how you see yourself and others.

Emotions Block Me from Seeing You

I have a quote from Anthony de Mello next to my computer that says, “Whenever there is a strong emotion, positive or negative, I cannot see you.”

It’s worth observing your behavior in light of this quote. How often in your day is your ability to see another person as they are skewed by your strong emotions; most of which flow from “the writing on your wall.”

Understand that most of your conflicts with others flow from your inability to see things and people as they truly are because your emotions disconnect you from being able to consider all options available to you. You spend too much time worrying over the potential reactions of people or your imagined outcomes in different situations.

Did you know that the German translation for worry means to strangle? The Greek translation means to have a divided mind. Whenever you have the strong emotion of worry entering any situation in life, know that you are compromised in your ability to see things as they truly are.

Explore taking in life from a grounded perception that is based on being anchored in your ability to remain calm and peaceful no matter what surrounds you. Whether you win the lottery or you lose your job, practice remaining grounded within and your inner peace will remain a constant.

Enjoy a quick 3-minute video on Cultivating Healthy Relationships:

Next Grab & Go Stress Relief Complimentary Workshop at Park Meadows Pilates, Lone Tree, Feb. 14, 11 a.m.  Topic: EFT: What Is It? Why Does it Work? How to Use It to Step Out of Those Emotionally Spun Moments in Life: