Three obstacles to connecting on and off the job:

Generalization, distortion and deletion

The blame game: You always do that!

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. You take in information and act on it through your senses. You then use 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. Suppose that when you were a child, 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 affirm/validate/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 affirming expressions (words, gestures, actions), because your model contains generalizations you have made about your own sense of worth, when it comes to safety in relationships. So, you become incapable (when viewing another person through your model) of taking in and processing any supportive action or word.

In the next 24 hours, identify one belief you have created around the expe­rience of connecting in relationships personally and/or professionally. Do you feel worthy of positive feedback? Do you feel capable and confident of receiving and giving efficacious feedback? Do you carry feelings of inadequacy around your ability to sustain healthy connection?

Once you have identified a belief that no longer serves your highest good, explore techniques that help release the grip that belief has on you. As you clear out unhealthy beliefs around relationships, you expand your ability to create and sustain positive connection in relationships you care about.

This powerful defense response in life was confirmed in a small study group of around 20 people. When asked if they noticed something different with a deck of cards, which had switched the set colors (hearts were black/clubs were red) responded with, “No, I don’t see anything different.” Our beliefs create our perceptions (in a deck of cards, hearts are red), which unlock our behavior and conclusions about life. Our conclusions are so powerful that we literally delete information in front of our face that does not fit with our impoverished view of reality.

“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 data.” Basically, 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.)

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.

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 to align with your limited model of the world.

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 your confidence in your ability to create and sustain healthy relationships at work and at home.

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 impact on the outcomes in life, including how you see yourself and others.

Additional Support Materials to Help You Create Meaningful & Lasting Connection in Your Relationships at Work & at Home:

How To Connect in the Midst of Disconnect CD: click on the store tab: DVD/CDs

Cultivate Healthy Relationships 30 Day, 3 Min. a Day Excellence Program:

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