Limiting decisions in language
When we think of what we can change about our thoughts, our internal processes or decisions with NLP, sometimes we find it so easy to forget just how our language affects our mind. Every single thing you think, decide or believe, whether consciously or unconsciously, is demonstrated through our language and behaviour.
I was reminded of this just the other day...I’d met up with a friend to discuss her wedding plans, and we got to chatting about how I could help her out with what she wanted to achieve. We were having a really great conversation, and I’d said in passing about something else that had crossed my mind. In the midst of that discussion, I said offhandedly, with a big sigh, about an inconvenience of mine, “I know, but I just can’t stop thinking about it". Before I could move on with what I was saying, she stopped me. “You just said you can’t”, she told me. I thought for a moment. I had! I hadn’t even realised what I was saying. She continued, “you’ve already decided that you can’t stop thinking about it before you’ve even tried. Maybe you should focus on something else? It’s clearly not helped you to make the decision that you can’t." I couldn’t believe it! This friend has no training in Neuro Linguistic Programming, and very little knowledge of what it truly entails. And yet, she was able to easily point out where I’d not considered the extent of a limiting decision I’d just made.
So you see how easy it is to make limiting decisions? Even saying “I’m brilliant”, is a limiting decision – why not be better than brilliant? You could say “I’m fantastic!”, “I’m the best!”. And what we tend to forget is flippant comments like “I can’t [fill in the blank]” display a limiting belief or decision, that can so easily bring us down and stop us from believing in and achieving our goals. If you said to yourself every day “I can’t do that” – guess what? You can’t! Because how will you ever find the resources inside yourself to fulfil what you want, if you’re constantly believing that they’re not there? As Henry Ford is so often quoted for saying “whether you think you can, or you think you can’t – you’re right.” Why not take a little time to notice your own language in your everyday interactions? These might be with your friends, children, husband, wife, boyfriend, girlfriend, co-workers… Think a little more consciously about the words you use and what they imply. And don’t forget those internal monologues as well! Do you even think to yourself “oh, I can’t do that” – even if you don’t say it out loud? Spend some time trying to notice those occasions, and if and when they crop up, just let that other side of your brain kick in and dispute that limiting belief.
Tell yourself all the reasons you can. Don’t forget, however offhandedly you may make these statements of limiting decisions, every day you’re giving the messages to your conscious and unconscious mind that you’re incapable. So be aware – correct yourself. And instead of saying “can’t”, remember what Henry Ford said. Take one step further if you dare. Think as well about daily affirmations. These are the complete opposite of what you tell yourself your limiting beliefs and decisions are. They are your own mantras to remind yourself daily how capable you are. Start out with Émile Coué’s very simply and easy to remember mantra. Émile Coué was a French psychologist who explored the use of hypnosis and the unconscious mind, and every day he would repeat to himself, “every day, in every way, I’m getting better and better”. (Or if you want to be very authentic, you can say it in French! “Tous les jours a tous points de vue je vais de mieux en mieux”). Coué maintained, this should be said at the beginning and end of every day, and at least twenty times in between!
Give it a go and see if you can improve your own state of mind with your daily affirmations, always positive, and repeated as often as possible. What have you got to lose?
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Tracey Hutchinson, MSc, NLP Master Practitioner, Cert ManagementMarch 12th, 2017