NLP changed me

When I first discovered NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming), it felt pretty radical. I was going through a difficult time and it helped to have something new to learn about that could in turn help me. I bought a book, read it and it changed my life.

It wasn’t so different that it felt weird or hard to take it. But it was new enough that I found myself evolving in order to become open to it.

I was a fairly pessimistic person at the time with a lot of unhelpful beliefs so the idea that underlying every behaviour is a positive intention was hard to take in. Yet at the same same, something like if what you are doing isn’t working, do something else felt pretty wonderful.

When you’re going through a challenging period life can feel very rigid and brittle, as though change isn’t quite possible. But then I had this book telling me that I could just ‘do something else’ which almost didn’t even occur to me at the time because I felt so stuck.

And so today lets highlight and celebrate the journeys we’re on, the things we’ve overcome and our ability to embrace life with a little more flow because change is always possible.

Debunking myths about writers

There is this idea about writers, infact it applies to creatives in general. The idea is that our best work comes from a place of negative experience that serves as the poker that stokes our flames of creativity.

I enjoy writing about being a writer, mainly because it’s a title I struggle to attach to myself as a blogger. However, here in this space where all I do is write, I suppose I am a writer.

There are all these ideas about the way that writers should be and it’s strange that we cling to them, even the negative ones.

A common one is the idea of the tortured writer. For them the writing process is like some sort of possession where it takes over and you have no choice but to sit and write until you are possessed no more.

I used to carry the belief that the best work or at least the best of my own work had to come from a place of sadness, anger or frustration. It’s not that I looked for those things but I found myself happy to use experiences that brought on those emotions as opportunities to write something.

Then one day after catching up with a dear friend, I left with a full heart and inspiration to write. When I started to write, the words poured out with such great ease like they have so many times before. the only difference was that this time I was full of joy.

In that moment, I realised that I had debunked the myths that I had once believed about myself as a writer.

Lessons in solitude

In the company of one as in you, yourself and um you, there are many valuable lessons to learn.

It could be something as simple as seeing yourself as you are instead of through how you are in interactions with other people. You could learn that despite being agreeable and generally follow the lead of others when in groupn settings, you’re totally different in your own company.

Maybe you like to plan, organise and feel confident to take charge when it comes to solo adventures but struggle for that aspect of yourself to be at the forefront with others.

It could be because you’re used to not being listened to, your self-esteem is low or you have an issue with always putting other peoples wants before your own. But you’ll never see these things unless you make time for solitude.

If you’re always with others you might end up believing that you’re this laid back person who is happy with other people always making the decisions, meanwhile the truth is you’re actually afraid to speak up and say what you want.

But the great thing is once you realise these things you can change them. It might start with taking charge with group plans instead of waiting for someone else to or making a suggestion when you’d usually stay quiet.

There is no right decision

Many people feel a lot of anxiety when it comes to making decisions.

I’ve written quite a few posts about the anxiety that can be felt around making decisions, choosing pathways and picking between different options.

One of my beliefs when it comes to making decisions that I created a few years ago is that, either way things will turn out fine. It’s not a case of there being a good and bad option but instead choosing a path or experience.

That’s something I would say to anyone picking between two options but I also like to remind myself of that when I have to make choices.

There are some situations where it might seem like there is a clear good option, let’s say for example it is the choice to spend the day at home or have a day out in in a new city.

Your initial thought may be that staying home is boring and going out is the obvious choice. However, maybe when you stay home you end up doing a bunch of things that you’ve been putting off for weeks or months. You end up decluttering your space, tidying up and just refreshing your space so that feels a little more vibrant and a little more you.

Perhaps if you choose to go out, you’ll end up seeing some cool places, spend time with friends and eat some good food. So, either way you still have a good day.

The idea of things turning out fine no matter which option you choose came from the fact that making choices can often be difficult and I wanted to find a way to make it easier. My fear was always making the wrong decision and so I’ve worked to find a way to eliminate that and suddenly making around decisions isn’t as difficult as it used to be.

Accepting less

Why do people accept less than they truly desire?

I think it comes from a lack of belief that you can attain the things that you want. Instead of being clear and saying no, you say yes because you don’t believe there is any other choice.

I think the fact that deep inside you know exactly what you want is enough of a reason to follow through with that in life. You think the opportunity to have what you really want isn’t there and so you settle for less. But I think that maybe the truth is that you don’t hold the desire of what you want strongly and clearly for long enough for the right opportunity to come along.

Instead you give up and tell yourself something like, ‘Well, I can’t have what I really want so I’ll find something else that is another version of what I really want’.

In order to go from accepting less to accepting more, you have to change your beliefs.

And that could be through daily affirmations, meditations or even just forcing yourself to hold out for that little bit longer instead of settling like you usually do.

The perception of right and wrong

One of the mistakes we often make is thinking that there is only one solution to every problem. And so, when the way a person chooses to solve a problem does not match up with what we believe the solution to be we can end up being critical and telling them they are wrong.

In these cases, what we are actually doing is forcing our beliefs, opinions and perceptions onto other people. The reality more often than not is that you and this person perceive things differently, it’s not that anyone is wrong or right.

I think that this is something worth remembering. A lot of people find it so easy to be critical of others and tell them what they should or shouldn’t have done.

But the truth is, it’s simply a matter of perception.

What’s missing?

I’m a big believer in creativity, in art and in making things.

That’s the thing that has always been my joy in life.

It’s not something that I do for a living or get paid for. However, I value it just as much, if not more than my day job.

It feels special to make things, to work my hands to allow something to be transformed into something else.

I don’t think I’ve been doing that enough lately. I’ve had small moments here and there but not enough consistency.

That’s what I’m missing right now, immersing myself in making, creating and using my hands.

You have to be willing to change your mind

It’s more important than you might have considered.

When it comes to your opinions, beliefs and life plans, you have to be willing to change your mind.

You never want to be so set in your ways that you close yourself off to other options.

Sometimes when you’re so committed to what you know, it feels too difficult (or requires more effort than you’re willing to give) to change your mind. And so you hide away from information that could change your perception.

Or maybe you hide away from learning about what you could do to change your life path. You do this because once you know it’s possible for things to be better you’ll end up miserable if you never do anything about it. Yet you end up staying stagnant because you’re not willing to change your mind about the path you want to be on.

Change comes with risk and sometimes we choose security or familiarity over happiness.

Lowering expectations

There are good arguments to support both sides.

On one hand perhaps you should lower your expectations because they’re too high. Examples of this could be expecting to earn £50,000 as a graduate with no experience or expecting a friend to reduce their rates even though you know the quality of their work will be more than worth it.

Then on the other hand, a reason not to lower your expectations is because you don’t want to get into the habit of settling. I think there’s a fine line between knowing what you want and expecting too much. Knowing what you want is great. Believing that it is possible to have more than you have right now even though it might take time is a pretty fantastic thing.

One of the most common reasons that people lower their expectations is because they allow the thoughts and opinions of others to convince them that what they want is unrealistic.

If that is the case, it might be worth being more selective about who you get advice from and who you choose to listen to.

Trusting science

One thing perhaps not thought about often enough is that there is only a small percentage of the population that have a real understanding of science.

The rest of us simply trust what is said or what we read and choose to believe it to be true.

Or on the flipside there are those that choose to form their own opinions.

But this can often lead to a clash between those that choose to beleive and trust in something that they don’t understand and those that don’t.

This isn’t about conspiracies or trying to disprove scientific theory. Instead it is about simply acknowledging that it can be difficult to trust something that you don’t understand.