I had a limiting belief about arguing and around conflict. My parents didn’t argue but bottled things up and then the explosions were frightening. My mum would go off for a long walk and dad would maintain a stony silence for days. I learnt to fear arguments and raised voices and learnt that it was dangerous to disagree. I internalised my anger and instead of expressing my views when they were different, I did what I saw mum do, go off somewhere and cry. When I got married my husband was a great cook and suggested making chips. I didn’t know how to make chips and made a mistake, Edward made a rude and insensitive remark and instead of retaliating that this was rather out of proportion with the incident, I drove off in the car and cried. My belief that I could not risk an argument was holding me back. Then I wondered why I was making such a fuss. I realised I was over reacting. So I went back and we kissed and made up and Edward assured me that it was OK to argue, he wouldn’t leave me, and he hasn’t!
Some limiting beliefs that lead to feelings of failure belong in our past and need to be revisited as adults to check whether they are outdated. After all, we have changed since childhood, learnt more about ourselves, grown up and developed new skills that make those limiting beliefs no longer true for us (assuming they were then, which might well not be so because sometimes parents pass their own limiting beliefs on to their children).
Sara believed that she was not clever enough for further education because her mother had left school at 15 and none of her siblings had stayed on at school. When at 40 she started to question why she had no qualifications and considered doing some through evening classes, her mother’s words were in her mind and indeed her mother questioned the sense in doing any learning at her age. It took a huge amount of faith in herself and her abilities to overcome this limiting belief but she’s signed up and can’t wait to start. The words ‘can’t’ have been replaced now by ‘but what if I can?’ and she’s moved on.
When we feel those first self doubts creeping in, those destructive and limiting beliefs that we are not capable of doing something or a feeling that we have failed at something, we have the resources to reject them. Remind yourself of your skills. Remind yourself to use the feedback and your response to the situation as a resource to move forward and draw on the skills you have, perhaps in another area of your life to apply to this area where you need it.
From time to time we feel we have failed as a parent or a partner or lover, daughter or friend. This is natural after all we are not perfect. How do you think you have failed? What can you do to succeed; it is in your power. You can turn the situation around by asking yourself
“What would success in that context look/sound/feel like?”
“What skills do I need to achieve this desired outcome?”
“Where do I use that skill?”
“How can I bring it across into the area of my life where I need it now?”
Do a quick audit of your skills. This is a great help when you feel you’ve failed at something. What are you good at?
Write your list down and keep it handy.
Now add in what others say about you because they see you in a different light. Perhaps you are self critical and don’t always see your assets or they are so familiar to you that you take them for granted.
My friends and family say I am good at………………
Now revisit those areas where you feel you’ve failed and look back at these two lists. Which of these skills can you take and work with.
Write down the skill here
I am good at…………………………………….
What does this say about you that you are good at this thing? What can you do differently by using this skill in the area you want to change?
Try it and ask for feedback.
This exercise is very useful with children too of course.
Paul finds reading very hard and he gives up easily when he gets to a difficult or unfamiliar word. “I can’t do it” he groans and closes the book. Paul is very good at sport and plays quite aggressively, he tackles and perseveres until he gets the ball off the opposition.
“What makes you good at football Paul?”
“Because I like it”
“Don’t you like reading?”
“Because I can’t do it”
“So why can you do football and not reading?”
“Because I am fast and because I am not scared of trying to get the ball”
“Are you scared of reading?”
“Yes because I keep getting it wrong”
“If that difficult word was a ball you would keep trying until you got it wouldn’t you?”
“Shall we pretend that each difficult word is a ball and that because you are fast and not scared you can work it out?”
Children are very good at imagining things and they use metaphors very naturally so it wasn’t hard for Paul to pretend each word he didn’t recognise was a ball and in fact applying his fast and ‘not scared’ skills from football he approached his reading quite differently, speeded up and was soon reading confidently on his own.
When you feel you can't do something, it’s good to use an anchoring skill to put yourself in a resourceful state so you can assess your transferable skills. Here's a link to my blog post on how to anchor
This was an extract from 'Be a happier parent with NLP' published by Hodder and written by Judy Bartkowiak NLP Author, Trainer and NLP and EFT Practitioner.
She offers NLP Kids Practitioner Training again via webcam on Skype/Whatsapp and face to face residential. Parenting Chats by the Aga for local mums in #berkshire #buckinghamshire #surrey #london #oxfordshire see Eventbrite
Be a Happier Parent with NLP
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