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My last post spawned some interesting discussions around the issue of emotional mastery.
Let me share a bit more about my experience and see if this resonates with you.
I used to believe that I SHOULDN’T feel a certain way in certain circumstances. For instance, I shouldn’t feel angry when someone criticizes me or tells me they don’t like something I’ve done.
For some reason, I believed that it’s not spiritual to feel that way, or that everyone is entitled to their opinion, or whatever else.
But the truth is that that anger is just a message. It’s a pointer.
And I only have to feel it as long as necessary for me to get the message.
Trying to repress our emotions as a form of emotional mastery is similar to try to shut down your phone system because telemarketers are bothering you.
Sure, telemarketers will call your home, but so will your best friends. If you cut off the phone, you knock out your communication with your buddies as well.
The instant you perceive emotions as a messaging system, you move on to the second step: learning to interpret the message accurately so that you can take effective action (once again, either realign your values or realign your circumstances).
Cherry commented on my previous post: “The problem is – and this is what I want to hear more about emotional mastery – is that this anger of mine won’t go away for hours. Any ideas on how to save hours and hours of negative, unproductive emotions?”
When modeling people who feel anger or resentment for long periods of time, I’ve found that this stems from a belief that has a “should” in it. “People shouldn’t do this” or “this should be different” or “I shouldn’t have to do this” and so forth and so on.
The word “should” has a peculiar effect on our nervous system. It disengages us from reality. Moreover, the problem with “should” is that we can’t do anything about it. It totally disempowers us.
Think about it for a second.
“People shouldn’t treat me this way.”
Perhaps, but they do. Whatcha gonna do about it?
“This is line shouldn’t take this long.”
Perhaps, but it is taking this long. What now?
“Shoulds” create endless loops in our nervous systems and we cycle stress through them.
The instant you either take action or realign your values, the loop ends. No “shoulds” anymore. All taken care of.
“Yeah, but I shouldn’t have to realign my values or take action…”
I rest my case.
My email address has been down for some time now. Just discovered that today.
And I was wondering why I was getting no email for the past couple of days…
Don’t you get pissed when that kind of stuff happens to you?
I sure do.
Which brings me to something important about learning and mastering NLP: emotional mastery.
When I first started learning NLP, I believed that from that moment on, I should be able to feel the way I wanted, whenever I wanted, and that I should have absolute control over my emotions.
As I progressed, I discovered this was the farthest thing from the truth.
In fact, whatever emotion comes up serves only as a messaging system that lets you know what you’re currently living isn’t aligned with your values.
EDIT: whatever “painful” emotion comes up. Thanks for pointing that out, Mike.
So now, when I start feeling bad, it’s only a matter of seconds before I figure out what my system is trying to tell me.
And then the solution comes easy: take action or change your values.
One or the other.
No way around it.
Let me know if you’d like to learn more about this by posting some comments here below and I’ll give you some really good stuff.
Tom from NLP Times published a really cool post a couple of months ago on self-mastery and change.
But before you do, just check out the gist of it. Tom simply points out that, in order to effect change, you must:
Once and only once all these criteria are met can you apply NLP techniques to interrupt patterns and condition new ones.
But don’t take my word for it. Check it out.
When was the last time you sat down and examined your model of the world, in an effort to make it work more effectively for you? Have you ever compared your model with others, to see if you could find modifications that would make yours:
If you are now asking yourself, “What the heck is he talking about?”, you’ll really benefit from reading this article.