Thursday, October 25, 2012

Compassionate intent

When we talk about having compassion it is so often about having compassion for others, yet how many of us come down hard on ourselves, that inner critic always criticising, never allowing ourselves to forgive ourselves, or even to try to understand why we behave or act or feel in a way we don't like.  I'll bet the person we are hardest on in criticism and leanest on compassion is ourselves.

And this is where another of the NLP presuppositions comes into play.

Every behaviour has a positive intent.....that's often a difficult one to understand and one that possibly meets with most resistance. However, it is one of the most important of the NLP presuppositions or beliefs as understanding this begins to allow compassion for yourself and those around you.

A very important distinction to make is that of INTENT rather than outcome.   Clearly not every behaviour has a positive outcome, yet every behaviour does have a positive intent - for the person doing that behaviour, though not necessarily for the person on the receiving end of the behaviour or action.  And that intent is almost invariably to satisfy an unmet need - be that a very basic physiological need, protection, or perhaps love, esteem, confidence, peace or happiness. 

Now, whilst this is useful for perhaps understanding or at least having compassion for someone else's behaviour and actions, where it comes into its own is for understanding and having compassion for ourselves.   Every bit of behaviour, every action that we don't like about ourselves, that we are critical of, that keeps us in our own internal conflict, is created for some positive intent, for ourselves.   Seems hard to believe doesn't it?   Why or how would a seemingly negative behaviour, action or habit be doing something positive for us? 

Often when people are trying to give up smoking or lose weight, or trying to make some other positive change it is the 'thing' that stops us from being successful, that little voice that says oh go on just one more won't hurt, or that seems to automatically reach for the biscuit tin or fridge door, those actions that seem set on sabotaging our efforts to improve our lives.   With guidance through therapeutic NLP and hypnotherapy the positive intention for these behaviours and actions that get in the way can be acknowledged, understood, and once understood we can show ourselves compassion for acting in that way.  And with that compassion, the opening up to other possible ways of meeting those needs and giving ourselves love, peace, happiness, confidence, or self esteem or some other 'state' we are seeking, without the need for the original unhelpful response.

Some examples from clients in my clinic revealed the positive intention of a fear of flying was for protection and peace, smoking was for courage and making a stand against bullying, overwhelming general anxiety was for love.

It is a wonderful way of resolving inner conflict and turmoil, of letting go of behaviours, responses and feelings that don't serve us well.   And very often the crucial element in making sustained and positive change and in accepting and loving ourselves for who we are.

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