Language patterns are one of the most constantly popular models in NLP.
Here in a story from the book “Is There Life Before Death?” Steve Andreas describes in a very easy way the profound traps we create by our (mis)use of language in our everyday lives.
And if you would like to search through some really clever patterns in depth we have a couple of the two most popular sources. For language pattern learning the “Advanced Language Patterns” audio and the “Parenting” audio series by Connirae Andreas are simply magical.
Connirae’s style and tone are so smooth and light you can easily overlook the profound changes she is making for you.
I’ve had a lot of training in NLP language patterns, and these two programs are the ones I keep coming back to. For a refresher, to find something forgotten, or a new twist on an old way that makes even more possible, these are two you want to own
PS: NEWS! The biggest NLP Conference in the US is happening on Halloween weekend in San Francisco!
See the announcement on our home page here: www.nlpco.com
Words That Trap by Steve Andreas
Many years ago I was involved with a woman who didn’t agree with some of my actions and attitudes. After considerable argument and discussion she finally concluded, “You just have a basic lack of humanity.” Our relationship ended not long after this.
It wasn’t until many years later that I realized how she had unintentionally trapped us both by describing our disagreement in this way. If she had said, “I don’t like those attitudes and actions; I want you to change them” then I’d have a choice to comply or not, because attitudes and behaviors can be changed.
But by describing our disagreement as a “basic lack of humanity,” she presupposed something about my being that I couldn’t change, and had no choice about. Described in this way, there was no point in trying to please her, because I suffered from a “basic lack.” I can change what I do, and how I think and respond, but I can’t change who I am.
People get into this difficulty any time they describe someone’s behavior in terms of who they are, instead of what they do. “He is a delinquent,” “She is a flirt,” instead of describing the behaviors that the label refers to. Besides ignoring all the other aspects of person, labeling a person’s being presupposes that they can’t change, and most people will accept this presupposition, just as I did.
Another problem with words is that while the world is always changing, words have a tendency to stand still. Take the word “breeze” or “wind.” Although these words mean that air is moving, they sound as if they are something solid and unmoving that you could put in a bottle.
It really would be much clearer if we said “winding,” or “breezing,” or “blowing,” to clearly indicate that we are pointing to a process that is continually changing.
Even something like a mountain, which we usually think of as permanent, is a slow process that might take 30 million years from beginning to end. What if we thought of it as “mountaining,” to keep before us the idea of continual change? For one thing, it might keep us from getting lost when we think about “mind” as if it were a thing, like a pair of shoes. I think it was Leslie White who wrote that “Mind is minding; that’s what bodies do.” If we really took seriously that a noun is only a slow verb, we could transform all nouns into verbs. “I like your shirt” would become “Iing liking youring shirting.” With the idea of continual change constantly surrounding us we couldn’t get stuck, or blocked, or stagnant. We’d only feel ourselves slowing down, with the clear knowledge that this, too, will change.