Are you a sensitive person? A dreamer? Were you born into a pragmatic, task -orientated family who shamed you for having too many feelings? For being over-sensitive? Or maybe they just didn't get you? Most cultures over-ride the needs of the individual. The need for conformity and acceptance by the tribe is high. There are deep seated fears of being left alone by the group to perish - perhaps from the days of living in caves when the chance of being eaten alive by a wild animal was a lot higher. To defy authority came with extreme risks. As humans we crave acceptance and we have a need to bond. In cultures which have not developed genuine win-win methods of conflict resolution - and by that I do NOT mean comprimise - people tend to resort to coercive power - using punishment or reward to manipulate others to do things that will meet their own needs, without first checking what the needs of the other person are. In a win-lose situation, the person winning may typically feel a tiny pang of guilt - but mostly they will feel a rush of endorphins or feel good chemicals flooding through their veins because they 'won' and that strong positive feeling is enough to blind them to the feelings of the person who lost. But the person who loses, who is forced to comply will often experiences the following emotions:
- feeling overridden
- feeling shamed
- feeling humiliated
- feeling wrong for being themselves
- feeling wrong for having different values to others
- feeling frightened or scared
In the West, I'm going to argue, we have a lot of messages saying these emotions are not valid and should be suppressed. "Keep Calm & Carry On" the British say - and in my country of New Zealand, we inherited a lot of British culture often described as being "stiff upper lip" or "keeping your chin up". "Big boys don't cry" is a common adage dumped on boys and internalised by men. What I've discovered as a life coach, however, is that feelings are the language of the heart - feelings point to the values of our heart. Sadness, for example, indicates a value of yours has been thwarted, like a twisted garden hose where the water is only dribbling out. But joy occurs when a value we hold dear is fully realised in a given moment. So maybe you value kindess. But you were shamed for it as a child. Someone was mean to you and you cried. People told you to harden up, get over it, put away the tears, stop making a mountain out of a molehill. Or maybe they seemed nice and tried to reassure you or distract you. But you learned that having a negative emotion was wrong - that valuing kindness was not acceptable. You felt pressure to be a tougher, harder person. So you buried you upset inside, put on the mask, smiled for Mum or Dad and they said "There we go, a big smile for Mummy - now off you go and play with Simon". But the thing is, they didn't see you or acknowledge that you value kindness. So this is unresolved and becomes a wound, a trigger which is brought to light years later when you meet Mr or Mrs Right. As soon as the honeymoon is over and you have your first ding-dong, you realise that Mr/s Right actually values being honest and straight up and not sugar coating things. But because you feel wrong for valuing kindness, their bluntness hurts.
It wouldn't hurt if you had not been shamed for it. If a healthy boundary was in place, you'd be able to say "I value kindness and you value being straight up - awesome" and it would be like water off a duck's back.
So you sit there feeling hurt and criticised. And Mr/s Right has come to you with a concern or problem and is being straight up and blunt and is feeling frustrated because instead of responding to their need, you are in upset full of tears and hurt because they were mean - and probably shaming yourself for it because that's what happened a long time ago. In this case the argument starts to feel traumatic and instead of feeling seen and valued, it feels like salt is being rubbed into the wound. And damn - it hurts. But we were shamed for feeling vulnerable. So instead of saying how we feel, we say "You never listen to me" or "You're so x y z " and we make an accusation that our beloved then feels they have to defend... and so instead of eliciting a caring, empathetic response, we get an angry response back because they are thinking "But I listened to you for 3 hours yesterday and I took the morning off to hear you out and show you I care so your accusation makes no logical sense you x&*^%$ of * £$%&.
So I teach a course in how to have more useful conversations - it's a course my trainer Dr Richard Bolstad created and it's called Transforming Communication. You can get the textbook and the manuel both off Amazon. He's taught it all over the world and especially in war zones. It's awesome. However, I've learned that in order to apply the skills it helps to be in a calm resourceful state. In the course we study how John Gottman, the couples researcher, discovered that once the pulse rate of one partner goes above 97 beats per minute there is ZERO chance of conflict resolution skills working. So it helps to not be triggered - to be calm.
But what can we do about unconscious triggers?
This is where the methods of traditional Hawaiian Huna provide a wonderful antidote to the hierarchical win-lose power trips of Western Culture. One of the processes from Huna that many NLP coaches use is Timeline Therapy (TM) modelled from certain families who kept traditional Hawaiian culture alive, underground, when the missionaries arrived and demanded they change their ways. Tad James, one of the famous NLP trainers, modelled the process and to use this one must be trained in it and certified. It's very effective for removing the root cause, at the unconscious level, of a negative emotion which sponsors repeating negative patterns in a person's life.
But other processes more widely available in include the Ho'oponopono forgiveness process and also the Black Bags process for releasing negative emotions to the unconscious mind and higher self for healing - asking them to take away the negative emotions stored as black bags within the human body and to replace them with positive learnings and strategies. I was introduced to this process by a friend who found it after listening to an audio recording from Matt James, son of Tad James. Many clients have found the process extremely useful. Like anything, when we make a change in life, it's important to consider more widely what the consequence of that change will be - what will we gain and what will lose and to work through those questions. This is where expert NLP coaching can help. The unconscious mind tends to veto any changes which it believes will not meet all our needs. Sometimes those needs are not apparent to the conscious mind at first - and its for that reason that coaching, in the context of compassionate listening, is so useful. Sometimes we can work things out on our own. And sometimes we need a trained listener and coach to guide us through those scary emotions so we feel heard and nutured during the process.
After a while a coach becomes familiar with the architecture of negative emotions and is not fazed or worried by tears or intense emotional reactions - it's just a sign that the buried negative emotions is ready to be released. And when the conscious mind asks the unconscious and higher self to take over that process, it can all happen very quickly even if one has been holding on for years.
I work with sensitive people - and those I call the dreamers - because I consider myself to be in that category and I am grateful I found some tools to help me work through emotions and triggers in a deliberate and purposeful and easy way. I believe the sensitive people and the dreamers have so much to contribute to this world and in order to do that it helps to release their neurology from the weight of some of those heavy emotions. In the NLP/Timeline Therapy approach, we take the view that the unconscious mind holds on to negative emotions hoping to learn a positive lesson from a traumatic experience. Basically, the brain wants to know "What do I do differently next time this scary situation happens, or how can I best respond to it"? Once a positive lesson is identified, or a new meaning given to the experience, the unconscious mind is happy to release the negative emotions. What clients say to me, and what I have noticed in my own life, is that once these processes have been used for a particular issue, it feels different next time a similar situation arises. Instead of the trigger being present, a new state of resourcefulness shows up with a sense of more options being available in how to respond. That's really useful in personal and professional relationships. If you think back to a trigger, write down in your journal - What can I learn from this experience or do differently next time? Write it in positive language without "not" or "don't" in there - eg Next time I want to not be anxious" is less useful than "Next time I will take a moment to breathe and relax before replying". Ask your higherself to help you identify the lesson. if you are stuck, book a free 30 minute appointment in person or online to discuss it - we might be able to clear it straight away, or if it seems to be a deeper issue, you might decide to look at a full session or the 6 week life coaching programme to really transform that pain into some powerful learnings for the future. You can look at the coaching options here and then click the book online button to find a time that suits, or google an NLP life coach near you - but make sure they belong to an association with a code of ethics and you feel in your gut they would be a good fit - NLP training varies in length and style around the world and from one country to another - so the important thing, in my view, is that you feel heard and accepted and you're not just trying to 'fix' a problem.
Louise Hay, the famous author of "You Can Heal Your Life" said that in her experience, most ailments at the root cause level, revealed issues around self acceptance or the lack of it. Western Culture values productivity and pleasing or getting approval from external agents more than pleasing our own heart. This is why Huna is so valuable to us in terms of healing that imbalance - because it connects us back with our own inner wisdom and higher knowing. And for the sensitive people and the dreamers, that's gold! I hope you enjoy deep diving into this and hopefully I will hear from you in a comment or perhaps you'll book in for a chat or a session and experience some really cool shifts at the emotional level. Until then, peace be upon you!