One Of The Very Best Questions You Can Ask Yourself
What happens when you combine:
- made up ‘labels’ about human behaviour
- forget who and where the labels originated
- experience repetition of a message
- never pause to question the labels?
Answer: Considerable mental pain and unease with oneself.
Take the case of a man (John) who came to me complaining that he “didn’t have the energy to get out of bed”, was “bored in his job” and repeatedly talked “bad to myself.”
From this he concluded he had low ‘self-esteem' and felt ashamed “because I have so much (good family, great job, lovely living environment) but I don’t feel happy or successful.”
John contacted me because he’d “been feeling another low” and after a few trips to a counsellor he was hoping I might have a “technique” to help him “get going.”
All he knew was he didn’t want to take drugs.
Nor did he need them.
The problem John had was he had, unknowingly, floated up into the world of labels, identified those labels to himself and lost sight of how his feelings of low energy, boredom and shame had come about.
In an instant and without any awareness that he was doing it; he concluded “there is something wrong with me.”
This thought mutated in to a more sinister form. One that left him with an ongoing sense of unease.The label lurking in the shadows, tormenting his mind?
“I am broken.”
Turning Things Around
Although it all sounds a bit sinister or serious, the issue John presented was totally normal and in today’s world of “talking heads” and B.S. obfuscating labels being banded around - totally common!
In a nutshell, John had done a number on himself unknowingly.
Through a lifetime of being exposed to label after label about human behaviour he lost all awareness between what he thought/felt/did and the impact of repeating such thoughts on his mind-body.
One of the very best questions I have ever heard when it comes to helping yourself or others, came to me from Richard Bandler.
One afternoon I asked Richard:
“What are some of the habitual questions you ask yourself?”
After a moment he replied:
“A big question that I ask all the time is… what the fuck is going on?”
This is a GOLDEN question!
Keep it running in the back of your mind when things aren’t working out or you find yourself feeling down.
Something we all know but often forget is where you look from greatly effects what you will see.
Whenever you have a problem or issue, ask yourself “what the fuck is going on?” first rather than reaching for a label.
Observe and pay attention to what is really going on.
What PROCESSES are occurring to produce the effects you are seeing in your life?
They may be mental, physical, chemical, social, environmental etc.
In order for whatever feelings to happen some process must be occurring.
Do your best to figure out what the process is.
Use descriptive language.
Rid yourself of using labels e.g. low self-confidence etc. and require yourself to describe what you are observing in process terms.
This one simple act can transform your NLP, Hypnosis and Coaching almost overnight.
In the case of John, although he was highly educated, intelligent and genuinely didn’t want to feel the way he did, he didn’t know how.
He felt ‘stuck’ with these feelings with no sight of any change on the horizon.
One of the reasons why he and the counselors he had seen weren’t able to change his situation was because they’d automatically accepted the LABELS of the problem.
Those labels WERE a big part of the problem.
Labels are interesting things.
They are kind of free floating ‘voodoo’ spells accepted as 'real' and so rarely challenged.
It’s obvious when I say that everything that is said is said by someone.
But when we take on a label we often do so without consideration of who said it, what the really meant and under what circumstances it applies.
So the labels “self-esteem”, “broken”, “failure” take on a life of their own. And become free floating ever present realities inside the mind. Banded about like they were some kind of super-power.
The situation is made worse when you consider that the human mind is prone to forget that world ‘out there’ is never the world inside our mind.[Remember the MAP is NEVER the territory.]
So it forgets that what it imagines and holds to be true; may have no basis in reality whatsoever.
A person’s brain repeats the unwanted thought/label several times.
(Repetition is how the brain gets things to stick, behaviours-responses to habituate.)
Through the gift of self-reflection, the human mind is likely to go meta on the problem label.
Links it up to all kinds of other ideas and labels.
The human being who embodies all this mind gym is typically completely unaware that the idea they have about their idea… about themselves was built on a FALSE premise all along.
Poor John, having built a great castle in his mind for his life, finds himself trapped in his own dungeon, totally at a loss as to how it happened.
Unable to find a light or a key to get out.
He just feels unhappy.
The labels, the repeated and relentless negative self-talk and looping of the pattern outside his conscious awareness, has left him feeling seemingly stuck.
Thankfully for him and all of us, there is a simple intervention. A process that when you use will free yourself of all kinds of mental manure.
Frees you from adopting yet another ‘label’.
If you are being tormented by your mind, enquire what label(s) are at play; then ask “What the fuck is going on?” to begin to kick apart the legs that have been keeping the problem in place.
Incredible things can happen.
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