NLP and the Power of Words

Sometimes just one word is enough to change your mood. Do you ever wonder why?

Are words just breath of wind? Definitively not.

Words carry considerable weight, and we’ve all experienced it on ourselves.

The main reason is that words are not neutral. They give or take away energy, not only the words you say to others but also the words you say to yourself. Words transform the experiences we live through and change the way we face the challenges life offers us.

The words we use and how we use them have two immediate effects: they create bridges or walls. The quality of communication is directly connected to the quality of our personal, relational and working life.

Words are precise indications that our brain puts into practice by making us behave in one way rather than another, thus altering not only the reality we live but also the reality we perceive.

NPL (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) is a step-by-step guide to the knowledge of this mechanism and teaches you how to use words effectively to communicate with yourself and others. Conscious communication leads to the creation of relationships of esteem, respect, trust and collaboration.

Use the right words at the right time

The NPL is a methodological practice that aims to change the way people think and behave through the conscious use and choice of words. When we learn to use our language well, we can better convey our thoughts and behaviours to realize our projects.

How does it work?

NPL implies the idea that people operate through internal “maps” with which they represent the world. These “maps” are the subjective experiences of what surrounds us. The NPL identifies these maps to change their orientation. In what way? It changes thought and behaviour through the conscious use of language.

What is it for?

NPL can be applied in many fields, using various techniques, according to the desired purposes. For example, it is beneficial for:

  • treat anxiety, phobias and stress, thus improving emotional responses to certain situations;
  • achieve professional goals, such as increased productivity at work and motivation;
  • remove negative thoughts and feelings associated with a past event;
  • improve interpersonal relations.

I have always believed that words are sharp weapons, often hazardous! I see it, especially with my children. Children are susceptible and receptive, certainly more so than many adults. I realize how my language can radically influence them. When they were younger, I was very attentive to my words; I even started telling stories and using positive and engaging words even when they were in my belly! I’ve always read books to my children, spelling out well and emphasizing words of joy, enthusiasm, surprise, but also highlighting terms of challenge, of struggle to face stressful situations in life.

Recently, however, I realized that I have lost this attention to words, my children are older, and I have been focusing on something else. I have lost this good habit of applying “filters” in communication. Wrong! I probably exaggerated and used an inappropriate language. I’ve been thinking about it a lot, and I started studying NPL. How many times do we regret saying such words? Anger, lack of patience lead us to use aggressive language. Those who have children exactly understand what I mean; kids often put us to the test! But when they are small, we choose certain words patiently and say them in a specific tone, then when they are older, we sometimes talk without thinking twice. Did you make that mistake too? There’s time to make up for it!

A few examples

I WANT

The best way to express our intentions is to use the verb “I want”. Most people, however, prefer to use this verb conjugated to the conditional form, “I would”, which is considered milder and politically correct. We always teach our children not to say “I want”. The truth, however, is that every time we say “I would”, we communicate to ourselves and to those who listen to us that our will is not sufficiently strong and therefore our intentions may not realize.

The “would” is a bit like the desire, I wish: the impact and effect on our brain are similar.

Therefore, avoid correcting your children all the time or at least, be aware of the meaning of this word, and use it at the right times. Don’t let them be rude but don’t kill their intentions (and even less yours!).

CAN I?

Every time we ask “can I?” we give someone else the power to decide our fate. It’s okay to ask permission from parents, but don’t overuse that word, and don’t expect to hear it all the times. Think about the use of this world in the work environment. When we negotiate with someone, a colleague or a client, if we say “can I?”, we are putting ourself in a weak position; if instead, we say what we want to say and then follow our statement with consistent action, we are communicating strength and confidence; because the brain translates “I say I do things and then I do those things”. The idea of ourselves and the idea others have of us change accordingly.

YET

It often happens that children don’t want to do something, and when we press, they answer “mom, I don’t know how to do it!”. To this statement, I suggest you to reply: “you don’t know how to do it yet”. By using “yet” the unconscious mind of the interlocutor begins to focus differently on the “problem” and begins to look for the solution. The tone and the way of saying “yet” are essential to the success of the technique.

WHY?

How many times have you asked your children:

Why didn’t you do your homework?

Why didn’t you clean up the room?

Why didn’t you shower?

The use of “why” triggers the search for a logical answer by the interlocutor on a self-defence and closure mode. Most probably, you will get lousy behaviour from your children. Instead, reformulate the question in this way, by using “and” or “for what reason”:

And… the homework? / For what reason didn’t you do your homework?

And… the room? / For what reason didn’t you clean up the room?

And… the shower? / For what reason didn’t you shower?

In this way, we avoid negative words, and consequently, we avoid closure and non-cooperative behaviour.

I still have a lot to learn, but I believe that NPL is crucial for personal development, it boosts skills, improves communication and therefore gives more self-confidence and transmits confidence to others.

I am a very curious person, and I have recently embarked on a path of change that leads me to learn new things continually, and in my opinion, NPL is a powerful tool for self-improvement that we should all learn.

When you know how to do something, it becomes easy to change it. We are programmable beings. We are the only machines that can program themselves. We are meta-programmable. We can make deliberately designed automatic programs. If we do something automatically that we shouldn’t do, we can program ourselves to change. That doesn’t mean being a robot, and it means becoming a free spirit. Being free means using your conscious mind to direct our unconscious activity. (Richard Bandler)

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