By Wesley Kew, Clinical Psychologist
Arguing for a better understanding. Love them or hate them, if you find yourself in an intimate or any other kind of relationships, odds are that sooner or later you are bound to experience a disagreement. In many cases, arguments spiral out of context and become fuelled by “ghosts of Christmas past”. Meaning that all too often the true fuel that keeps your argument going just needed a small current spark to ignite. That is why we tend to overreact, get nasty and may even want to physically act out during times of conflict.
Arguments are typically regrettable and often leave a bitter taste in our mouth. We may begin to wish or hope that in future with greater maturity we will overcome all arguments once and for all. However, given the true nature of mankind, this is unlikely to occur. Thus it is more useful to learn to argue in a healthier fashion. In many cases, arguments begin when our map of the world is confronted. Suddenly we feel our map is under threat or attacked. We may even convince ourselves that this is due to radical selfishness, narrow-mindedness or just plain nastiness from the other.
It is here that we are tempted or may feel drawn into reacting with equal force because we deserve to stand up for ourselves, we will not let the world push us around. We have been hurt so we are wanting to hurt back, we have suffered so we shall make them suffer. Any of these thinking patterns seem familiar? Wait, let me rather ask; do you know a friend or lover that tends to react this way? We all vary as we go about wanting to inflict suffering, perhaps you slam the door or shout obscenities maybe you sulk for hours on end. Regardless the underlying point is that you have been hurt and thus feel justified in hurting the other back.
It is here that one must begin being honest with one’s self and ask what is it that we are actually experiencing and asking? This is not a criminal court or a headmaster’s office. We are not seeking justice just for the sake of it, are you? No, it’s something more touching than that. We want the other to love us properly. But this is scary and almost too much truth to digest. So, we rather act out by slamming doors, ignoring the other or just keep shouting. Ironically the last thing that we ever do is admit that we are hurt or worse admitting that we are vulnerable. How could I show my vulnerability or wounds to the one that so deeply hurt me?
It is here that I have found NLP to deliver some of its greatest teachings. NLP has guided me in understanding my inner workings by facilitating me to respect the others map of the world. Also, it has highlighted that it is often the pain carried by others that fuels their perpetual need to hurt when they feel hurt. It is here that I find solace and guidance in understanding that “the meaning of all communication is the response you get”.
Don’t just pay lip service to this statement, feel it – feel the power it bestows upon you and experience its calming nature. Have it imbue your map with resourcefulness at all times. Not to mention facilitating you to be open and honest about your personal feelings and responses.
In moments of being wounded, I no longer have to hit back, I can make dignified avowals of hurt and sorrow. Instead of anger fuelled outburst’s, I can more accurately confront what is transpiring inside. I can now state that:
1. I’m experiencing great hurt because I’m hurt by someone that I put emotional trust in
2. I’m frightened by the fact that I can be this hurt by someone that I so deeply exposed myself to
Nothing ventured nothing gained. Remember that life is all about duality, there is no love without hate, no darkness with light, no happiness without sadness as you all well know. It’s when we begin to respond to our inner world and not react we remain resourceful and are able to adequately engage and solve any argument or conflict. Remember that arguments are seldom about the unwashed dishes, not having done assigned chores or visiting relatives. It is about not being heard, feeling misunderstood or just re-experiencing a previous un-dealt with hurt or abandonment.
It’s here that NLP facilitates us to rather seek to understand the others map of the world and responding from a place of resourcefulness and not reacting from a place of defensiveness. One tool that will help this endeavour is the use of the Meta model. Why the Meta model you ask, well the Meta model facilitates people to move from emotionally charged maps to more information-rich-experience. Applying the meta model uncovers how people constructed their maps. So when someone claims that “you always make me feel this way” or “you never listen to me”. One can more accurately engage and understand what message they are trying to deliver by clarifying “just how do you perceive me making you feel this way?” or asking “do I really never listen to you?”
It is also important to highlight that the way in which we use the Meta model is important, because as you know, it is not what you say – it’s how you say it. Keep in mind that our tone and body language makes up over 90% of your communication.
In closing, understand that in any healthy relationship or even friendship for that matter, there will come a time that you will find yourself embroiled in an argument. It’s unrealistic to go through life trying to behave in such a manner that always avoids arguments or confrontation. Instead, begin responding instead of reacting to feelings of hurt. Remind yourself that the meaning of all communications is the response you get – and that you are in control of your mind, therefore, your results. Then add the Meta model as you add information-rich understanding and be conscious of your tone and body language.
By doing this you will steadily be on your way to a healthier way of arguing and happier relationships because you have all the resources you will ever need inside of you. Moreover, the joy and happiness you are searching for are also searching for you, so align to its vibration. By doing this you are fostering a match made in heaven and begin a journey towards happily mostly ever after.
Sources and further reading
Wesley Kew contact firstname.lastname@example.org