(NaturalNews) Buried within NLP principles lies a strategy that virtually guarantees a dramatic increase in the success of any long-term relationship. It's so powerful when applied that obstacles and communication issues between people melt away within seconds.
Before we get into how it works, you may be wondering if this strategy is so fabulous, why haven't you already heard of it? Two reasons: 1) the stellar mental health systems of the world tend to overlook the most effective stuff because they'd rather promote prescription drug therapy (even for relationship issues) and 2) applying this particular strategy requires more emotional maturity than many people currently enjoy. However, it's totally appropriate for readers of Natural News.
From personal experience I can testify that when I use the following strategy in all of my long-term relationships, both business and personal, my troubles disappear. To get the strategy, we need to apply two NLP principles in a specific way that is counter-intuitive for most people. First, let's review the principles, then we will apply them.
1) Behind (nearly) every behavior is a positive intention. The exception would be acts of pure evil with the sole intention of inflicting harm for the sake of inflicting harm, which is rare. Most cases of destructive or self-destructive behavior are not purely evil. For example, smoking cigarettes. Smokers are not evil. They are getting something out of smoking such as enjoyment, relaxation, taking a break, exercising independence or rebellion and so on. We can safely call these secondary gains "positive intention."
Likewise, positive intention is a common factor in communication. Parents who yell at their kids often hold the positive intention to help them succeed, or help their children avoid mistakes. Yelling isn't always the most effective way to accomplish this, but it is safe and useful to suggest the positive intention of most parents does exist.
2) The meaning of your communication is the response you get (not what you intend). This is a powerful principle. It boils down to this: If I say something to you intended to be neutral or even helpful, but it offends you, then the meaning of my communication was offensive, not helpful. Your response gives meaning to my communication much more than my intention.
Recently my wife asked me how she looked. I replied, "Ok," in a mildly pleasant tone. I was feeling fine, perhaps a bit distracted. The truth is, I think she's beautiful and she knows it. She never looks bad to me. I guess I thought an Ok was good enough this time.
Well, I had another thing coming. She responded to my "Ok" as if I had just told her she looked like a troll. She wasn't looking for an "Ok." She was going for a, "Wow! You look stunning," and that isn't what she got. So, her feelings were hurt.
Now, I've got two choices. One, I can defend my "Ok" as an endorsement of my well-publicized position that she really is stunning. In so defending, I might become offended myself at her lack of giving me a break and being so particular about every word that comes out of my mouth and so on (you can imagine where this one is headed…)
Or, I can simply accept that I hurt her feelings – that her response is what gave meaning to my communication, regardless of my intention. Given her hurt feelings, I now should spend my energy making my true feelings more apparent.
The Problem: Most people act as if the following were true:
My communication means what I intend, regardless of your response.
My response is the meaning of your communication, regardless of what you intend.
Of course, this is a recipe for disaster and many long-term relationships are lost in its wake.
The magic formula is as follows:
My communication gets meaning from your response, regardless of my intention.
Your communication has a positive intention, regardless of my response.
I'm not into self-sacrifice or self-deprecation. I am not suggesting that you ignore or devalue your feelings. I am also not advocating changing your opinion or standards based on how other people respond. I am suggesting that we let go of the narcissistic pattern of defending our intentions and taking offense at others rather than figuring out how to communicate more effectively.
Try it. For the next few days assume that those with whom you are in long-term, mutually beneficial relationships hold a positive intention toward you. This doesn't mean you need to do what they say or bow down to them in any way. Just assume they hold positive intentions toward you in what they communicate. And, as you communicate with them, if they respond to you in less than desirable ways, don't defend yourself. Find a better way to communicate your intention so that their response matches. Simple.
About the author:
Mike Bundrant is the founder of the iNLP Center, which offers online NLP training to help you multiply your effectiveness in every area of life. To learn more and receive a free online mini course, visit iNLP Center.