This week as I continue to explore the NLP pre-suppositions we will examine one of the most important to consider when working with issues such as self-esteem and self-worth.
“The positive worth of the individual is held constant, while the value and appropriateness
of the internal and/or external behaviour is questioned.”
We can unpack this one on several levels firstly how does this apply to how we view ourselves, secondly how does it apply to others in everyday life and thirdly how do we use
this NLP pre-supposition as a practitioner?
By applying this NLP pre-supposition to ourselves we are accepting our own intrinsic nature and acknowledging that we all have self-worth as our natural birth right.
For many this can be challenging as many of us took on limiting self-beliefs during our
developmental years and then collected evidence to support a less than positive
self-evaluation of our worth. The second half of the pre-supposition however
provides a way to move beyond our limitations.
Sometimes our internal behaviours seem to conflict with the statement that our positive worth is held constant. By internal behaviours we are referring to our internal processes which includes internal dialogue and the images we make about ourselves and others.
For example, we might have an internal critic that constantly presents messages of low worth however this is merely a thinking behaviour it is not who we are. Despite this
behaviour we still have a positive self-worth we just need to accept it. This sounds very easy and in some ways it is.
If we also engage in less than positive external behaviours such as aggression we may end up collecting more evidence to support our limiting beliefs. Alternatively we may
experience negative feedback from others based on our behaviour that does the
The important point to remember is what drives our external behaviours. Our external behaviours are driven by our thinking behaviours so changing these too involves changing
What makes making these internal changes less than easy?
Usually trying to do it on your own! We really need support and help from people with a positive mind set who have tools to share that will help us reappraise our worth. NLP is
ideal for this but even with NLP it is important that you choose a practitioner who is sufficiently skilled, ethical and caring to help you.
If you are based in the UK the ANLP can help in locating an appropriate practitioner. The ANLP is an independent body who offer advice and support on how to identify a good practitioner. If you live elsewhere remember it is okay to ask for references. Often the best
option is to go on recommendation.
The ANLP can be contacted via the following link.
If we apply this NLP pre-supposition to others in our life it can help us to develop tolerance. There will be people that you interact with who behaviour in unacceptable ways.
Applying the philosophy that it is behaviour that is questionable not the person themselves we can take a step back.
Does this mean we allow people to mistreat us?
No, not at all. However if we recognise that people are not their behaviours we can let go of
needing to get drawn into an emotional drama about how we feel about that person. Instead we can step back and take appropriate action where necessary. This may include putting in a boundary, withdrawing from a situation or expressing how we feel. At other times we may just choose to change our perspective and thus keep our own sense of
well-being and worth high.
As practitioners we need to hold this NLP pre-supposition about our clients and facilitate them in making a connection to it too. John Overdurf and Julie Silverthorn of Neuro-Energetics developed an excellent approach to this that we have adopted at The GWiz Learning Partnership too.
Silverthorn and Overdurf teach practitioners to hold a “positive internal representation” (positive IRs) of their client. This is an extension of Carl Rogers, (the humanistic psychologist) “unconditional positive regard.” Rogers maintained that if we provide clients, or in his case patients with an environment where they can feel unconditional positive regard that they will thrive.
This seemed to prove the case, and from a Rogerian perspective the most important element contributing to improved self-worth is the relationship between the therapist and the patient.
This is that same idea behind positive IRs. If as practitioners we see our clients as victims we are helping to keep them in a disempowered place. Alternatively if we hold a representation of them being capable of change and in fact already having positive worth we are aiding them in the process.
On an unconscious level the client can pick up messages like this from the energy and non-verbal signals projected by the practitioner. As a practitioner it is essential that we are conscious of the messages we are transmitting.
Next week I am going to look at some of Overdurf and Silverthorn’s own NLP pre-suppositions to add another dimension to our discussions.