It’s not them, it’s you: And other truths about projections
Have you ever had one of those days or even weeks that simply didn’t seem to be going your way?
Like slogging your way through mud you couldn’t seem to make progress on everything you had hoped to and everything simply felt extra challenging?
I’ve been there so I completely understand.
Recently I was in that place where everything felt crazy, and even a little strange. And the beauty about being in this world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NLP) and really knowing the concepts and the information within the body of NLP is that when something goes sideways, it makes me very curious.
I approach these funky situations wondering, “How did I make that happen?”
Last week, the stuff that didn’t go my way—well, let’s just call those “highly away-from moments,” and I’ll keep them out of your awareness.
And even with the powerhouse of NLP behind me, some of these events shook me and had me feeling confused. I really had to go inside, dig deep, and figure things out.
As all this was happening, I received an email from a podcast listener with a really good question. And when I read the question, I knew I had to share my response here with you too.
“As you begin to notice negative internal representations in others, how do you handle it? How do you handle negative information, language, and plain old negative people?”
As you become more aware of your thoughts and your language, you’re going to notice. It’s what this work is all about.
I tell this to my clients, students, and to anybody who will listen that part of the mission and the vision of my work is to help you become more aware.
Aware of everything that’s going on in your life and then help you become aware of your contribution to whatever those results are—whether they please you or they don’t.
And then, when you have that information, you get to do all kinds of things to make change happen.
So that’s what this is all about.
I loved this listener’s question because it perfectly aligned to the week I was having.
And before I answered her question, I told her, “You’re not going to like the answer.”
She knew what was coming next. And maybe you do too.
If you’re becoming aware and might have the urge from time to time to run and hide from the negative Nelly’s and Nancy’s of the world, you’re going to want to pay close attention.
As you explore what’s unfolding in your life right now, I invite you to get curious.
Ask yourself some questions:
- Are things not exactly working out the way you want?
- Approach this thought with openness and ask, “How is this happening?” “How specifically am I contributing to this result right now?”
In NLP, we avoid the word “why.” We usually ask the question “how” instead.
Your internal representations have a lot to do with this.
An internal representation is created when we represent an internal experience to ourselves internally. It’s taking information from outside and then going through a process and creating a representation of that experience on the inside.
Our internal representations that we make up consist of pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes, smells, and internal dialog.
And usually, on the other side of an internal representation, there’s going to be a thought. Internal representations are the driving force of your results. And I know this sounds simple, and when we get to work and focus on fine-tuning our internal representations, cleaning them up, and making them feel good to us, then we can align our life experience with the essence of that internal representation.
And while it’s true that internal representations are created unconsciously, it’s also true that we can have a direct effect on the type of internal representations we create. We can create internal representations that are positive and good for us and feel good too.
When we do that, we’re more likely to have results that are pleasing to us, that feel good, and that get us to those experiences we’re craving for ourselves.
How we create internal representations
We have raw data, about 2 million bits of information per second that’s hitting our senses all around us. If we were to process all 2 million bits of information per second, we’d go into sensory overload and probably have a nervous breakdown.
As those 2 million bits of information per second come into our consciousness, we’re seeing, hearing, touching, tasting, and smelling whatever the experience is — we only consciously process 50 to 60 bits of that information consciously.
So what happens to the rest? They’re filtered out through the process of deletion, distortion, and generalization. And that filtering process is largely unconscious because of our values, beliefs, and memories reside largely in that 92 to 95% that makes up our unconscious mind.
The beauty of internal representations is that changing any of the pieces that make up that internal representation will change the internal representation and therefore affect your results.
Imagine hearing your favorite song and you’re compelled to get up and dance. It would be really hard to dance to your favorite happy song with a huge smile on your face, so big that you can’t even close your mouth and then at the same time feel super sad. It just doesn’t happen.
The physiology and the state have to align.
A super quick way to stop feeling crappy:
So if you’re feeling crappy, you want to change that internal representation. Do something with your body, and even your facial features. Do something with your thoughts to change any of the components.
And then, that internal representation changes. That’s why it’s so important to keep track of how we’re feeling and noticing when we feel triggered in any way.
If you enjoyed this article, you’ll love this podcast episode which goes deeper into this topic of internal representations.
I'm Brenda Terry. I'm a personal development trainer and master coach who works with go-getters like you who want to achieve big results in your business and personal life.
If you're excited and ready to play bigger in business and kill it in life, I help you identify and change beliefs, patterns, and behaviors that aren't supporting your goals so you can make more money, find more joy, better manage relationships, and communicate more effectively.
I'm here to help you make the powerful, effective shifts you're craving- faster than you ever thought possible.