Welcome to Mind Mastery Daily!
Today we are exploring
Between A Rock and A Hard Place:
The Power of “Double Binds”
I got an email from an old friend yesterday who is struggling with what we in hypnosis and NLP call “Double Binds”. While acknowledging that my videos and blog posts are very “optimistic” and “positive” for setting goals, basically she expressed the idea that they miss the mark for her because she doesn’t know what she wants… So how can she use her mind to focus on what she wants if she doesn’t know?
She then made a list of a couple of double binds she is in. All of which were things she doesn’t want. What she doesn’t want for her children. What she doesn’t want for her husband. What she doesn’t want to have happen if she actually does what SHE really wants to do for herself…if only she knew what that was…
BTW my friend is also one of the most intelligent, brilliant people I’ve ever met. I have emailed her for permission to fully respond to her specifically here on “Mind Mastery Daily” so that others like her (and me and you) could get some benefit from it. I haven’t heard back from her yet so I have to be a bit general here until I get permission to be specific.
For the moment I want to talk about a few concepts that will help regardless of whether I get specific with her questions.
We need to become aware of a process that only the most intelligent and imaginative of us do, It’s the process of creating “double binds.”
Double Binds are intellectual constraints that feel like real problems but are actually “invented” to keep us stuck in a kind of helpless limbo.
It’s a “damned if I do/damned if I don’t”, “Between a Rock and a Hard Place” scenario. It also often shows up as “A part of me wants this but another part of me wants that.”
For the record I have a bunch of pretty cool transformation tools to “Integrate Parts” and to “Extinguish Double Binds” in my advanced NLP trainings but today I will share one of my best solutions for free right here.
My own double binds almost did me in.
About a year into it I realized that I needed to leave my marriage. If I stayed, I knew I would either slowly die of that quiet desperation shit that Pink Floyd sang about so articulately, or I was going to drive my car into a wall at a high rate of speed to get it over quick.
So staying seemed bad. But leaving seemed just as bad. If I stayed and slowly died inside, I would probably be horrible to be around and THAT would negatively affect my kids. If I left I would not only miss my children, but possibly destroy their perfect childhoods. My wonderful wife would hate me. All the friends would side with her. I would be alone. I’d NEVER lived alone. It was selfish wasn’t it? Plus there were financial considerations. At the time I couldn’t really afford to live on my own.
Damned if I do. Damned if I don’t. It took me 12 years to resolve.
Eventually the “universe” conspired to call my bluff and I left. It was harder than I ever thought it would be and ultimately liberating not only for myself but for my kids as well. And 15 years later, I am happier and healthier than I’ve ever been. My kids are too. My ex wife is also. If all goes well, BECAUSE I choose to take care of me first, I will be around for the next 50 years of my kids lives. If I did what I THOUGHT I was SUPPOSED to do. I would most likely not be here at all. But some people still think I’m a selfish prick. And they are totally welcome to think whatever they want. This is my only life. I want to fully live it. I also want you to fully live YOUR life. Even if it is not convenient for ME.
I want my kids to live the lives THEY want for themselves. NOT the life they would life for ME.
Of course others may have differing opinions but ultimately you are the only one who can decide what is best for you.
Most often this shows up when you are attempting to take care of YOU vs. take care of EVERYBODY else.
We all have been trained to put our own dreams aside in order to “not rock the boat”.
The subtle message from our culture is “Sure! live your dream! Be happy! As long as it doesn’t hurt anybody, or inconvenience anybody, or make anybody uncomfortable, or cause you to shine so brightly that you make other people feel bad or make anybody else feel lacking or whatever”.
What’s stopping you? What would happen that is “bad” if you actually took the action to focus on you and your dream?
I want to _____________________________________________________[fill in the blank]
But if I do that this will happen: _____________________________________ [fill in the blank] and that’s bad
because _________________________________________________________________[ fill in the blank.]
Example: Maybe you want to lose weight. But if you really took the time and effort to change your eating habits and exercise habits, you wouldn’t be as available to your spouse or children. Maybe they all still like sitting on the couch in the evening eating bowls of ice cream and popcorn to unwind after a long hard day. And you are off to the gym. Maybe they miss you. Maybe they miss you waiting on them? Maybe they see you taking decisive action and they choose to feel bad about themselves and their lack of action so they want you to join them in feeling miserable too.
Do you take care of YOU? Or do you follow along with the unwritten role rules of your family?
And ultimately, do you want to model self-sacrifice as a way of life for your kids? And what do we “get” out of being martyrs?
When people start loving themselves enough to take exquisite care of their bodies’, hearts and minds, their families may squawk or even actively try to sabotage our efforts.
But this is just part of the process. The reason 99% of the rest of the world accepts the status quo is that it can be fvcking lonely out here… but there is plenty of good clean air to breathe metaphorically when you are engaged in a life that fulfills YOU.
And… you have Us. The whole point of this Transformation Tribe thing is that you are no longer alone in your quest for personal mastery and peak performance. You are no longer alone in your efforts to let go of the stuff that stops you and embrace the stuff that builds your spirit.
When you are totally happy and fulfilled, pursuing your path with heart, it threatens the established order. It threatens all the people who benefit from your being a good little “Boy” or “girl” or worker or house husband or bread winner or whatever.
“Who will do our laundry if Mom takes off on that cross country motorcycle trip?”
The key takeaway here is that when you honestly take care of yourself first you fill your reservoir of energy.
You then actually have tithed to yourself. The ancient principle of tithing starts with paying yourself first. Once you do that you discover that you have reserve energy and attention for other people. But constantly sacrifice what you want thinking that after you take care of everybody else you can do a little nice something for yourself and you basically end up depleted.
THAT is the story I heard over and over again from the folks who came to me for hypnosis for weight loss.
These folks, both men and women were so depleted by putting aside their own needs, dreams and desires that the only way they could make it through the day was by “self soothing” with food.
Lets take this out of context for an illustrative story.
The Osprey is a beautiful Fish Eagle that was almost wiped out by DDT in the 1960’s. Luckily they’ve made a major comeback. The male osprey does most of the fishing/hunting while the female sits on the nest. When he catches a fish, He eats his fill first. Then he brings food to his mate. If the chicks have hatched, she then feeds herself first and only then, do the chicks get food.
Out in nature it is obvious.
If the Male is not nourished enough to support the energy needed for hunting, the rest of the family doesn’t eat.
Let me say that a bit more strongly.
If the male Osprey doesn’t take care of himself first, the rest of the family starves.
So his taking care of himself is NOT selfish.
If the female Osprey doesn’t put HERSELF first, the chicks won’t make it.
The female has to nourish herself enough to protect the chicks, if she puts them first instead of herself she won’t be able to take very good care of them.
Do you see how in our own culture we have been trained to go against this law of nature? We’ve been told to get a good job even though it may be a soul killing, mind numbing, grind. Got to take care of the family no matter what the cost to ourselves.
And it’s not just men who are told to “settle down” and “put aside” their dreams. Both sexes are given this message.
So that’s one piece of the puzzle.
The other piece of the double bind is the very bright person’s ability to think endlessly about what they do not want to have happen.
This is actually anxiety. Thinking about what you do not want. Making what you do not want big and bright and close on your Mental movie screen”. I go into all of this in my CRUSH anxiety programs.
You see, the work I do is not just about “positive thinking” or “goal setting.”
Mastering your Mind is about a fundamental shift in the way you process your world.
If you spend the majority of your 70,000 daily thoughts thinking about what you don’t want and how no matter what you do you can’t see a way out of the double bind your in, then that is the reality you will create.
Your unconscious mind doesn’t give you what you think about. It gives you what you think about most often.
Does that make sense?
In the vastness of the double bind’s ever tightening noose, you see all the bad things that will happen if you actually take action on your own behalf. If you don’t take action on your own behalf you see all the bad things that are happening and will continue to happen if you don’t do something different. So you go back and forth, over and over and over and over and over and over and over again…
The way out of the double bind is to ask yourself “Why” questions that presuppose a better outcome. Perhaps even better than you can possibly imagine.
This gives your unconscious mind a POSITIVE DOUBLE BIND.
Rather than attempt to THINK your way out of the double bind, “Why Does It Work Out Better Than I can Possibly Imagine?” challenges you to take your thinking up a level to get up out of the “box” that your thinking is currently stuck in.
You do not have to consciously answer the question. In fact attempting to consciously answer the question is the old problem showing up again. Just ask the damn question over and over and over and over and over. Fill your mind with it. You do not need to answer it because your unconscious mind is already busy building what we call in NLP an “evidence procedure”. Just asking the question causes your unconscious focus to shift to pondering the question. But your unconscious mind does not know how to do anything but accept the presuppositions in the question. Your unconscious mind is NOT logical. Trust me on this one. LOL
- Don’t know what you want? Why does it work out better than you can possibly imagine?
- Know what you want but can’t figure out how to get it or make it happen? Why does it work out better than you can possibly imagine?
- Don’t know where the money will come from to pay the mortgage? Why does it work out better than you can possibly imagine?
- Don’t know how to ask for your needs to be met? Why does it work out better than you can possibly imagine?
- Getting shit from your family about your personal improvement program or all the time you spend at the gym? Why does it work out better than you can possibly imagine? AND why does it work out better than THEY can possibly imagine?
- Want to live in a different part of the country but your spouse has a good job in this part of the country? Why does it work out better than you can possibly imagine? Why does it work out better than He or She can possibly imagine?
AGAIN. This is NOT Pollyanna positive thinking that people love to complain about. This is something different.
And only when you have seriously flooded your neurology with this questioning technique will you understand it’s power.
If your unconscious mind is constantly being re-programmed to seek answers to the powerful presuppositions in this question, it is not spending all it’s time focusing on the negative double bind that has been trapping you and making you miserable for so long.
Does that make sense? Put this into practice for a week and keep score. Notice how it changes your world. Then if you want to test it, the following week go back to thinking the way you were thinking and keep track of the results of that. Which do you prefer?
Do the thing that works best for you. If you get a lot of pleasure out of feeling miserable by all means don’t do anything different unless you want to. :o)
In personally following my own advice, I have used WDIWOBTYPI to the point where I am CONVINCED it literally changes reality.
Ultimately the key of keys is that WE GET WHAT WE FOCUS ON. So focus on what you want.
If you think you don’t know what you want. Take the “don’t wants” and turn them around.
Classic examples from my hypnosis practice:
Smoker: I don’t want to smell like cigarette smoke anymore Me: What DO you want? Smoker: I guess I want to smell fresh and clean. Me: Okay, ask yourself this question: “Why do I smell fresh and clean as a non-smoker?”
Weight loss client: I don’t want to be fat anymore. Me: What DO you want? Weight loss client: I guess I want to be healthy and fit. Me: Ask yourself THIS question, “Why am I taking steps every single day to be healthy and fit?”
Anxiety client: I don’t want to feel this anxiety anymore… Me: What DO you want? How DO you want to feel? Anxiety client: I want to feel calm and confident. Me: Great! ask yourself this question as compulsively and obsessively as you were focusing on what you didn’t want, “Why do I focus on feeling calm and confident?”
You’re assignment is to flood your neurology with what you DO want.
And to ask yourself “Why” questions that presuppose that you are actually experiencing that.
Then mix in the general “Why does it work out better than I can possibly imagine?” for yourself and “why does it work out better than THEY can possibly imagine?” for whoever is inconvenienced by YOU TAKING BACK YOUR POWER TO TAKE EXQUISITE CARE OF YOU!
Seriously. Do this. Let me know how it works out. And No, this is not the only transformation tool in the tool box. But it is simple and immediately accessible to you right now. So go for it!
If you’re not on the Mind Mastery Daily List go ahead and join us. It just might work out better than you can possibly imagine!
photo credit – Copyright: stanciuc / 123RF Stock Photo