So, today I thought I would write about love and relationships and how we can better understand the people we share our lives with. This can mean romantic relationships, but can really be applied to anyone.
We know that we have five senses. In NLP (Neuro-Linguistic Programming) language these are known as “representational systems” and are called:
- Visual – what we see
- Auditory – what we hear
- Kinaesthetic – what we feel
- Olfactory – what we smell
- Gustatory – what we taste
The main three systems that I will concentrate on today are visual, auditory and kinaesthetic. We can come back to the other two another time. We use all of our five senses to navigate the world around us but we all tend to have one preferred representational system. I wonder what yours is? If you aren’t sure, maybe this will help.
If yours is visual…
You might use visual language when you are speaking. You may be artistic and enjoy painting or drawing. You probably learn better by reading or watching something being demonstrated.
If yours is auditory…
You may be very musical and use words that relate to sound. You might notice that you learn better by listening to someone explain something.
If yours is kinaesthetic…
You might use words that describe feelings. You probably learn best by doing something and acting it out. Only then will you feel you really understand it.
This is a very generalised overview of representational systems and you may find that you have two equally preferred systems or that you tend to favour different systems in different situations. We use a combination of each of these systems and, of course, being good at painting doesn’t mean that you aren’t musical. However, it is a good way to start thinking about how we all see the world and it makes us stop for a moment and realise that we all interpret things differently.
As it is Valentine’s Day, we are focusing on love and how understanding our representational systems can help us communicate with those we are closest to.
Try out this little exercise:
- Close your eyes, take a deep breath and relax your body.
- Now, think of a time you felt truly loved. Really take yourself back to that time. See what you saw, hear what you heard and really feel what you felt.
- Who was there with you?
- What is it about that person that made you feel so loved and special? Notice what they did or said that really meant something to you.
What did you find out about your own representational system? Do you feel more loved when someone tells you they love you or says nice things to you? Perhaps it is the way they look at you that makes you feel loved? Is it a particular touch or a hug? Maybe they just did something really special or bought you a thoughtful gift?
The point is that each of us responds to these in a different way. When we first start a romantic relationship we tend to cover all bases. We will use all three of these representational systems to show someone how we feel. However, over time, we tend to fall back on our own system and think that everyone will respond in the same way. An auditory person may feel most loved when they hear the words, “I love you”, so they use this to communicate to the person they love and wonder why it doesn’t work. The person they are speaking to may be a kinaesthetic person and will only truly feel loved if they are hugged or touched in some way. In their world, this lack of physical affection means that their partner has stopped loving them and no matter what that person says, it will never mean as much to them.
So, you can see how this lack of communication can begin to cause problems within the relationship. The two people concerned may actually love each other very much, but the way they are showing it does not really register with their partner.
Sometimes we don’t consciously know what the problem is, we know that something just doesn’t feel right. By doing the exercise above we can identify our own primary representational system when it comes to love and that way we can begin to talk to others about what we need. Ask your loved one to do it, too, and find out the best way to communicate with them. You may be surprised at what you learn about yourself and others.
Notice the language people use when they speak. Do they tend to use words that relate to sight or sound or feelings? If you want to improve your communication skills, use similar words. This works with those we live with and see on a daily basis and those we have just met. It is often why we just “click” with someone or feel that we have known them all our lives. Next time you feel this way, notice the language and metaphors being used.
I would love to know how you got on with the exercise above and what you learned about yourself and other people around you, so please get in touch and let me know. Also, remember that if you have any questions about hypnotherapy or NLP, or would like more information on how it could help you overcome a particular difficulty you are experiencing, just send me a message or call me for a chat.
Happy Valentine’s Day!