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“Everyone” is doing it. Or are they? Do you notice how “everyone” is distorting their reality “all the time” by using the word “everyone” or “everything” and they “never” stop? It’s the same with “never”, “all” or nobody”.

“Nobody loves me” or “Everything is going wrong”, or “You NEVER listen to me”.

What can you do about it? Well, if you are one of those people who “occasionally” use these words, then consider who or what you are specifically talking about. Be specific. For example, instead of saying, “You never listen to me”, try, “Right now, I do not feel listened to and would really appreciate it if you would put down what you are doing and make eye contact.” Or instead of saying, “Everything sucks”, you might try saying, “Getting up early on Sunday morning sucks”, or “It sucks to be me”(this may only make sense if you saw Avenue Q or if you believe it). Depending upon how detailed you want to be and how much the other person cares to know, you can tell them, “how, specifically it sucks to be you.” I recommend that if you plan on doing that it would be nice to also tell them what you “love” about being you.

If you are not going to tell them that, then at least whisper it quietly to yourself, so that nobody else can hear. On the other hand, if someone is using these words, see what you could do to get them to be more specific, like asking, “Everything?” or “No one?” or “Has there ever been a time when you didn’t suck?” Or if someone accused you of “always” being distracted, admit that it does happen on occasion and ask if they have ever noticed when you are intensely focused? (and focus intensely on them as you say this).

Either give them a counterexample or have them find one by themselves. If they cannot identify a time when you were paying attention, perhaps you can both agree to pay more attention to each other in the future or maybe agree to take a moment “right now” and give each other the kind of attention that each of you would like to receive. This is just one pattern that is described in the Meta Model which is a part of the NLP Model.

Now all you have to do is practice this “all the time” with “everyone” and you will “never” have any communication problems:).

Steven Leeds

Co-director of The NLP Center of New York


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