Ming the Mechanic
The NewsLog of Flemming Funch

Monday, October 26, 2009day link 

 The power of appreciation
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appreciation a. favorable critical estimate. b. sensitive awareness; especially : recognition of aesthetic values. c. an expression of admiration, approval, or gratitude.

It's a nice thing, appreciation. Problems, obstacles, issues, conflicts - they tend to start dissolving when appreciated.

I suppose I noticed it first when I had just learned NLP. I was working as a coach and therapist, and people would come in with such wonderful problems that somehow were quite easy to alleviate. OK, it is actually an NLP trick: to reframe a problem as an accomplishment. But what works is just as much that one honestly admires or appreciates the cleverness of people's problems.

The client comes in and says "I'm really depressed today" and I say "Cool! How did you do that?". OK, I've got to watch out to not be too enthusiastic, or our rapport would go out the window, but that's basically my attitude. I'm not going to feel sorry for them for feeling bad, starting to look all droopy myself, and then have them explain all the many sad and very compelling reasons why they're depressed. No, if we assume that they'd rather not feel depressed, I'd rather find out how they make themselves feel like that. I.e. what do they remember, what do they look at, what do they tell themselves, etc. There is usually an exact strategy there. And if we can find that, they can probably learn to feel something more useful.

But actually I don't even need to use any technique to make them discover that. Even if I just listened, while greatly appreciating what they're doing, it would tend to start dissolving. I mean, as opposed to listening while being all in agreement with the reality of their depression. Oh, it might still take some work, but things change much faster when you appreciate them.

Works the same with my own problems. If I think about them while agreeing that they're problems and they're hard to solve, then that's probably the case. If I look at them innocently and alertly, appreciating whatever I find, they usually don't stay the same for very long.

Most of the problems of the world are clever and complicated, but rather silly. I'm not saying they'll all go away by just looking at them in amused amazement, but they probably become easier to solve. And what really is the problem is usually what some people think and feel, not what really is there. It wouldn't be a problem for everybody on the planet to have enough food and clean water, if enough people felt a bit differently about it. The problem is mental, not a lack of resources.
[ | 2009-10-26 23:48 | 129 comments | PermaLink ]  More >

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