Handling Conflict

We all experience moments in life when we feel conflict. Conflict involves clashing or contradictory emotional experiences. NLP or Neuro Linguistic Programming offers a number of techniques for dealing with conflict. Since the NLP founders developed NLP from the foundation of Behavior Modeling starting in the 1970’s, NLP is a set of techniques and skills based on models expertise and excellence wherever it exists.

If anyone can do it; you can do it! The basic concept of Behavior Modeling is that if anyone can accomplish any desired outcome or expert behavior, and assuming you can elicit enough high quality information about how the expertise is performed, you can produce a similar result. Even the abilities of genius personalities that were once thought to be inborn to gifted genius individuals are now understood to have a structure that can be discovered and replicated. Where people once thought you had to born with an ability or genius in a particular area of life, these behaviors are now understood to be reproducible and even teachable.

It then follows that if anyone can handle conflict better than others, the ability can be understood as a skill and therefore can be modeled by others. The skill can be broken down into component parts. Strategies can be discovered. As a person who wants to model expert behavior, in this case about handling conflict, you probably know someone who handles conflict in a way that you admire. Decide who that person is. Then consider this question. “What is different about the way they would handle conflict.”

There are two kinds of Behavior Modeling; Inside and Outside Modeling. Let’s practice ‘inside modeling’. 1. First, think of something that occurred for you that is an example of when you did NOT handle conflict well. When you think about that specific moment of experiencing conflict and not handling it as well as you would have liked, where do you feel in your body? Where is the sense of conflict or constriction in your body? Is it a feeling in your gut, or tightness in your neck or jaw or a combination of things, or some altogether different feeling? Notice that you can imagine it like movie from beginning to end and you are now standing on the last frame of the movie. 2. Now, shake that off. That’s right shake your arms and body and focus on a couple of things in your immediate environment. Be present. This is called a ‘break state’ in NLP. It’s like sherbet between meals. Your pallet is neutralized so you can experience the next taste. 3. Now, notice that when you thought about the experience, it was like a movie or story that went from start to finish and you can imagine you are now standing in the last frame of your movie. 4. Now, as you are standing on the last frame you can step out and looking back at yourself in the movie, you can imagine some resources. If you had resources then that you can imagine now, the movie would have occurred differently. 5. Run your movie backwards really fast so the color in the frames blurs together and the voices go backwards until you are back just before the event/movie started. 6. Now, imagine that instead of you in the movie you now insert the person thought of who handles conflict well. Imagine you can look over his/her shoulder and start the movie over again this time, noticing what is happening differently the way he/she handles the situation. Let the movie run from beginning to end until you are on the last frame again and say (out loud or in your head) what is different in the way he/she handled it. What have you learned? 7. Now, noticing these new insights, let’s do it again. This time you are going to run the movie really fast backwards and notice the colors run together and the voices go backwards. 8. Now imagine that you can go up inside the other person, looking through their eyes, seeing what they see, thinking the thoughts through their belief systems and start the movie over again noticing the changes and what is different looking out through their eyes. When you are at the last frame, take a moment to notice what you learned differently from the last time you ran the movie. We’re going to do it one more time. 9. This time run the movie fast backwards to just before it starts and as you have noticed lots of things different from the way you did it the first time, and your brain and nervous system are now imprinted with new possibilities, put yourself back in and start the movie again, noticing what you can now do differently including what you have learned from imagining it the other times. What is different this time? Allow yourself to integrate what you have learned fully and completely now. Notice what is different and say it out loud or at least in your head and notice how you are feeling and moving your body differently than before.

Congratulations! You now have new tools and skills in place that will be available to you the next time you are in a situation where circumstances look like the ones you started with. It doesn’t really mean that things in life won’t feel like conflict, it just means you have new ways you can think, feel and behave differently than you used to. It may take some practice and you’ll notice that when the situations come up, you will either not get into them or you will simply act differently. Good work.