Easily Resolve Inner Issues
What follows will be the background, theory and step by step technique of a very powerful NLP procedure known as “Integration of Parts.” Normally this is done with somebody guiding you, but with practice you can do this quite easily on your own. First we’ll talk about some myths about NLP procedures in general, the basic structure and ideas behind this very common and familiar technique, and then we’ll get to the step by step way you can do it as often as you can for whatever reasons you want.
NLP Procedures Are Not One Time Only
Many procedures taught in NLP courses and books are considered “once and done” activities. Please reconsider this idea. The way our brains are wired, anything that causes fear or any type of discomfort will be much more strongly wired in than anything that causes pleasure.
Based purely on the mathematics of evolution, having a “better safe than sorry” response to any unknown outcome was better than having a “let’s go check it out further response.” All of the ancient humans who had the “let’s go check it out” response were slowly killed of at a higher rate than those with the “better safe than sorry” response.
This “better safe than sorry” response means our deep feeling of anything that could be dangerous is quick and strong. Compare that to something that could be positive (food, sex, anything that signals higher social status), which is comparatively weak.
Common Pain vs. Pleasure Experiences
If you are like a normal human, then you’ve got plenty of experiences of talking yourself out of doing something. This is really a metaphorical description of what’s actually going on. You see something that might provide pleasure (emotional or physical). Then you are made aware of the things that could create potential pain (emotional or physical). It will usually take a lot of effort and conscious thinking to override that potential pain.
This is why doing many things cause anxiety. Part of you wants to go and do it, but part of you is screaming that you might experience some kind of discomfort. Speaking in public, talking to attractive people, any kind sales (including selling yourself in a job interview).
Because of the strength of the neural connections of the potential emotional pain (messing up during your speech, getting rejected by attractive people or potential bosses), it’s impossible to “think it away.” Compare this to doing something that is easy, (e.g. has zero potential negatives) like bending over to pick up money off the street.
Thick Pain Passages Are A Survival Benefit
Those thick neural connections that make it impossible to talk yourself out of being afraid were a survival benefit back in the day. A feature that kept us alive. Now, what about those NLP procedures? Aren’t they supposed to quickly and magically cure these things?
What Are NLP Procedures?
NLP procedures to remove any fear when it’s not helpful (e.g. when you want to give a speech or talk to an attractive person), are based on imagining your way around the fear. They involve consciously building in better responses. But NLP procedures are things that you consciously imagine. Fears pop up quickly and subconsciously, before you have time to circumvent them.
NLP techniques work great when you are the one creating (in your imagination) that thing you would like to stop making you feel anxious. But those things tend to pop up in the real world when we least expect them, meaning we’re not ready.
Learning A New Habit
There are plenty of ideas about how long it takes to learn a new habit. Essentially, doing an NLP procedure (training your brain to think differently) is like any other habit. Your pre-programmed fear response is like an old habit. The NLP procedure is an attempt to build in a new thinking habit.
All habits, however, take time to be overwritten. If you consciously put your keys in a new location, it will take a while to remember the new location instinctively. If you play any sports, changing any “bad” habits will take time and consistency.
New Mental Habits Take Time To Re-Program
Similarly, when you attempt any NLP procedure it is going to take just as long. Even longer if you are overriding a deeply instinctive fear like talking to attractive strangers or presenting yourself persuasively in a public speech. It’s definitely possible, but it takes just as long to practice as it would to change your tennis serve of free throw technique. You can still do the NLP procedure in the safety of your own mind, but it will take time.
Integration Of Parts Requires Consistency
This is one of those things that is normally taught as a once and done deal. If you only do it once or twice, it may be an interesting experience, but the changes won’t “stick.” Instead consider doing this as often as needed. Once you’ve got the steps down, it only takes a couple of minutes.
Integration of parts follows a common negotiating technique. You have two parties that come together for a negotiation. One strategy is the “might makes right” strategy, which says whoever can exert the most force will win the negotiation. When one party needs the deal less than the other party, they have the power and ability to walk away.
If you want to buy a car, but you’re still shopping around, and you have no problems keeping your current car for another year or so. Any salesman, no matter how skilled, will have hard time convincing you to buy a car if it’s not one you really want. In this example, you have the power, and even thought it doesn’t feel like a might-makes-right negotiation, you have more power, so you “win” the negotiation.
Non Might Makes Right Deals
The best deals are when both parties are on equal footing. When they both want to create a mutually beneficial bargain. If might-makes-right is win-lose, then these deals are win-win. These are the best deals, because both parties come out feeling as though they’ve benefited. Some of the best relationships in the world are win-win.
Bees and Flowers
This is an easy to understand relationship that was created without any conscious thought. Bees visit flowers to collect the nectar. They think they are getting it for free. The flowers think they are getting the best part of the deal. These crazy bees show up and spread the flowers’ pollen all over the place. How nice of them! The flowers see the nectar as a small price to pay.
The bees probably don’t even think about moving the pollen from flower to flower. That this win-win type of relationship exists all over nature indicates how beneficial is it. It is stable. Win-win relationships keep both parties going. They keep both parties interest in the survival of the other. The bees would be screwed if all the flowers died. Similarly, without bees, there would be a lot less flowers.
These are the win-lose relationships that are to be avoided at all costs. These are covert might-makes-right relationships where one party is benefiting at the expense of the other party. These are the vampires of the animal world. The only exist by exploiting others. They can only win if others lose.
This is a parasite that makes mice completely fearless around cats. Most mice, when they smell a cat, get scared and run in the opposite direction. This makes mice actually attracted to the smell of cats. Why? Because then the cat will eat the mouse. And this parasitic organism can only reproduce in the intestines of cat. This parasite can only reproduce if it kills a mouse. That’s pretty much the definition of win-lose!
Interestingly, in the relationship between the cat and the virus, it’s a win-win. The virus gets a free place to replicate itself, and the cat gets these brainwashed mice delivering themselves straight into their mouths. But the poor mouse gets screwed over every time!
Win-Win Keeps Everybody Happy
When you create win-win relationships, nobody has to die. In fact, both parties are keenly interested in the others’ continued survival (bees and flowers). How do you create win-win relationships? Actually it’s pretty simple.
Find Overlapping Interests
The structure is simple. Start off with what you both want. Then go up one meta level. If you get that first order thing, what do you get as a result? You do this for both parties, going up, until you get a higher order want they both entities want. Let’s imagine a union negotiation between the bees and the flowers way back in the day.
Bee: So, Mr. Flower, what do you want?
Flower: I want you to spread our pollen around. You can fly, we cannot.
Bee: I see.
Flower: What do you guys want?
Bee: Well, we need to go out everyday looking for food.
Flower: I see. If you find food, what does that get you?
Bee: Well, if we find food, we can stay fed and grow our bee community.
Flower: I see.
Bee: If you spread your pollen, what does that get you?
Flower: Well, more pollen means more flowers. We want to expand our flower community as well.
Bee: Hmm. That’s interesting. We both want to expand our respective communities.
Flower: Yeah, it seems so. Hey, I got an idea!
Bee: Yeah? What is it?
Flower: What kind of food are you guys looking for?
Bee: Anything sweet. Sugar, donuts, whatever.
Flower: How about nectar?
Bee: What the heck is nectar?
Flower: Here, try some. We make this stuff but we don’t really need it.
Bee: Hey, that stuff’s pretty good!
Flower: Tell you want, we can relocate our pollen receptors right next to our nectar.
Bee: Hey, I see where you’re going with this! We can grow this prickly things on our skin.
Flower: You’re way ahead of me! While you can have our nectar…
Bee: Our prickly things will transfer the pollen!
Flower: And the more pollen you transfer, the more flowers you’ll make!
Bee: And the more flowers there are, the more free nectar we get!
Flower: And the more nectar we make, the more you’ll spread our pollen around!
Bee: I see the beginnings of a beautiful relationship!
This is the simple and easy structure of all win-win negotiations. Keep talking about what each party wants until you find a solution that benefits both parties. If a solution exists, it will enhance both parties individually, and it will enhance each one separately.
Part Three – Integration Of Parts Theory
Negotiation Between Parts
The basic theory is the same with the parts that make up you. Now, you don’t really have a bunch of different parts, but it’s a very convenient metaphor to use. We use metaphors in our language naturally to explain how we describe complicated and intangible things. We say things like, “part of me wants to eat a cheeseburger, but part of me knows I should eat a boiled chicken breast instead.”
So by treating inner conflicts as if they are actual parts, we are describing them in the most natural way possible. It’s very similar to a stereotypical patient who visits a therapist because he thinks there are demons everywhere. The therapist works within the demon metaphor to help the patient. Even if the patient leaves, thinking the therapist has eradicated real demons from his life, it’s OK with the therapist so long as the patient can live a more productive and happy life.
When we talk about integrating different parts of you, understand we are working within the common metaphor we use when describing different collections of beliefs, intentions, incentives, and thinking patterns.
Goal – Total Congruence
If you speak congruently, you will be extremely attractive. Not just in a sexual or romantic way, but people will want to be around you. A human that is deeply congruent is very comforting. A natural leader. Consider that when we humans self organize into hierarchies, we naturally follow those that are the most congruent. The opposite of congruence is being uncertain, conflicted, unsure. Congruence is one of those things that the more you have, the more successful you’ll be in all areas.
Unlike in NLP seminars or therapy rooms where Integration of Parts is considered a once-and-done exercise, consider it as helpful and essential to your life as physical exercise. Something you want to do a little bit of every single day for as long as you are drawing breath. Since you’ll be consistently moving through different realities, and you’ll always be around different people with different outcomes, you’ll always be in need of upgrading your congruence.
Enhanced Decision Making
Essentially, making a decision is hard because you have two parts that seemingly want you to go in two different directions. The more you practice parts integration, the more you’ll become skilled in making decisions. Another reason to do this exercise as often, and with as many parts as you can find.
How To Do It
First identify an area where you are conflicted. Since you’ll be doing this a lot (hopefully!) it’s best to start on very small conflicts just to get the hang of the process. A good way to find inner conflicts (unless you are Yoda, you’ll always have inner conflicts!) is by completing the following sentence stem:
I don’t know what to do about…
And answer it with as many potential answers as you can. When you find something that you’d like to solve but is easy enough to start with and play around with, you’re ready to go.
Bring Both Parts To The Table
You can do this however you like. An easy and popular way is to sit down, and put both hands on your lap, palms facing up. Actually ask each part if they’d be willing to come out and speak to one another. Once you get a feeling that they are both there, go on to the next step.
Ask Each Part What They Want
Look at each part and do your best to imagine that you can see a representation of it sitting there in the palm of your hand. For example, one part may want to eat a cheeseburger for dinner, and the other part may want to eat some oatmeal.
Go Up To Highest Level Criteria Of One Part
Make sure you listen (or imagine that you are listening) to each part. Once you get what they want, start going up the logical chain. This means ask what is important about what they want. For example:
What’s important to you about eating cheeseburgers?
Eating cheeseburgers tastes good.
Ok, I got that. What’s important to you eating food that tastes good?
Well, when I eat food that tastes good and is satisfying, I feel good.
And you like to feel good?
Yeah, I like to feel good. I like to feel good feelings.
Go Up To The Highest Level Criteria Of The Other Part
Once you’ve got as much information as you can from one part, do the same process on the other part. Ask what’s important about what they want, and keep going up to higher lever criteria until you get something that like it’s the most important thing.
So, you want to have oatmeal?
Yeah, well, I think it’s a good choice.
OK, I go that. What’s important about eating oatmeal?
Well, oatmeal is healthy.
OK, and what’s important about eating healthy?
Well if we eat healthy, we’ll be healthy.
OK, and you like to be healthy. What’s important about that?
We’ll if we’re healthy, we’ll be more attractive.
OK, I see. And why do you want to be attractive?
Because then people will look at us, want to be with us.
OK, great. What’s important about people looking at us and wanting to be with us?
That feels good!
Got it, thanks!
Find Win-Win Outcomes
Just like bees and flowers, keep going back and forth between the parts until you find something they both want. In this case, they both want an emotionally pleasing feeling. One part wants to get the emotionally pleasing feeling from eating a cheeseburger, and the other wants to get the emotionally pleasing feeling from getting checked out.
Therapeutic Method – Step One
If you were doing this in a therapists office, you would next look at each part, and make them as visually specific as possible. You would take all of their desires, all the way from the basic desire to the highest level desire, and make them as rich a representation as possible. Sights, sounds, smells, feelings, even tastes. You would take your time looking at and imagining both parts until they were as real as you could make them.
Therapeutic Method – Step Two
Then you would ask both parts if they’d like to join forces, since they are both trying to create the same outcome. You can imagine they are talking to each other and hammering out the details. Once they’ve got everything worked out, you begin to create a new part made up of the two (this is where the two separate parts become integrated).
Therapeutic Method – Step Three
This is when you close your eyes, and slowly bring your hands together, (the whole time they are both on your lap, palms up). Once your hands are together, they hold them out in front, imagining that there is now one part being formed. Then you slowly bring it to your chest, imagining that this new part is slowly dissipating throughout your body. At this point, the process is finished.
Problems With Therapeutic Method
Most problems are not so easily solved. When companies merge together, there are a lot of details to hammer out. So it’s possible that even with your own parts, the merging might not be possible in such a brief time. Also, this is an experience that requires a lot of specific hallucinations on your part. It’s very easy to pretend this is happening, have a great experience, and then go back to your old habits.
Imagine that getting your parts out and talking to each other is just the first step. Even if they agree that getting good emotional feeling is a worthy goal, they could argue for days on the best way to satisfy that goal. Consider keeping your separate parts with you as long as possible. In the above example, actually imagine you have the two parts out when you are eating, both oatmeal and cheeseburgers.
Go Through Several Decisions With Both Parts
Whatever the issue is, it’s going to take some time to get resolved. Most decisions that are important to you aren’t going to be magically fixed with a twenty minute hallucination. Consider repeating the process after going through several iterations. For example, you might have a meeting with your eating parts for a week, both before and after dinner. It’s one thing to imagine two parts and the decision in the abstract, but going through your daily live with two parts going along for the ride will be helpful.
Consider Always Have One Issue Being Resolved
The longer you take to go through a parts integration process, the more likely that when it’s resolved, it will be resolved for good and you can put it behind you. Consider the idea that you should always be working on one “either or” issue that is giving your grief, even a little bit. Once you get the hang of it, you will actually feel empowered. It may sound silly, but getting into the habit of always having imaginary parts with you will be helpful, since both of them have their own way of getting your needs met.
Allow For Any Agreements
You might be surprised the ideas your two parts come up with. Instead of always doing something one way (like only eating oatmeal and never eating cheeseburgers again), allow the parts to come up with an agreement, and stick to it. Maybe they’ll decide one cheeseburger every couple of weeks is fine.
Keep A Parts Journal
This is bit out there, but try it out, it may be fun. Create a parts journal, and write in your journal from your different parts perspective. Meaning one day write a journal entry as your cheeseburger loving part. Next write an entry as your oatmeal loving part. Then write one from your own perspective.
This may seem a bit strange and silly. But the goal is to get you as congruent as possible. Does it really matter if you hallucinate all these imaginary parts? You don’t need to tell anybody, and it’s probably not a good idea to have full blown conversations with your parts out in public (but it could be fun!). Think of this as just a very creative and imaginary way of getting more congruent, and creating a better life.
When you get into the habit of talking to your parts and building up their higher criteria, you’ll find this is a very translatable skill. Conflict resolution, sales, negotiations, all of these use the very same techniques. Taking two different parts, be they real people or hallucinated parts of you, and going through a lengthy process to make sure everybody gets what they want is a very valuable skill to have.
This is one of those things that you have to do a few times before you realize the value. Take anything that’s been giving you grief, but isn’t that big of an issue (like cheeseburgers vs. oatmeal) and take a few minutes every day to have a quick meeting between all your parts. You’ll find it will be helpful in ways you won’t know until you start doing it.
Mind Persuasion has tons of books and courses will with real world NLP that other self development, hypnosis and sales techniques that can help you improve every area of your life.