Denial Exercise for Coaching


This article is a transcript of the following video:

I’ve posted an article about denial on the blog before, and at the end I talked about a small process that I do sometimes to kind of bring what I’ve been in denial about into conscious awareness, as well as unconscious installation. The nice thing about that process is that I like to do it before I set a large goal. In this case my large goal is a 10-day cleanse and then 20 days after every other day, and we’re doing that as part of a group process with other students from Global NLP Training. So I’ll break this video in easy little steps so that you can easily follow the process along.

So the first step in the denial process is about observation, which is something different than evaluation. Evaluation tends to be more judgment, or being critical of yourself, and that’s not what this is about. So, what I want you to think about is to observe your life in regards to, let’s say, your goal. What have you been in denial about, right? So for instance, I’ve gained a little bit of weight back. At one point in my life I lost 100 pounds and so the last 10-15 pounds are a little bit that kind of went away in the whole yoyo effect.

So what have I been in denial about? If I would judge myself, I would evaluate myself. I would say I’ve been procrastinating, let’s say, or I’ve done poorly. That’s a value judgment, an evaluation. That’s not how I like to talk to myself. Instead I phrase it differently. I would say most times when I’m with my friends I end up drinking at least three glasses of wine. So that’s a factual observation. Or often times in winter after 8:00 pm, and I would say that would be about four nights a week, I end up taking one and a half plate of dinner instead of one plate of dinner while I actually should be eating earlier and I should be eating one plate, or what I could say is while I have been in NLP training all over the world, I’ve not been doing any cardio workout like I was intending to. So that’s an observation, very noncritical and gentle towards yourself.

So the second step is determining based on the things that I’ve been in denial about, what in that period of time where I went off track and into denial, what have I been feeling. And of course I can’t list all the feelings that I’ve been having because we have about 5,000-10,000 feelings/emotional state shifts a day, but what are the dominant feelings that were contributing to going off-track. So in my case it was worry and fear and sort of like a feeling of overwhelm, of having too much on my plate. Tiredness is another one that I’ve been experiencing a lot. Moments of kind of like emotional distress, maybe it’d be a little bit over the top, but like having very intense emotions, and also a period of feeling mournful. And those have been contributing towards some poor eating choices. And so I want to identify that and put that on paper. By the way, it really helps to put things on paper especially if you’re introverted. It just makes it a little bit more real and you can look back at it later. So that’s the second step.

So the third step in the denial process, or the denial examination, is based on the emotions and the observation that I’ve already listed. I want to go into what were the needs that I wasn’t meeting and actually trying to meet by overeating, which doesn’t make sense. So for instance, my needs were relaxation, my needs were having more sleep, my needs were having peaceful shelter, my needs were some alone time to ground and to stop thinking. Those were different needs. My needs were also to just slow down and be less responsible for other people’s feelings and taking burdens of other people around me on me, and my need was to have some more balanced time for myself, and I haven’t been meeting that need, and that caused part of those emotions that I was having.

And so the very last step is a request that I want to give myself. So I request in the next process to make healthy food choices in my goal, to go on the cleanse, but meanwhile I also have to fulfill my needs, those needs that contributed to me skidding off track, I have to meet them in some other way. I have to create, for instance, that peaceful shelter and that relaxation, and to absolutely let go of taking responsibility for people in trouble for one month, to also allow time for myself for one month to not have to take care of other people’s emotional distress, to create as much balance as possible. That’s what I’m requesting of myself. I’m requesting of myself that I sleep more, and that I do things that I enjoy in terms of activities that I enjoy doing alone, for instance doing cardio. I also know that I find a huge amount of balance in walking a lot. Another thing in terms of a safety and a fear thing, and where the worries came from, is that I also need to make sure that I set up a plan for my business for the future by which I end up creating more safety as an independent business owner.

So those are all like little examples, and I’m sure in your life would have a whole other list, but it’s a nice way to kind of start purging right before a big goal, those things that you’ve been in denial about, you’ve been compartmentalizing in order to cope, but inherently caused some bad behaviors or things that you should’ve been looking at but things that you weren’t.

The nice thing about this process is that it inherently comes from you, and negotiators that literally trade lives for guns, and I adapted this process to work on denial and many other things in order to determine how do you actually nonviolently communicate with yourself, because often times we end up talking to ourselves in very violent ways, like I shouldn’t be doing this and I can’t believe that I’ve done that, and this is an excellent little way to actually communicate to your own self with empathy. Your unconscious mind ends up responding way better to that, and it allows for a nice little reset before you step into this big goal to change your life and to change your body. So I hope you enjoy that. See you.