Can you use NLP to handle disappointment? Of course. The method that comes to mind is the NLP reframing technique.
We teach the reframing technique in module 11 of our online NLP practitioner certification training. At the heart of reframing rests the assumption that life offers no inherent meaning. Things mean what we make them mean on the inside.
This is why two people can look at the same thing and react in very different ways. Information coming in through the sense gets filtered through, among other things, our belief systems.
For example, suppose a glass of beer with a healthy foam topper is sitting on your dining room table. How you react to that glass of beer is related to what you believe about beer or alcohol.
A strictly religious person may see that beer as a sin to be avoided.
A recovering alcoholic may see the beer as a symbol of failure and personal ruin.
A typical guy might see that beer as a reward for a hard day’s work.
And so on…
There is nothing about a glass of beer that suggests it means anything. It’s a container holding a liquid with certain properties that we have labeled as beer. From there, we all interpret the meaning of beer based on inner experience, which varies wildly.
This NLP reframing technique reminds us of all this, as well as how to consciously choose the meaning that works the best, given our individual situation.
Using NLP Reframing Technique to Manage Disappointment: My Personal Example
This morning I took my twin daughters to the Department of Motor Vehicles to take the test for their driver’s permit. They were excited, to say the least, due to it being on their minds for months.
We were immediately turned away when we got to the appointment desk. I only had copies of their birth certificates, not originals. And that was that. Two hours wasted. Now I need to order originals. Looks like we’re two weeks away from driver permits!
On the drive home, the disappointment was thick. Then Morgan said, “Well, at least we have more time to study for the test.”
“And, we got a day off school,” Hannah said.
“We got to spend some time together, too,” Morgan replied.
Hannah came back with, “And I have an extra day to finish my history report.”
Finally, Morgan said, “If you take us out to lunch now, this will turn out to be perfect!”
“Done!” I exclaimed.
My disappointment was reframed away. The girls gave the situation new meaning, felt much better and we all moved on without a hitch.
The NLP reframing technique teaches you how to do this with any disappointment or challenge you may be facing. You become a flexible person when you’re conscious of the fact that you really can assign new meaning.