Do programs shape our identity?

It seems obvious, every time we decide to do something, every time we say something, or even when we think something, we assume it is us doing that.

I’m sitting in a café in Rome, looking at people working on their computers, I enjoy my aromatized water with mint and orange; I feel connected to all the people in this room; I feel connected to the wooden tables; I enjoy looking at the graphic art on the white clean walls, and the modern minimalist designs of the furniture in this café.

This kind of place is a perfect example of what the new modern digital era is. Fresh, minimalistic, friendly and enjoyable.

The more you meet people, especially millennials from everywhere, you will always find a sort of connection in this way. You may call it a fashion, or a trend, but in my perspective, this is a real program.

Programs are built in us constantly, and they are very useful for our happiness and well-being; unfortunately, most of the time we blame them like it is something that makes us weak and meaningless.

Parents are certainly the first ones to build our programs. Good and bad, right and wrong, happy and sad. Any good parent has to teach us the basics of life for our survival.

They teach what food is good for us; they make us listen to our first songs and watch movies with them; they decide when it’s the right time to praise us or when and how to reproach us.

Unfortunately, so often, they have the tendency to answer for us, especially when we are so young that we can’t answer for ourselves.

Imagine being a child, walking in the street with your mom, suddenly she gets stopped by another person, maybe a friendly woman we have never seen before and she says “what a cute little child!” .

A very innocent and common scenario in every person’s life, but maybe the woman didn’t realize that the child is too young to answer, to communicate or even express what’s feeling, so the quickest thing to do is to just hide behind the mother.

“She/He’s just shy!” often moms say. All this may seem very superficial and irrelevant, however this leaves everyone with a program in their mind that will stay forever.

The child is a blank canvas that can only absorb new inputs, new information, he will learn that they are cute and little from the lady. The child will learn that strangers can talk to him/her and it’s ok, they will learn that strangers can assume something about them. They will learn from their mom that they are shy, they will learn that hiding is something you do when you are shy, and that talking to strangers is unpleasant and being shy is a way to escape that situation.

This, of course, is just a simple case many people can relate to on how programs are built within us.

There is no awareness this is happening, and there is no awareness we are programming others. In reality, we automatically create these programs within ourselves constantly, every time we think and act, and we associate those to our identity.

We could say Neuro-Linguistic Programming is all about finding those programs.

Sometimes people think they might use NLP to re-program themselves to become exactly the way they wish to be.

If I really could do that, well, I’d probably try to re-program myself to be more like Beyoncé or anyone that I admire; but is it really like that? And is it really worth to try?

Fortunately, I have to say, no.

Of course, NLP gives you so many tools to find your inner programs, and also the tools to change them. But no matter how much you want to change yourself, you can only change yourself effectively to develop your true self.
You can only use it to find a kind of sweet spot where all your identities (son/daughter, dad/mother, artist, athlete, worker, citizen etc…), live peacefully together without going into conflict.

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash

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