A toddler's laws of reality are looser than ours. The consequences of this are huge - and quite amusing......but what a responsibility! One evening, I was having a bit of battle with my 2 yr old daughter, who was stubbornly refusing get in the bath. I ran the bath anyway and threw in two of her favourite bath toys (imaginatively named Mr Duck and Mr Cow if you want the finer detail) and said: "Look, Mr Duck and Mr Cow are in bath .. don't you want to get in as well? It will be fun!'' Her strop continued for quite a while, until I said: "Mr Duck and Mr Cow are really sad because Abbey isn't in the bath with them." Her state completely changed. She went quiet and was transfixed, staring at these two plastic toys bobbing in the water. "Why are they sad?" she asked "Because they want to share their fun with you." I replied. So then she said she doesn't want them to be sad and asked if she could get in the bath now - finally!
I had no idea that my manipulation of her emotions would have such an strong affect. What, in NLP terms, I had just observed was my programming of her 'cause and effect' belief system i.e. that she is capable of making people (or rubber toys in this case) sad by her actions. And she has also learnt that 'sad' is not good. All this and she has only been in our world a couple of years.
So back to the adult world, what can we learn from this? Well, firstly that a well-meaning parent can install some serious cause and effect limitations in his children! Now, of course, it is our role as parents to help our children understand how the world works, and what makes what happen ... however, the key is to never forget that these beliefs, and the cause and effect links, are not actually real - they are not true and not mandatory. My daughter does not have to feel bad because Mr Duck and colleagues were sad. Just like we do not have to feel sad if someone lets us down, or doesn't give us a job, or ends a relationship. They are just programmed cause and effect beliefs ... installed by well-meaning fathers, Hollywood, or even Shakespeare...... beliefs, are just thought in the moment, pulse of energy, they only last as long as we think them, and we only feel them, whilst we hold on to them thoughts. Once we realise the true nature of thought, they can evaporate.