How not to end up in the school pond

In News, posted Sep 6, 2019

It's that back to school time of the year and there is a rising panic in the air at home as the stepson realises that 6 weeks of A level homework can't be crammed into a weekend, I did point out that as two of his topics are economics and maths, he could probably have worked out the equation for this. For some reason he didn't find this helpful and slunk off to his lair having made the grand gesture of leaving his phone downstairs to avoid further distraction from his swotting. His desire for good grades is finely balanced with the need to be part of his social group even when he is not actually with them.

I reflect back on my grammar school days and how we develop our social skills. We need to belong to a tribe and we display our allegiance in different ways. Wearing a uniform identifies a certain tribe but wearing it differently puts us into sub tribes. I wore a red deportment sash to show I had learned how to act like a young lady! It showed amongst other things, that I could walk with a book balanced on my head and sit down nicely! Now there's a point ripe for debate about sexism and female oppression. My daughters were horrified when I showed them an old school photo of me wearing my sash. They couldn't compute how anyone could be judged on how they moved. My good friend had walking difficulties and she wore a sash so it wasn't as biased as it sounds.

I actually found myself getting quite defensive of it as it had put me in a certain tribe which was in its own way rather safe and reassuring, My compatriots who wore these red sashes were by and large not the super athletic ones who sported the blue games sashes. These 'blue' girls were a force to be reckoned with as they bounced around the school brimming with energy and a winning attitude. We red belts took refuge in the library if the mood darkened and the sports girls were looking for a showdown. Communications were fraught and I did end up in the school pond a couple of times. Some girls both blue and red were dunked regularly, so I think that a mere couple of soakings paid testament to my own communication skills.  

We use the resources we have to hand as we navigate through life and our relationships. If  these resources are inadequate for the job is it any surprise we run into problems? Have you ever found yourself on the wrong end of an argument which may have started quite mildly and ended in a battle? A swearing session may be gratifying at the time but invariably leaves a bitter taste afterwards as it shows a lack of control.  Learning how to improve our social skills is so useful and guarantees to improve the control we have over our own communications.

It is a common misunderstanding that we are responsible for only 50% of the communication we make. For example, during an argument we may protest that because someome said something unnacceptable  we felt compelled to retaliate. Why would anyone hand over half of the responsibility for how they feel or act to someone else? We may say "he made me feel rubbish" or "she made me swear". How does this work then? 

What we need to do is learn how to communicate better and to choose what to allow into our brains. Have you ever considered that choosing what to filter out or to let in, makes a world of difference to our frame of mind and to how we respond. 

I practice and coach in NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which is built around effective communication. My sessions will encourage my client to consider when and how they want to take in information. We consider alternative ways of  responding and how we can strengthen our resilience. The benefits of this are huge when you consider how trapped and out of control you can feel after yet another battle with yourself not to get upset and feeling angry.

Do you want to build a better you? Do you want to learn how to enjoy the best possible control over your own emotions and actions? 


If you are stuck in a place of miserable anxiety and want to stop feeling hopeless, then give me a call or send me a message. I guarantee there will be no red or blue sashes required! 

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