Do You Feel What I Feel?*
by Steve Andreas
When I taught introductory psychology classes in junior college
in the late 60's, one of the topics was color perception. Since I had
well over a hundred students each semester, and the incidence of color
blindness is about 5% among males, there were usually two or three students
with color perception deficits. Although some of these students already
knew this, some didn't. It was fascinating to watch their initial disbelief
and shock gradually fade, as they began to realize that others really
did have a much more vivid and intense experience of "red"
and "green" than they didone that they could never know.
1. Attention Deficit. While some people with this label
can be helped by a variety of NLP methods, some may simply lack the
neurology for "gating" circuits that allow most of us to "tune
out" irrelevant stimuli so that we can focus on what is important
to the task at hand. Because of this, only the simplest situations are
free of confusion and chaos, and the resulting blizzard of feelings.
2. Autism. While there is a range of severity of autistic
symptoms, apparently many autistic people are simply not able to step
into another person's experience in order to intuit their probable feelings,
motivations and incongruencies. Because of this, other human beings
are forever a puzzle to them.
I have often thought about the wider implications of these examples,
particularly in regard to feelings. We usually assume that others have
more or less the same experience when we use words like "tired,"
"alert," "motivated," "angry," etc. But
there may be people whose internal states when they are "motivated"
are as different from mine as a color-blind person's experience of "red."
I know how little I can accomplish late in the day when I'm tired and
my brain feels "furry." It's entirely possible that some people
feel like this when they use the words "alert" or "motivated."
Thinking about how little I would accomplish if that was the best I
ever felt has led me to be at least a bit more tolerant of those who
have difficulty accomplishing things that most of us find relatively
simple and easy.
Often, of course, a simple NLP intervention in a motivation strategy
or anchoring states of tenacity, or resolving a conflict between parts
with different outcomes, etc. will make it possible for these people
to accomplish what they want.
But it could also be the case that their physiology is so different
that none of these interventions will make much of a difference. Thinking
about this possibility shouldn't prevent us from trying everything we
can think of, but it might lead us to do it all with a bit more humility.
*Anchor Point,, Vol. 12,
No. 7 July p. 34