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Sometimes, people can be unkind, unloving, and unfriendly.
When this happens, you have a choice: ‘match’ them or ‘match, pace, and lead’ them.

This comes from NLP, or neurolinguistic programming. NLP is an area of psychology taught to Physical Therapists to help us bond with our patients who may not be able to receive our instructions and improve otherwise. For example, after a traumatic brain injury (TBI), patients can have massive mood swings or short attention spans.

By matching ‘how’ they are speaking, gesturing, and posturing, and then slowly but surely changing it up so they begin to follow you, you can greatly alter their mood and results from therapy. Well, the same thing is true in any life circumstance, although it might be a bit more challenging to use a ‘professional’ level of self-control at home or with friends.

Here’s how NLP works in a relationship with a friend or family member:
This means if someone is speaking to you in a loud volume, yours will be equally loud. If they are gesturing in a particular way, you will imitate them with a slight delay, in a less than obvious way.
Once you’ve synchronized your body, language, and volume to the other person, it’s time to start pacing. This means you will attempt some of the very same movements, gestures, postures, and volumes the other person is using, but slightly in front of them. If you notice they begin to imitate you, you are prepared to lead.
Once you’ve transitioned from matching to pacing, you now have this person’s subconscious attention. Your new goal is to change the tone, mood, or situation, to meet your needs and create a more stable environment. All you have to do is slowly lower your volume, reduce the exaggerated gestures that would appear to show frustration or anger, and then posture in such a way that invites a hug, rather than a fight.

You see, your attitude matters. When you notice an unpleasant situation happening at home, or you can hear the tone of someone’s voice changing, you have a choice. You can feel:

  • Offended
  • Hurt
  • Unloved

or, you can feel compassionate and empowered. Think about it… when you feel unhappy or possibly even angry, do you like this state of mind?

It’s a good bet your friend or family member doesn’t like feeling this way either. So, instead of ‘hearing’ their words and ‘seeing’ their gestures, choose to hear and see something else. Choose to hear their hurt, and see they need your help.

Then, match them, pace them, and lead them out of this funk.

Instead of being the victim, you’ll be the hero.

I’m so grateful for you,


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Dr. Kareem Samhouri

Dr. Kareem Samhour is known as (perhaps) the best Doctor of Physical Therapy & Kinesiologist on the internet. People come to him for results when other methods fail, injury gets in the way, or health situation is more complicated. Dr. Kareem Samhouri exercising In fact, he and his companies reach a combined total of 1.5 MILLION people on a daily basis to help them with their health. If you ever saw Dr. Kareem on the street and mentioned something was going on with your health, however, he would volunteer and offer to help you for free... that's the Dr. Kareem way.

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