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Maybe Man – how uncertainty and lack of commitment makes a cozy bed for problems

I’ve just finished co-presenting an IEMT (Integral Eye Movement Therapy) workshop with its developer, Andrew T. Austin at the weekend.

This workshop covers quite a few therapeutic components. Probably the most important being “The Patterns of Chronicity”

In plain English, these are the negative patterns of behaviour that help maintain a problem and keep it ‘working’ (and keep you miserable).

One of these patterns is called ‘Maybe Man’ and is the way that we dodge certainty and commitment to something. for instance, how many times have you overheard this kind of conversation among people leaving a cinema:

Eric: “What did you think if it then”

Roger: “Dunno man, it was like kinda cool the way it started, but then when that guy turned up I was like ‘what’?? Then when it ended the way it did I just thought oh whatever.

Eric: “Guess so.”

Roger isn’t telling us anything, but giving something that can carry off as an answer, so he’s fulfilled the social response ritual without committing to anything. This way, if Roger can blag his was through the conversation without disagreeing or appearing wrong (if Eric didn’t like his film review).

Another (more pertinent, less ranty) example is in a therapeutic setting, where someone comes here to leafy Woodford Green for either Hypnotherapy, NLP or IEMT.

I might ask somebody how strong a certain feeling is, on a scale of 0ne to ten. I’m frequently answered with “Dunno, maybe a 6 or a 7?” In a questioning tone.

This is a recurring issue with people who’ve got a problem and very common.

The detrimental effect of this lack of certainty or being unprepared to commit to stating their own experience or identity is one of the factor’s that may be helping keep whatever the problem is, cemented in place. We can blame society for facilitating this phenomena (i.e. way too many bloody choices for everything and an ongoing deterioration of social responsibility) but ultimately the buck stops with US.

The good news

The solution is to simply be precise and accurate about what’s going on. If you feel bad, ask yourself how strong the feeling is. If it’s a 10 then a 10 it is. if it’s a 7.5 then it’s a 7.5 – it doesn’t matter what the number is, just be accurate. don’t sugar coat it and pretend it’s not as bad as it is, this is a recipe for increased stress. Equally, stop making out things are worse than they actually are, that won’t help either. What I tell my clients is:

“Imagine a big switch has just been turned on *clunk*, and this is your ability to be ‘The auditor of your own experience’ from this moment onwards!”.

After you’ve caught yourself a couple of times being vague and unprecise in the giving of your opinions, you’ll almost certainly start to self correct it, and will come to realise the freedom knowing your own mind and being able to communicate accordingly.

Go on and do it.

For more info on learning IEMT for yourself or to book a session with me, call 07903 713234 or email me