NLP / Huna: Give Yourself a Break & Pat Yourself on the Back


I think sometimes we are so hard on ourselves and we can be our own worst critics. I remember a long time ago when I would say things to myself that I would never say to another person. I feel fortunate that I have learned to be more forgiving of myself and patient with my path; however, I know not everyone is there yet.


My daughter has a streak of this in her (maybe she got it from me!!). From such an early age, she wanted things to be perfect. Her hair, her clothes, her cleanliest all had to be perfect. She even went through a phase of wiping her mouth after almost every lick of an ice cream cone, and I thought, “Wow, I have to help with this!”


In NLP, we have concepts that are called Presuppositions of NLP. They are what some of the most successful people presuppose as basic truths or ideas. One of them is that people are doing the best they can with the resources they have. Could we all be doing better? Yes, of course, and at any given moment, we are just doing our best.


This concept helped my daughter Skylar develop a saying at the age of four, which is, “It doesn’t have to be perfect, if just needs to be my best.” She would even expand on that and she realized as an individual being she doesn’t need to be perfect; she just needs to be her best.


Over the past year that she has had this as her “moto” she has actually made dramatic improvements in so many areas. She used to get frustrated reading and now, even with challenging books, she will reminder herself that she is doing her best.


She has learned to tie her shoes and a classmate commented to her that she ties her shoes a little slow. Now, I am not sure what her classmate was comparing it to, because I don’t remember kindergarten shoe tying races… Anyway, when Skylar’s classmate said this, Skylar simply turned and said, “I take my time because I want it to be my best!” I was so thrilled!


How many of you have derailed yourself because of another’s comment? How many of you have beaten yourself up and stopped your progress because you forget that you are doing your best? Sometimes the simplest lessons that are from children can be so powerful.


In the Hawaiian language, there is a word that to me is so amazing. It is kina`ole. This means “doing the right thing, in the right way, at the right time, in the right place, for the right reason, with the right feeling, the first time.” It is the idea of flawlessness, and I believe this word applies here.


You see, it doesn’t say to be perfect; it just says to be in the space of right time, place, feeling etc. Doing the right thing doesn’t mean making it perfect, it means it is right for the moment and that is so powerful. Do you have the right feeling? Are you doing it the first time so you don’t have to repeat yourself (I think the old saying is do it right the first time)?


That is kina`ole. And, that is something that is a wonderful experience when you have it.


Here is my advice, give yourself a break and realize that you are doing the best you can with the resources you have. Understand that in life you can only aim for being and doing your best. And finally, when you are doing something, be kina`ole with what you are doing. Just maybe this might help!


Mahalo, Matt James




Matthew B. James, MA, PhD, President of The Empowerment Partnership. For training schedule and more info go to &