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Your most powerful "life issues" are related to the problems that worry you most, but they can also be involved in some of your best solutions.

Signs or symptoms?

When a protector inner character (inner self)  is interviewed, it may talk at length about a particular problem in terms of something that character wants to see changed. But if the problem the character is talking about is described with a broad label like ‘It’s a personality clash." or "It’s a communication problem." this suggests it is only a symptom of deeper underlying issues.

Typically symptoms (rather than bottom line issues) are often externalised (focused away from the individual and outwards to another external person or object)  as in "He didn’t ... ; She won’t ....; You always …. We never ....It always ....They keep doing ...". 

Additional discussion or laddering down to a deeper level may then identify internalised core beliefs. "I don’t .... I can’t ... I never ....".

Those, in turn, point to the deeper internal ‘bottom line’, a smaller group of basic issues (examples below). So, how does this help?

Bottom line issues and interviewing (facilitating)

Even if the interviewer alone can see the bottom line first, this helps for a start. But if you and the person in the chair can then both agree on and name a bottom line issue, the quality of the interview improves even more as does the awareness gained afterwards.

The sooner a person can recognise, name and describe a bottom line issue (inside them) the sooner they can start to working on it, instead of trying to resolve the symptoms.

Acknowledging changes in the way people cope with their bottom line issues also helps them to measure the degree to which they are making real changes.

Examples of bottom line issues

Compared with hundreds of core beliefs, protector characters (inner selves) and points of vulnerability, there are far fewer bottom line issues, perhaps ten or less.  You will notice a similarity with Maslow’s hierarchy of needs and Pia Mellody's life issues)

1. Security issues -  Safety; Security; Peace; harmony; vulnerability; protection

2. Belonging Issues - Belonging; Connection; self-nurturing 

3. Self-esteem  issues -  Self worth; Loyalty, Giving and receiving appreciation; 

4. Power and control issues - Achievement; Boundaries; Standards; Structure; Success; Goals,  Results; Being organised, Self empowerment; ability to make changes; bonding patterns; self-protection; avoiding manipulation; Rules

5. Reality issues - Truth; Right-wrong; Justice; Fairness; Openness and honesty; Trust and Trustworthiness; Integrity; Understanding

6. Moderation issues - Integrity; Reason; Balancing giving and  receiving; Emotional age; Growth; Avoiding “flips” between opposite positions

7. Identity and Existence issues - Recognition; Being who I really am; My history; My knowledge; My experience; Self-awareness; My doings are not my beings (Who I am is not what I do) 

8. Self awareness issues - Freedom; Autonomy; Individuality; intimacy;   self-protection; Balancing my  personal and impersonal energies

9. Love issues - Caring; Sharing; Unconditional loving; Balancing giving and  receiving; 

10. Health  issues - Self healing, defects; perfection
11. Wholeness - Integrity; Balance  Wholeness; Spirit; Self-actualisation; Spirit and spirituality; Personal Growth

12. Emotional age  - Emotional age is just a reflection of how much a person’s inner child is still in control of their life and how much their grown up self-aware part is ‘driving the bus’.

Note: All of our bottom line issues are related to our emotional age. Emotional age has nothing  to do with our calendar age. An individual aged 80 can have an emotional age of 14 years. Think about some of the people you know. Watching their behaviour what do you think their emotional age might be?  Is their inner child still in charge when it comes to dealing with many of their life issues. Are their primary inner selves who help deal with these issues on a day to day basis also of a similar emotional age.

Bottom line issues, though abstract, are best described in familiar terms that encourage empathy.
As an interviewer (facilitator) you will find that matching your energies with that of the inner character (inner self)  you are interviewing helps to develop empathy and linkage with that character as it sits in the chair opposite to you, so the interview works better. 

What are your own bottom lines:


Bottom line issues

One of the reasons for interviewing your inner protector characters (inner selves) is to learn from them about your bottom line or life issues and to be able to distinguish these from what may seem important but which turn out to be only symptoms pointing to the real issues.

Identifying a life issue starts when you notice a group of similar and repetitive problem patterns. You or someone you know keeps experiencing these same patterns again and again through life. If it's a bottom line issue it will keep coming up in different ways, in your conversation, how you see other people, what irritates you in others, what you like in other people.

It will usually stand out in the kind of work you do and how you like that  work, the kind of films you enjoy, how you like to relax. Whatever you do, wherever you go there it is again. That's a life issue.