The more you discover about your bottom line or life issues the easier it is to distinguish these from what may seem important issues in your relationship 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.
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?
Someone may talk at length about a particular problem in terms of something that he or she wants to see changed. But if the problem they are 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?
Identifying Bottom line issues
Each time you identify and name a bottom line issue, the quality of your life improves as does the awareness gained afterwards. The sooner people can recognise, name and describe a bottom line issue (inside them) the sooner they can start to working on it, instead of wasting energy 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
2. Self-esteem issues - Belonging; Connected; self worth; Value; Loyalty, Appreciation;
3. Boundary and identity issues - Identity; Freedom; Autonomy; bonding patterns; self-protection; avoiding manipulation
4. Reality issues - Truth; Right-wrong; Justice; Fairness; Openness and honesty
5. Moderation issues - Integrity; Balance, Wholeness; Growth; avoiding "flips" between opposite positions
6. Power and control issues - Rules; Standards; Structure; Being organised, tidiness
7. Love issues - Caring; Sharing; Unconditional loving;
8. Self Nurturing issues - Balancing giving and receiving; self-nurturing
9. Achievement issues - Success; Goals, Results;
10. Awareness issues - Knowledge; Experience; Understanding; Self-awareness; Self-actualisation; Spirit and spirituality
Bottom line issues, though abstract, are best described in familiar terms that encourage empathy.
What are your own bottom lines: