The information that makes it past the first filtration system, then gets processed by our brain by passing through our memories of other similar events and what meanings we placed on them, past decisions, values, beliefs and attitudes. This gives us what is called an internal representation of the event. Once we have filtered all the information through both of these systems we then decide on our behaviour or reaction to the event, mostly at an unconscious level.
This is often referred to as our internal map and if you compare a street map to the actual street, you will know that it is very different. You can really think of the internal map as being in code for the real situation. So when we are using NLP, we are looking to see what is on the map, what has been filtered out and what changes can be made to filter in other realities. This is what it means to create your own reality. You are not necessarily changing the actual event, but you can change the information used to understand the event or perceive it in a different way.
Let me give you an example of a child being smacked by a parent. That is the reality; the child was definitely smacked. One child however may filter in that that parent did not love them; while another child may have told itself they were naughty and deserved it. A third could have told themselves that they hated the parent for smacking them and on it goes. There are countless different maps, creating countless ‘realities’ for each child. That memory then becomes available the next time the child is in a similar situation and is likely to be attached to their response, even if the cause of the smack is very different. We tend to spend the rest of our lives proving that the belief we attached to the first event is accurate and continue to filter in ‘bits of information’ that support our belief. What’s worse is that we are unaware that we are doing it. So, most of us are walking around proving beliefs we adopted before the age of seven.
By using timeline therapies and other techniques we are able to go back to the first time we attached a belief to a situation and look at it through adult eyes. From there we can change the perspective and alter the event forever. Once you have made a neurological change to the belief, you can’t go back therefore you have changed your reality of the past and in doing so you can also change your future.