We interpret all stimulus through our senses. Our senses are Visual, Auditory, Kinesthetic, Olfactory and Gustatory. In the world of NLP we believe that we have a 6th sense. This 6th sense is our "internal dialogue." Think of it as a lense through which you see the world. A lense that colours all new experiences so they match up with old experiences.
We can only interpret information in a way that is consistent with what we already believe to be true. How do we decide how to interpret information? We use our little voice, that internal dialogue that is always happening inside of us. (pay attention and you will notice your little voice is speaking to you right now)
Where does this internal dialogue come from? It comes from our past experiences, our successes, our failures and significant emotional events. Our history shapes how we interpret the present. If our history was different, our current interpretation would be different.
That is a pretty grand claim. Think about it for a second, it means that everything you believe to be true about yourself and about the world today comes from what you believed yesterday. What you believed yesterday came from what you believed the day before that, and so on. Each belief you create about the world around you is based on previous beliefs that were all subjective in nature. Without even realizing it we can create limiting beliefs that can have catastrophic effects on our lives. The good news is they are not based on truth and that is where NLP can create such powerful change.
This is why NLP teaches us that there is no inherent meaning in anything. The meaning is assigned by us. We blend the stimulus with our internal dialogue and create a meaning that we pretend is true. How can it possible by true when another person experiencing the same stimulus would most certainly create a different meaning? If it were actually true, wouldn't we all create the same meaning?
When making change with clients I have found that loosening their model of the world as they currently see it is a critical first step.
Dr. Wayne Dyer once said, "change the way you look at things and the things you look at change."
Once we see that our problems are based on a subjective reality, it becomes much easier to create change.