The name sounds kind of science-tech-y, and doesn’t give itself a very clear definition, but I assure you, Neuro-Linguistic Programming, or NLP, is a very simple concept that we all use and know. The simple fact of the matter is, most of us just don’t realize that we’re doing it- that’s all.
So, what is NLP? Wikipedia defines NLP as “an approach to communication, personal development, and psychotherapy created by Richard Bandler and John Grinder in California, USA in the 1970s. The title asserts a connection between the neurological processes (neuro), language (linguistic), and behavioral patterns learned through experience (programming) that proponents speculate can be changed to achieve specific goals in life.”
I know what you’re thinking. That didn’t help clear things up very much. So let me tell you how I define NLP in laymen’s terms. It’s the science that has taught us how to describe, and then manipulate, the thoughts (and emotions) that we would normally just have without realizing it.
For example, think back to a happy memory of yours. Recall it and try to remember what you can before you read on, so that you don’t think I’m manipulating the memory when you continue. Then think back to an unpleasant memory, and try to recall it as well, before moving on to my next paragraph.
You might be surprised to realize as I point it out to you that your happier memory will seem more vivid, colorful, and for some, even bright or sparkly. Similarly, you might notice that the opposite will be true of the unhappy memory. It will seem dull in comparison. If you are very emotionally attached to either of these memories, you might even notice that the emotional parts feel very “up close” and “zoomed in”, much like the camera would show in a movie. (That’s why they do that, by the way.)
What you just did was a little bit of NLP observation! You saw your thoughts and described them, in a way that you probably haven’t before. If you’ll stick with me, let’s manipulate some.
Think back to your bad memory again. I’m going to make a rather bold assumption that because this was labeled by you as a “bad” memory, that this one was fairly up close or zoomed in (or else you wouldn’t be emotionally attached to it enough to label it with such a strong and definitive term as “bad”). NLP has a number of ways for you to release yourself- immediately and without any therapy- emotionally from memories like these ones. These include replaying them in black and white, replaying them backwards, and replaying them zoomed way out, as if you were a bird in the sky looking down at yourself in this experience.
My favorite and most commonly used method is to zoom out. In memories where I am located in a building, I even pretend the roof is missing (like a in Sims game) and replay the situation like that. The key here is, you work with yourself and the way your brain recalls the memory. As soon as you are able to play it back in this new way, you will find it easy to manipulate it further adding the other methods (like now doing it in black and white and zoomed out). You don’t need to use more than one method- the key here is, once you have released your mind from the way it feels it needs to recall the memory, you are now free emotionally from that memory. I’m telling you: it’s that simple.
When I explain this concept to my family and friends, I am often met with the response that this is very cool, and they will definitely are willing to try it later. You see, “first timers” try to- for example- zoom out of their memory as I’m explaining it to them, and they realize it’s actually pretty difficult. It seems time consuming. Don’t worry, that’s what I thought at first too.
But it’s no more difficult than focusing on one of those little 3-D Stereograms
on the back of the cereal box to find the hidden picture. You don’t see it at first, but focus… focus… a little more..
and suddenly, there it is! The dolphin! The star! The whatever! And then you see it every time you look at it. Same exact concept, same exact strenuous level.
I hope to convince you by the end of this blog post (now) that Neuro-Linguistic Programming is the coolest concept in the world, that it works, and that it’s easy. Please utilize this brilliance in your own life and understand the change and freedom it can bring you! No gimmicks, just your brain. That’s NLP.
**Apologies for the mishmash of paragraphs, WordPress isn’t posting this correctly for me!