Memories are a weird thing. They can invoke this sense of nostalgia and transport you to a time when you were a pirate sailing the seas and pillaging villages from the comfort of your backyard. Or remind you why you avoid scary movies thanks to that aunt who made you watch Child’s Play. When you were a kid… alone… in the dark (I still don’t forgive you!). But memories are tricky. We can find ourselves either remembering something as better or worse than it actually is (that Child’s Play thing was as bad as it sounds though) and can alter our perception of things. Memories are powerful things that have changed the direction of someone’s life, and influenced the work they do. In some cases, the power of memories have kept people from living the life they’ve wanted.
It’s this last one that gets much of the attention. The should-have, could-have, would-have’s that keep us up at night and that we talk about in sessions with friends or counselors. Those memories that come flooding back and can keep us from trying something new, reach out of ourselves to engage in activities that we’ve never done before. That make us believe we are incapable of doing something or worse, that we aren’t good enough. Memories that make us doubt who we are and our abilities, they’re the hardest to combat. But this doesn’t mean it can’t be done.
You see memories are just that. They’re things that we remember from the past. Things we’ve perceived about ourselves or someone said to us that have taken anchor somewhere in us. Now I understand that there are some incidents that occur that create memories that are dangerous or can cause immense pain. I don’t mean to trivialize those experiences by any means. Even those come down to the power we give them though, and that’s up to us.
That feeling you get when you’re about to apply for the job, or plan a move. The pause you experience when you want to start that project you’ve been dreaming about or ask that person out. It’s all held in the same place. It’s easy for us to say move on and forget but if we haven’t dealt with those things. If we haven’t wrestled with them and taken back the power they had, moving on will just be words. It takes confronting them head on and in some cases working with a professional to make those memories distant history instead of recurring loops. But it’s worth it. It’s worth the mess to maybe begin to create some new memories that you’ll be able to look back on in a positive light.