🤯 Memories Gone Bad (and How to Make Them Better)Nov 17, 2022
I have the strangest memory.
I’m 8 years old. And I’m submerged in the pool at the condo I grew up in.
But instead of holding my breath, I’m smiling calmly ...
And I'm breathing underwater.
Just like a mini-mermaid with two legs instead of a tail.
That memory has been so vivid for so many years, I’ve actually asked myself …
“Was that a dream? Or did it really happen?”
But that’s impossible, right?
What human can breathe underwater?
That’s the funny thing about memories …
Even when they’re crystal clear, they’re inherently unreliable.
We think of them like tiny file folders tucked into a cabinet in our brain.
As if we could pull them out on command and say, “Aha, I knew it! This is what really happened.”
But neuroscience has proven that memories refuse to stay still.
In fact, anything you remember now isn’t even a memory anymore …
It’s the memory of a memory of a memory.
Because every time you retrieve one, you change it based on what you’re thinking, feeling and experiencing in the moment.
So when you store it away again, it’s different than it was before.
Imagine opening a Word doc, making some edits and then closing it again.
The next time you open it, what do you have?
Not the original Word doc. Only the latest version you saved.
Your memories work the same way.
And that can be profoundly empowering when you consider traumatic memories.
When you recall something with feeling, there’s a window of time when you can intentionally change it.
That’s called “Memory Reconsolidation.”
And that’s why in hypnosis we're able to change the way you respond to old memories.
So the next time you recall them, you find yourself feeling calm and confident instead of panicked and stressed out.
It reminds me of a quote I fell in love with years ago …
“It’s never too late to have a happy childhood.”
That's not to say we can change the past. But we can change our automatic reaction to it.
I see that with my clients every day.
As we free them from the hidden blocks that are keeping them stuck, their lives shift and improve to reflect their empowering new beliefs.
And it’s all backed by neuroscience.
Yet is it even necessary to remember an event before you can change your response to it?
But that's an article for another day. 😔
Now about that mermaid memory ...
I think I’ll keep that one and continue to wonder about it.
I like to keep myself guessing. 😁
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