The difference between false memories and true ones is the same as for jewels: it is always the false ones that look the most real, the most brilliant.
We rely on our memories of past events to help guide us in making decisions. Memories show us experiences that happened and also the results of those experiences. Using our memories we can decide whether we want to go back to a certain restaurant, to be with someone or even something as simple as getting a glass of water versus drinking a soda. Our memories are the basis of who we are today, they are the tools that shape us and mold us, but memories aren’t often as solid as we would like them to be.
I’ve had shows as a painter, as a photographer, I’ve done shows as a sculptor. I’ve done a lot of different things and it all comes from experiences that you have in your life, in your creative environment. They all help – I don’t even know if they help; maybe they make it worse but they all influence each other, for sure.
Memories are what makes us choose the choices that we do every single day. On whether to hit the snooze on the alarm or to wake up right away as we have experience in knowing if the extra five minutes in a cozy bed will hurt us or not throughout the day. Memories and past experiences let us know that certain places, people or events will lead to positive or negative outcomes on our lives. Looking back on our lives we can even picture events and the associated memories for things that had a big impact. That talk we had with a loved one, a fight we had, a kissed that was shared. Each memory changing our relationship with them to where it is now and how we treat them in the now.
Traumatic memories are used to warn us of dangers as we remember and still feel the trauma of the event or events that transpired. Memories of loss are often the strongest motivators we have. In many cases we can remember the emotions involved with more strength and vividness than we can remember the event. We can’t remember the exact details of the fight that broke us up with the love of our lives or with a close friend or family member. The words that were said and when they were said, but we remember that feeling that we had the rage felt with those stinging words, the sadness at the loss and the emptiness that follows. Those feelings are what remains in our mind and are what affects who and how we are in the present.
In many cases our emotions of the event actually changes our memory of what happened. In cases where anger is the most powerful emotion we change our memories to give us more and more reasons to be angry. We see hidden actions and motivations in others that make take them from thoughtless or careless to the realm of supervillains who were planning our demise. Where there were events and memories that made us feel sorrow, guilt or shame we change our memories of events to place more blame on ourselves. In some instances we change those events in order to relieve ourselves of any possible guilt, manufacturing a story in our minds that turns us from villain to victim. As we relive each memory it is slowly altered and mutated until it has a life of its own.
In many cases our memories are simply incorrect from start to finish as false memories are formed. Instead of looking at a physical picture of our past or loading data from a computer of a previous save we are actually redrawing and rewriting our past every single time we bring up a memory. While we think of our memories as a neutral judge or referee, simply showing us the past in reality they are a biased tool for us to reshape our past or allow our past to reshape us.
So for positive memories I would say keep them positive and don’t start looking for the storm clouds from your past in them. In most cases the clouds were never there and you are simply drawing them in where they don’t belong. For those of us who tend to relive bad memories, realize that chances are they are a lot worse in your mind now then the actual experience was and move on.
Living in Past Memories
For me I tend to get trapped in the memories of the past, the good and the bad. Instead of using them as data points to help me make decisions at times the decisions I make in the present are made in the past. How I remember a relationship when it was good ,without taking into account all of the horrible things that happened later. How one antagonistic action from someone five years ago makes me disregard the changes that they’ve made in their life since then to be a better person. I realize that there are times when I simply need to let go and see things as they are now, who they are and who I am now.
I really do need to take time to reexamine things in the present relying on all of my memories as a whole instead of taking them piece by piece based on what I want to do and how I want to proceed. Each memory has meaning but the meaning as a whole tends to make much more sense.
As mentioned before memories are the tools that shape who we are now. How those tools are used is up to us. We can pick and choose memories to rebuild relationships or keep them in a dilapitated state. We can use them to motivate us to accept a challenge in our lives or use them to warn us away from dangers real and imaginary. We can reminisce on fond memories to strengthen bonds and rekindle old passions in relationships, interests or even the work that we do. Memories have immense power in our lives, but how whether we use our memories or they use us is up to us to decide.
Originally posted 2017-01-04 18:22:59.