What My Sister Taught meSeptember 16, 2021
10 Ways To Combat FearNovember 22, 2021
The mind is an amazing thing. Like your very own super computer, it handles millions of tasks every moment. Besides keeping your body alive and functioning, it’s the tool that allows you to think all those thoughts you think every day. It remembers and retrieves them too. It perceives and judges your environment and your experiences, and helps you formulate your ideas of the world and yourself into beliefs.
Can you imagine the momentous task of correlating and filing every single thought you’ve ever had? Along with every single word you’ve ever heard? And everything you’ve ever seen? And retrieving them on command? The mind truly is amazing!
And yet, at times it gets us into trouble.
We tell ourselves stories all the time. But how true are they?
Our experience of life is perceived through filters that have been created by our past thoughts. That little voice inside our head that talks incessantly can distort what is actually happening in the moment. And things can seem really good or really bad depending on those past perceptions.
This affects our memories too. The first time we recall something, we remember the actual experience. The next time we bring it to mind, we are remembering the memory of the last time we thought about it.
Think about that for a moment.
How many times have you ruminated over a stressful experience? And each time you did, you were only accessing the last memory of thinking about it, rather than the actual experience. Can you see how things could get distorted? Our emotions, judgments, beliefs and reactions all go into the pot.
Have you ever played “telephone?” You know, that childhood game where one person whispers something to the next person who shares it with the next and on and on… and when you finally hear what the last person was told, it is nowhere near the original statement that was said in the first place. The mind can be like that.
Perhaps that is why law enforcement can have a hard time finding witnesses that say the same thing when recalling the details of a crime. Add stress to the memory and things can get distorted even more.
When I hear two people talk about the same experience and they have two different takes on it, I know the truth lies somewhere in between. After all, each of us stands in a different place, with our own unique perspective, our own unique filters, how could they be the same?
In fact, when any of us share anything, we are simply sharing our own perception. Hopefully we’re getting the important details right!
The important thing to remember is that thoughts can change. If your memories are particularly painful or if that voice in your head is negative and critical, there is inner work that can be done to lighten those thoughts, shift perspectives and find more peace inside.