Have you ever noticed that what we remember about our past depends on our mood, our head space, our expectations, and the story we have about ourselves at that time (ie. whether we see ourselves as a victim, a survivor, an entrepreneur etc)?
We have a selective recall bias that is impacted by all of the above factors. It is even influenced by who we are speaking with at the time and what we are talking about. This happens because each of those elements can prime our brain’s neural networks to activate some stories and not others, depending on the context.
So in this day and age, where the media is often priming us to see and interpret the present political, economic and global issues as treacherous or dangerous, it us helpful to cue ourselves to remembering the bigger picture. Here is an example using this 3 min video.
By actively cuing ourselves to seeing the good and the bad of our past or of a situation, actually changes how we interpret our present.
So let’s apply this to your own lives now. I invite you grab a piece of paper and write out a list of the disturbing events in your lives, as well as positive events or resources you experienced, by age, starting at birth and going all the way to your current age.
There may not be notable events at each stage, but it is helpful to have the cues there. Also put a star next to the ones where, when you think of them, you notice you get especially emotional. These may be areas where there are still unresolved emotions to be dealt with.
Age Disturbing Events Positive Events
5 Parents fighting a lot Grandma was stable
6 Bullied at school Met Milly
& grandma died (positive adult in my life)
7 Parents divorced I used my imagination to
& bullying got worse feel safe…
21 Abusive relationship Parents tried to help me
NOTE: There can be more than one positive or negative event at any particular age.
See if going through this exercise helps you see the good and the bad of your past, so you can have a more complete picture of your life and CHOSE the value-based story you want to tell yourself and others based on this.
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