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Lies Your Memory Tells You

A Great Idea …

“Most people think memory is like a camera that captures images and stores them for future retrieval. Memories routinely fade, vanish, or transform-sometimes dramatically. The mind can even fabricate memories.” (Daniel Gardner in his book, The Science of Fear, pp. 52-53)

In Other Words …

We often think of our memories as factual representations of events. In reality, our brains store a few key images and then fill in the gaps. We unconsciously make our memories more gloomy or more cheerful than the reality-depending on our bias. Yet we can choose to revisit and rewrite negative memories using forgiveness and compassion. We can let go of hurt and anger; we can transform our negative memories into positive ones.

How this Applies to You …

What memories are you ready to transform? Revisit them replacing resentment with understanding. Offer compassion to those who offended you. This may not happen easily or quickly but, over time, you can set yourself free of grudges and resentment.

To Find Out More …

For more great ideas (or to share your ideas), check out our Navigating Life’s Journey blog

For excellent (and free!) programs on improving your personal well being, check out The Personal Journey and Managing Stress at www.arfamilies.org.

For more information, we recommend Authentic Happiness by Martin E. P. Seligman.

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2 Comments

  • Reply Mrs. Lowe January 8, 2012 at 10:58 pm

    This is absolutely true. I find that offering compassion and trying to understand the other party and why the did what they did offers me great insight in the forgiving process. And you are right, it is never an easy thing to do; it takes a looooooong time with a lot of prayer for understanding and the will to let it all go.

  • Reply Michael Mansfield January 9, 2012 at 1:42 pm

    There seems to be a device that we all associate with different experiences. It is that something that we attach it to an experience. Our mind seems to then use that something – I have heard it referred to as a “story” or a “vision” – as a reference point upon which to judge new events or experiences. Often times, the current event bears little in common with the former experience, but our mind can correlate so fast that it becomes nearly identical in our memory. Forgiveness and compassion – for others, as well as ourselves – is the most effective way to keep our memories clear of the clutter of adverse experiences. Practicing forgiveness each and every day is required in order to be more clear.

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