There are memories that suddenly come to mind and shake our souls and bring a knowledgeable, almost brazen smile to our faces. But how therapeutic it is! In difficult moments, there is nothing better than turning to memories and allowing ourselves to be entangled in yesterday’s moments of happiness that give us strength in the present moment.
It is often said that memory captures awesome moments that no photograph would ever be able to capture. After all, no electronic device can bring to life scents, the trembling of pleasure on the skin, the sweet taste of a kiss , or the fresh breath of the early morning.
There are unforgettable memories of awesome moments that make us laugh, shake our souls, and show that everything that was once in our minds still lives in our hearts.
One thing we need to keep in mind regarding memory is that, contrary to the belief of many, it is not a bottomless coffin. It is not a space with endless capacity and where we can store and lock information, images and experiences so that they fully correspond to reality. Memory is, in fact, like your canvas, capable of creating, coloring in new shades, making changes, and even wiping away.
Memories and the lock of our consciousness
According to the famous philosopher, psychologist, and brother of Henry James, William James, the mind and consciousness are like a key and a lock. Let’s take an example: when we listen to a song or melody, our mind immediately travels to some moment in the past. We don’t need a time machine. It’s an unintentional memory, one of many that happens almost unconsciously throughout the day.
We disappear for a few seconds into that dim memory, the moment in time that can have positive or negative consequences, until after a moment our consciousness calls us and “pulls” us back into the lock of the present moment. This transient and lonely but intense journey, not entirely useless and detached from the present moment, merges into our own consciousness.
We spend much of our lives remembering things and bringing the past to life, and that’s because – as neuroscience explains – memory is a constant traveler that invites us to its great island to evaluate the past, act in the present, and plan for the future. All of this is built on our consciousness, that floral, chaotic and individual “everything” that is unique to each of us.
We want to be the architects of today to create positive memories
“Positive experiences leave happy memories”. This is a matter of course for all of us, but it is also clear to us that it is not always in our hands to create happy, joyful, or pleasant experiences. Sometimes happiness does not favor us, there will be disappointments, changes in direction in life, traumatic experiences and even gloomy days.
One thing we talked about at the beginning and will return to now is that it is about memory and not always following faithfully what happened. Two people who experience the same reality may remember it differently, as each of us interprets and perceives what we see in a certain way. Therein lies the magic and mystery of human memory. The brain is neither a camera nor a copier; they are a great interpreter. However, this is a great weapon that will benefit us. Keep reading and we’ll tell you why.
Memory and emotions
We can all be architects of our own reality and use our memory and emotions to move forward on our personal paths with more confidence and strength. To do this, consider the following strategies.
- Selective memory to help us heal wounds. Let’s take an example: you just divorced someone. One way to face grief is to avoid remembering negative or traumatic events. By doing so, you will not move forward and you will be trapped in suffering. What matters is acceptance, the ability to close one song in life, and give good memories more value than bad ones. Only then do we see the experience as “a life worth living”.
- Our memories can be a double-edged sword when we suffer from depression. According to an interesting study published in Frontiers in Psychology , encouraging a patient with depression to remember happy moments from their past can be harmful. In these cases, it has been found that the brain is unable to activate “reward pathways,” as depressed people are characterized by a state of mind in which they are unable to enjoy memories or positive experiences.
So in moments of darkness, before we return to the past “our coffin of memories,” it is best to “build the present moment,” to connect with that moment to realize that sometimes it is enough to simply change the thought in your mind to create a new feeling that then improves reality. Sometimes change only needs that vital spark to start: a positive, hopeful feeling.