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Dealing with Memories

May 11, 2016

You might say “I have a great memory.” or “I can’t remember a thing.” Memories are interesting. Ask 3 people who were at the same event and you will get 3 different perspectives and often wonder if they really were at the same place!

Recently I went with my sisters and my mom went to Disneyworld. I will spare you our “family” photos and just shared interspersed some images that might make you smile. My sister Sue and I are in the process of getting the photo in an album as well as journaling our time together. Seeing the photos and journaling will “jog” our memory in the future. My other sister Betsy writes in a journal every day. She-re-wrote her notes for us so that we can “remember” what it was that we saw and did – in case we forget. It is actually interesting how soon we forget things if we don’t have “prompts” or people to help us remember. 

I have been talking about “good” memories that you want to remember. Sometimes our memory dwells on the negative – what people have said that may or may not be true but we took to heart. Sometimes we get down on ourselves and we can even change the narrative of a good event because we only rehearse in our minds the negative things. Sometimes our memory remembers things over time in ways that actually never happened. There are some things that were so awful that happened to us that we don’t remember them at all or refuse to say that they happened.  

I would purpose that we need to look at negative memories and deal with them in a healthy way. We need to put aside those things that aren’t true and not take them with us into the future as we rehearse them over and over in our minds. It has been said that it takes 10 good things said to help outweigh the 1 bad things said. We need to deal with the negative things that happened to us in positive and healing ways. Sometimes we need professional help to heal and be whole again. Some people help others who are on the same journey to heal and in so doing help their own healing. We need to remember the positive things – not making them better or worse than they were – just enjoying the joy that was there and making new joys.

I enjoy putting photos into a scrapbook. I enjoy looking at them from time to time. I enjoy when others look at the book and say “Oh, I had forgotten that – now I remember” and then start talking about what the photos represent and mean to them. Some people don’t use a camera – a regular one or on their phone. Some people remember better by writing. We each have different ways to deal with our past.

I have heard people say “I don’t have time to do any albums or put things together now – maybe when I retire.” That may be true but often you don’t remember what you did yesterday or last year – how can 20 – 40 years from now? Each of us have our own way of dealing with memories. That is OK. I just nudge people to make albums or write down what happened at important events.

What about remembering is important? Remembering helps us to know where we came from. We look to tomorrow for the future through the lens of what we have lived in the past. If we only live in “today” we miss the good and bad lessons from the past. We all have a past that we need to embrace. We need to make peace with it – good and bad. I hope you will remember your journey through life and that those memories will help you be a whole and healthy person today and tomorrow.    


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