By Nancy S Buck, PhD, RN
The past is a funny thing. If it weren’t for our past, none of us would be who we are today. At the same time, we have no ability to change the past. Don’t believe me? Try and change what you had for lunch yesterday. You might decide to change what you’re going to have for lunch today based on your lunch experience of yesterday but no matter how hard you try, you cannot change what you ate yesterday.
The past is only what you choose to remember if you even choose to remember it. And even when you choose to remember it, can you be sure your memory is correct and accurate? Ever go back to the home where you were raised and take a look at that big hill you use to sled down as a child? Ever been surprised at how little that “big” hill actually is?
For some people, the act of remembering and memories seems to be a mysterious, lost category in their brains. There are more than a few people who complain that they have no memories from their childhood. For some of these people, they are convinced this indicates sad, bad and harmful experiences they are trying to repress or suppress (leftover legacy of Freudian thinking).
How can you know what you don’t know? Your brain may very well be acting to protect you from painful memories. It’s also possible your brain is busy helping you with more important things in the here and now rather than sorting through memories from your past.
Today can be the day to change how you cultivate your relationship with your past to benefit your Mental Health & Happiness. Rather than focusing your thoughts on the painful, unhappy, hurtful experiences of yesterday, why not reflect on memories or stories that delight, inspire or lift your spirits?
Were you told stories from your past that reveal your unique qualities? In what ways were you special? Who were the people who found you amazing and worth celebrating? How did they do it? In what ways did the person you were in your past positively contribute to the person you are today?
Amazingly humans have the unique ability to choose their thoughts. Perhaps you take this for granted because you can easily stop thinking about today’s weather and begin thinking about your dinner menu or your vacation plans, or the color blue, or your age, or you painful knee. But make no mistake. This is your own personal magic!
If you find yourself feeling trapped in your painful past memories, change your thoughts and change your Mental Health & Happiness. You possess this magical power.