Bad memories. Absolutely love this quote about them:
The more you talk about it, rehash it, rethink it, cross analyze it, debate it, respond to it, get paranoid about it, compete with it, complain about it, immortalize it, cry over it, kick it, defame it, stalk it, gossip about it, pray over it, put it down or dissect its motives it continues to rot in your brain. It is dead…over…gone…done. It is time to bury it because it is smelling up your life and no one wants to be near your rotted corpse of memories and decaying attitude. Be the funeral director of your life and bury that thing!” ―
Bad Memories – They Will Come
Here I am at home alone, tapping away on the devices that surround me with the television playing in the background as often happens on a Sunday. Lonely is not something that I ever am. In fact, my own company is the one that is most preferable to me. My daughter would often tease me about being single for so long. Now, I am a widow. Prior to that, however, I have been living alone for years. Even though I married early this year, we lived in different countries. Living alone really impacted my entering a live-together relationship.
My daughter seemed more concerned whether, as the years go by, my memories and my gadgets will be my only daily companion. How would bad memories affect me? From time to time, she would shyly raise questions about some of those memories. She would usually be surprised by my answer.
Releasing Bad Memories
The act of letting go is big with me. It has been important to me for years now. So much so, that I dedicated pages of my previous blogs to tips, guides, and conversations on the topic.
Bad memories are something that most people would love to let go, free themselves from and be done with them. The mind, however, particularly the subconscious mind does not erase bad memories that easily. It actually stores every memory without labelling them. We are the ones that do that – add labels such as “bad memories,” “awesome day,” “could have been a better situation,” etc.
Ironically, letting go is not what I did when it came to bad memories. Not at first and not without a fight.
For years the memories and the hurt associated with them caused me much angst. They brought out the most aggressive parts of my nature and ruined many relationships. Over time and with ageing (I prefer “maturing”), I came to realize one truth – what you focus on only grows larger and takes up more space in your day.
Depression Among Us
Years ago, I shared a frightening statistic that the number of people in the world suffering from depression was close to 350,000,000. The number seems to have changed with time. Check here for the latest.
As I sit, alone, doing what comes naturally to me which is writing, human interest stories appear on the television on this very topic. It is a situation that has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic as more and more of us are in isolation.
Senior citizens who are grandparents are especially hard hit by this as they are tucked away in facilities or alone at home with little to no physical outside contact.
Still, years away from being committed or admitted to a seniors’ residence, as I watched these stories, my thoughts went to how do I really deal with bad memories?
My daughter was at first surprised when she heard that best serves me when it comes to bad memories – was not letting them go. When it comes to all my memories I sit with them. Those that bring a smile to my face are very special and usually make my moment, or longer, so much sweeter.
The A.C.T. Approach ©
However, the bad memories are some of my best acting instructors. What do I mean by that? Do I get into role-playing when bad memories visit with me?
Many people fall into depression – close to 350,000,000 of them – with certain memories. Their minds will not release them and truth be told, it will not. After years of “faking it” when it comes to the most hurtful memories of mine, and failing to “make it,” or get to a place of peace with bad memories, I came up with a new strategy. It is one that I am sharing with you – not to replace any psychological treatment you might be benefitting from or that you are actually receiving.
My strategy is meant to support you, especially on those Sunday afternoons when, sitting alone at home as I am, and bad memories come to take the seat next to you.
It is a fairly simple strategy and one that I have named the A.C.T. Approach © as it does need some acting on your part. Not faking but actively erasing the mind’s tape when it comes to bad memories.
Here are the steps when the mind replays the tapes of things that lead you into feeling sorry for yourself, depressed and anxious about life. Feel free to download and print or share:
Assess – your role, your reactions and your responses in the drama, situation and challenge that this memory has brought back up. Instead of running from the memory or trying to block it, hit the replay button. Loop it as you assess your R’s (role, reaction, response) in every part of the drama. Do so without judgement – that is key – just with a desire to understand once and for all.
Clarify – this is something that many either have no time or patience to do. Ignorance is not bliss – it is ignorant and that does not help to erase bad memories. Make sure you have a clear understanding of what really happened. There are three sides to every story: His/Her’s, Yours and the Truth. Read every side.
Turn – the table or the tide on the story. Write a new script. In this new script, create a role for “The Best You.” Drop the ‘players’ from the script and include co-creators of the best version of you instead. Leave room for God/Source or if you prefer, “the magic” to happen. What is most important, do not end this new story. There is no ending to life. “To Be Continued” is how you will close this chapter.
This is one way that I have learned to deal with bad memories that would leave me empty, wasted on an emotional heap that I no longer wish to climb. If that is where you are – lying on top of that heap in pieces – then please make contact with us and let us together A.C.T.
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Peace, Love and Wellness,