They Will Come
Sitting at home alone, tapping away at the several devices that surrounded me, television playing in the background as often happens on a Sunday morning. Lonely is not something that I ever am. In fact, my own company is the one that is most preferable to me. My daughter often teases me about being single for so long, living alone for years now and how will that impact my ever entering another live-together relationship.
She is more concerned whether as the years pass will my memories and whatever gadgets that I have be my only daily companion. How will the bad memories affect me? From time to time, she shyly raises questions about some of those memories and is usually surprised by my answer.
Releasing Bad Memories
By now, regular readers know that learning to let go and actually doing so, is a big issue on this blog. So important it is to me that we have a page dedicated to tips, guides, and conversations about letting go. Bad memories are something that most people would love to let go, free themselves of and be done with them. The mind, however, particularly the sub-conscious 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 better situation,” etc.
Ironically, letting go is not what I do when it comes to bad memories. Not at first and not with a fight.
For years the memories and the hurt associated with them caused me much angst, brought out the most aggressive parts of my nature and ruined many relationships. Over time and with aging (I prefer “maturing”), I have come to realize one truth – what you focus on persist, grows larger and takes up more space in your day.
Depression And Bad Memories
Months ago, I shared a frightening statistic with you – the numbers of people in the world who are suffering from depression – 350,000,000 people worldwide. As I sat, alone, doing what comes naturally to me which is writing and improving the experience you have on this blog, a human interest story was on the television. The growing numbers of senior citizens here in Canada suffering from depression and the treatment being offered by one programme to support them.
Funnily, a couple of weeks before, there was a similar programme on dementia and Alzheimer and what another facility was doing to support their residents. By creating memory lanes, having entertainment and even providing food from the 1950’s, this latter facility was helping clients relieve memories. It is their way of helping them cope and not fall into depression.
Still years away from being committed or admitted to a seniors’ residence, as I sat watching these documentaries my thoughts went to how do I really deal with bad memories?
My daughter was at first surprised when she heard what best serves me when it comes to bad memories – not letting them go. Unlike the residents in the home where “back in the day” entertainment and cars, among other things, are part of the setting, 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 – 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 was, and bad memories come 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.
Yesterday, Contributor Clara Brown shared her understanding and experience with emptiness. 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 me and let us together A.C.T.
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