Choose The Past You Prefer
He caught pneumonia and it turned into tuberculosis. He was only 6 maybe 7 years old.
(I think I saw this story in The Rise of Superman…)
His family was too poor to pay for “normal” hospital, so they put him in the charity ward.
(This was before penicillin.)
Most of the kids in his ward died. He survived.
And later in life, he remembered that time as one of the best of his life.
He viewed it as an amazing experience. He believed it made him mentally stronger.
His interpretation of the facts was different than we would normally expect.
But there was nothing wrong with his interpretation.
What does that mean for you?
You can rewrite your own history.
Facts Plus Interpretation Equals Memory
Do you find yourself trying to run away from your past, resolve your past, understand your past?
Try something different.
Revise and rewrite your past.
Facts are bare lifeless things devoid of meaning.
They are mere data points.
This person had sex with that person.
Those people no longer live together.
This person got a low score on that test.
That person took a job in another city.
How do we make a memory?
Data plus interpretation.
We take our own personal data points and then we apply to them a veneer of meaning: our own interpretation of the data points.
I am unlovable.
My life is over.
I am too stupid to succeed.
I am no good.
I am a victim.
True, our veneer of meaning does not change the raw facts.
On the other hand, the facts do not require a particular interpretation.
We get to choose our interpretation of the raw data as it applies to us.
You can apply any interpretation to your past that you choose.
Rewrite Your Past By Hacking Your Memory
So, starting right now, you can take every painful moment, every terrible mistake, every aching memory that still throbs with hurt and you can re-imagine them and reinterpret them.
Your past does not have to be painful.
Your memories do not have to be horrible.
Your memories are a combination of raw facts plus your own interpretation of those facts.
If your interpretation of the raw facts prolongs your pain, then change your interpretation.
You cannot change the raw facts.
You can, however, change your interpretation.
We cannot escape our experience of the moment.
Once the stimulus of the moment has ended though, we can go back into our own minds and rewrite the story with our own interpretation of the data.
Why allow that past moment to darken this present moment with pain or melancholy?
Why not paint it in new shades bursting with color and meaning rather than with toxic pain and loss?
You are here now.
You are alive and breathing.
In front of you? A world of opportunity.
Behind you? Raw data plus interpretation.
I don’t know about you, but I’m choosing the interpretation I like best.