Duct Tape for the Soul for Mar. 10, 2014

Your Memory Is Likely A Lie

You don’t recall your childhood accurately. Does that shock you? You either remember the good as more wonderful than it was, or the worst as much more hidious than an objective viewer would have. We all selectively edit our memories. Worse, we distort our memory by slightly embellishing the events each time we recall or tell them. Eventually we have myth and legond, not history!

But it gets worse! You likely don’t even remember last nights dinner precisely. Partly this was due to inattention, and neglect; no one pays much attention to ordinary events. But there’s more at work than that. Your memory is subject to editing by your preconceptions and beliefs. If you’re convinced that your mother-in-law is a terrible cook, her cooking will get downgraded no matter how much others might find it superb!

You think I’m crazy? How many of you have siblings? Do you agree on any aspect of your childhood? Who was the most favored or spoiled? The one picked on by mom? No consensus? Well…you can thank each others selective memory editing for that! We see what we want often, and worse, we remember what we please too! How many people wallow in misery over being treated poorly as a child, when in fact, they had it no worse than most? Lots of craziness comes from such dishonest memory.

Your ability to manipulate your memory also lets you blame others and evade responsibility. You see the extreme of this in convicts, completely unable to remember their terrible crimes. Most of us just fudge a bit, to make ourselves feel better about small things, like our brother getting hosed over some wicked thing we did! An accurate historical recalling would induce some guilt, and who wants that?! Apparently no one!

The problem with all this is disturbing; editing your memory to make things better or worse than they really are, causes you to lose the middle ground, the place of balance, where life’s lessons have real meaning. Wanting sympathy, wanting to feel more special than you deserve isn’t good for your soul! If God is keeping a precise record, you aren’t going to do well, when you show up with your edited version of your life. I’d suggest you work on avoiding that embarrassment! Besides, if you’d be more accurate, you’ll do less arguing with everyone else, why knows you’re lying to yourself about what happened in the past, almost as much as they are!



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