I love this question! As children, we’re always thinking about the future - we’re imagining what we’re going to do over summer break, or when we get to the next grade. Then we start imagining what it’s going to be like when we get into high school, and then college, and then when we get our next job, get married, have kids, buy a house, etc. We’re constantly dreaming about the next thing - things that we’ve never done before. But then at some point, we start thinking about our past & using our past (memories) to find evidence of what we’re capable of doing in the future. Our past experiences actually don’t dictate what we are capable of in the future - yet, we decide that they are. We start reflecting back on our past, saying things like, ‘well, I’ve never done that before.’ Believing that we aren’t capable of making change because we’ve never been able to do it. This is especially toxic when it comes to creating better relationships, making behavior changes to our health, or making & spending money. All of our past attempts are merely methods that didn’t work - and they mean nothing about our ability to make lasting change. If we believe with all of our being that we are meant to do the thing, we will be successful. Regardless of what we did in the past.
Every time we make big plans for our lives, or set out to change our habits, our subconscious mind is triggered. Maybe a memory from age five taught us not to put ourselves out there. The pride of the pencil box you made for your mom, you found in the trash later that day. So why now, with that hurt, would you want to take a chance on something new? Sometimes, instead of protecting us, our memories hold us back, based on things that are no longer true. And, if the subconscious feels like big changes aren’t safe, we get resistance which can show up as procrastination or self-sabotage.
Is there a voice we hear that says, “I can’t”? Your voice or that of a bully? The subconscious mind can derail our plans under the guise of “protection”.
Memory is the faculty of the mind by which information is encoded, stored and retrieved. Vital to experiences and related to limbic systems, it is the retention of information over time for purpose of influencing future actions. Memory is not what happened but a prediction of what we think will happen. Memories have the purpose to learn, a prediction of what we think will happen - good and bad. Fear with memory prediction is Fear Conditioning - there for our protection but it sometimes gets in our way.
How are emotions made? Our brain takes in everything and converts into image.
Memory is more than an image – it is much more complex - a Memory Complex that consists of Memory, Feeling, Thought, and Bodily Sensations. As we smell the essential oils, we break apart the memory, then we don't remember or associate the same way with that thought. Normally memory is past, and its purpose is to influence future action.
A recent study states, 1. “Neurobiologists at the University of Toronto have identified a mechanism that allows the brain to recreate vivid sensory experiences from memory, shedding light on how sensory-rich memories are created and stored in our brains. Using smell as a model, the findings offer a novel perspective on how the senses are represented in memory, and could explain why the loss of the ability to smell has become recognized as an early symptom of Alzheimer's disease.”
With bad experiences, our hippocampus converts Short Term into Long Term memory. An implicit, encoded example is, “People don't like me. I should just keep my head down and not connect.” Whereas, an explicit, impaired example would be, “I was bullied.” We can't store memory if we can't process. If we cannot process, store and file, the memory retriggers the amygdala - Fight, Flight, or Freeze.