Every experience you have creates memories. Both good and bad events are recorded by your mind. Your memories of the past have an impact on how you deal with today and tomorrow.
Everyone has an inclination to be selective about which memories they recall most often. Unfortunately, bad memories can get more attention than good ones. This happens when you lament about the past. You fixate on what you could have, should have, or would have done differently.
Focusing on these negative memories taints your perception. There is a tendency to project problems from the past into the future. Because of your previous experience, you develop a fear of reoccurrence.
So rather than being a learning experience, your bad memories become an anchor which limits your growth and pollutes your future. Bad memories shouldn’t be ignored, but they should be kept in their proper perspective. Just because something bad has happened doesn’t mean it will automatically happen again.
However, some people subconsciously repeat the same behavior that caused problems in the past. This validates their fear of the future. They will point to the same recurring results as proof that their concerns are valid. This process deeply reinforces bad memories, causing one’s outlook to become habitually negative.
Bad memories from childhood have the ability to haunt you for a lifetime. Your early experiences are significant, especially the bad ones. Escaping the impact of these memories can be a daunting task. These recollections have an uncanny knack of burrowing into the deep recesses of your mind. They then seem to force their way to the surface on a regular basis.
Bad memories are empowered when you chose them over good memories. This decision is one you have control over. Whether you believe this or not is up to you. If you feel there’s nothing you can do to impact your memory choices, you are enabling bad memories to continually dominate your thinking process.
Bad memories cause bad feelings. They transport you back to the past, robbing your enjoyment of the present. You feel as if moving forward in life is a real struggle and begin to doubt whether it’s even possible at all.
Bad experiences should be a learning opportunity, not a prison sentence. You can take control of your brain and consciously decide to start selecting good memories. This process generates positive emotions which in turn shape your reality.
When you feel good, your attitude improves. A good attitude attracts positive circumstances and people into your life. This is a proven concept that benefits those who believe in it and utilize it.
Whenever you become fixated on negative memories, try this strategy to shift your awareness to positive ones. Acknowledge the bad memories as being from the past. As such they have no innate power to infect the present. It’s OK to let them go by cutting them free.
Next, think about positive experiences from your past. Recreate the happy feelings they generated. Immerse yourself in the good memories. Your outlook will begin to improve as you shift your mental focus.
Whenever you find yourself selecting bad memories over good ones, repeat the previous steps. This is an ongoing process as bad memories are continuously trying to surface. It takes effort and vigilance, but the resulting improvement in how you feel is well worth it.
You have the ability to pick which memories to focus on, so why not select pleasant ones. It’s not hard to accomplish, you just have to change your habits. There’s no need to keep suffering.
NOW AVAILABLE: "Dare to Live Without Limits," the book. Visit www.BryanGolden.com or your bookstore. Bryan is a management consultant, motivational speaker, author, and adjunct professor. E-mail Bryan at
or write him c/o this paper. 2013 Bryan Golden