I recalled this week a conversation I had with a friend years ago. We were discussing a potential drug that could erase your memory and whilst we agreed this could be hugely beneficial for people that had suffered severe trauma or witnessed horrific events in their lives, there was a catch. If you took the drug it erased ALL your memories not just isolated ones. With our memories and past experiences making up so much of who we are today, surely to lose all these would completely change the person we experience as ourselves.
Every day, people encounter identical circumstances and yet we can feel and react so differently. And whilst we can empathise and offer support and try and understand, we cannot ever really feel what another person is feeling. How often do two people look at the same picture and not see what the other person sees. These individual feelings and responses produce different memories and therefore project different future experiences. We take so much from our past either consciously or unconsciously and try to fit it into our present, in order to create a better future.
So, what makes some people resilient and other people remain in a continual state of irritation and confusion? Both groups of people have experienced highs and lows in their lives, but their perceptions and responses have been different. Perhaps the resilient people have just conditioned themselves and formed habits to automatically get back up regardless of how often or how hard they fall.
Perhaps the confused and irritated people have not been able to overcome things, carrying and adding to these burdens their whole life, and making it increasingly difficult to move forward. This would surely explain a lack of confidence and feelings of being ‘trapped’ or ‘stuck’.
Maybe resilient people have worked out how to take the positives from their memories and experiences channelling them into creating better versions of themselves, the people we see them as today. Are they more open to association with other resilient people? We often call them inspirational, yet I believe we all have a story and we all have the power to inspire.
Albert Einstein said, ‘Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.’
We all have stuff in our lives and we all make mistakes and as long as we live, we will continue to make mistakes. However, we can choose each time what we will take out of the experience. Often there will be a cross over between a state of ‘resilience’ and ‘irritated and confused’, as we navigate our way through to one final camp or the other.
We are all on our own journey and there are too many success stories to dismiss the fact that ‘our past is not our future’. There are too many rags to riches stories and too many people that have risen like the phoenix from what appeared to be insurmountable circumstances. Perhaps it is true that tough times really make us stronger, after all if they don’t then what does.
While flicking through some articles recently I came across this question: ‘If someone you loved was killed but you could create a copy of them that was perfect right down to the atomic level, would they be the same person, and would you love them just as much?’ I couldn’t help thinking that it is the memories we have and create with people that make us love them the way we do. It is the way they live their life as a result of their experiences that we admire and appreciate in them. And it is the characteristics of these people that make us smile and feel good when we think about them. It is these memories that can bring tears to our eyes and an intense and overwhelming love in our hearts.
I read once ‘It is better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all’. We will all remember events and people in our own way and they will all be different. Our memories are more precious and more powerful than we realise. They can fuel us on to do things we never imagined and become people we only ever dreamt of being.
Thinking of you and remembering you always my gorgeous Benny.