Our memory is often flawed when we think back on our actions. Our memory can often work to our benefit and justify our feelings and actions to protect our self-concept. While this benefits us, it harms our own reality and relationships.
We often think of memory as a filing cabinet in our brains; we can’t always locate the memory, but it’s locked away in whole. Like a picture that fades over time but is still an accurate representation of what happened. This is not the case however. Our memory tends to warp the actual experiences to our self-concept’s advantage. Our memory plays tricks on us by not remembering the entire event. The problem with this is that when we try to recall an event, our brain can fill in the gaps, reconstituting the memory, which can then alter the way we remember the events.
When our memory plays tricks on us and reconstitutes these memories it pulls from background information from other memories, stories our friends have told us, photographs, home movies, dreams, and even films and television shows that we’re seen in the past.
A recent study asked participants to read stories about two roommates and then to write either a letter of recommendation or a letter of complaint about one of the roommates. The study showed that many of the participants embellished their letters with details that were never in the original stories they read. After they wrote their letters, they were asked to recall the original stories to the best of their ability. The participants forgot many of the details from the stories that conflicted with what they had written in their letters.
We all believe that our memories are accurate and that it’s the other individuals that have remembered incorrectly. It’s when this happens that relationships can become contentious. Studies have shown that memories are distorted in a self-enhancing direction in all sorts of ways. When our memory plays tricks on us, it can be hard to accept that what we are doing is wrong and that we need help.
Here at Eagle Ranch Academy we can help individuals understand their pasts and help them accept responsibility of their past actions.