Why we mustn’t ignore difficult memories

The past, the present and the future can all be demons that sit waiting to attack. The present may seem awful, the future hopeless, but personally it is the past I find hardest to come to terms with.

Our brains are funny things. We have different systems of storing memories even within our short term and long term memories (I’m lucky enough to study Psychology A-level so I know even more details on this topic). This means that memories are not pure; often they will have been re-coded into more processable material by the brain, and can be revisited and changed depending on our thoughts around that memory (also known as interruption).

Ok, so we know that the memory is a complicated thing.. Why does that matter?

Because our brains are so vast in capacity and our memory system is so complicated and wonderful, it also unfortunately means that our long term memory potentially lasts forever.

Memories, both bad and good, can stay with you all your life.
That is why it is so important we face our past and let ourselves calmly reflect on it, so that in due time we will think of it less, even if it is still stored deep in our long term memory somewhere.
If we don’t, it will only make the memory more prominent and demanding to be thought about and revisited.

Essentially, although memories can be pushed down and forgotten about for some period of time (also known as repressing memories), one way or another the memory will submerge, often exaggerated by your thoughts and feelings around that memory.

I’m not saying that allowing yourself to think of difficult times isn’t difficult, because it most certainly is; but I think it is important for people to know why it is that some memories just won’t leave no matter how long we ignore them.

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Hope this made sense, and please do comment if this post was helpful, and/or if you’d like me to do more psychology-based posts.

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4 thoughts on “Why we mustn’t ignore difficult memories

  1. We get where we are, because of what we went through. So, it’s good to remember the path we took – even when the memories are difficult – i guess there’s a fine line between remembering and getting caught up in the past, though. i guess we learn, in time, to find a balance

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    • Yes that is completely true, it is important not to ignore our past to the point where it becomes a problem, but it is also equally as important not to let our past restrain our future. Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment, I really appreciate it. Keep going with your blog too, I really enjoy reading it.

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  2. Often times when a person talks about the pain of their past, people are quick to say “get over it”. When I hear those three words I cringe. As if it’s a light switch a person can shut on and off at will. I am in agreement with you, we must reconcile and learn to cope with those unpleasant things from our past. It is what I hope to accomplish as I write about my own experiences. The future depends on it.

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    • Yes I know, it’s awful isn’t it! If only people understood how hard it was to ‘get over it’ then maybe they could be there to support you and listen instead. I wish you the best of luck, I am also hoping to do the same and blogging is a great way of supporting each other too. Thanks for commenting x

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