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Friday, June 19, 2015

Selective Memory

Good Times

  • Noun:  (euphemistic) an ability to remember some facts while apparently forgetting others, especially when they are inconvenient    We seem to have a selective memory for the best bits of the past.
  • It appears that he has a selective boomers with selective memories about the sixties
If an experience in life is normal (whatever normal means) our brain will have a way of blocking the negative, and perhaps even glamorizing the positive aspects of the experience.  By the way this is not a bad thing unless you take it to the extreme of trying to duplicate the experience because of how you remember that it happened.

  • Example:  Your first marriage ended up in divorce after 8 years.  Twelve years later you run into your ex at a high school reunion, and he or she still looks nice.  Your brain starts to analyze the marriage experience. But only brings up the good times of that part in your life.  Next thing you know you are texting each other following the reunion.  Perhaps you even dare to go on dates.  As most people courting or being courted, both parties or putting their best foot forward, and being extra nice.
  • On the basis of the courting experience and positive memories you both agree to move in together and forsake all others or worst yet, you propose marriage. Within one to six months (a year at most), the same negatives that broke up the marriage before start to creep into the relationship.  It’s at this point that the brain reminds you of the negatives of the previous experience.
The same can be said about a business experience that worked well but you eventually got out of.  You will remember the positives, but if you push your brain it will remind you of the negatives that you most likely would rather forget.

Selective memory is all around us.  Job experiences, high school, college, friendships, misguided love infatuations, vacations, relatives, investments, growing up, even and perhaps especially relationship with our parents through the years.

I’ve met people that dislike their father or mother or both so much that they have nothing positive to say about the experience with them.  Yet a much larger percentage of people forgive their parent’s short comings because after all, they are or were human beings that had imperfect lives like everyone else. 

I am very much aware of human failings, but I am so grateful for my parents, that I would never disrespect their memories by focusing on the negatives in their lives.  Whatever shortcomings they may have had, I couldn’t have asked for better parents.  This, in my life, is the one place where I fully embrace selective memory.  The best is yet to come……….

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