How do you create good memories?

I asked my 23 year old daughter “what is the memory that pops up when you think of your childhood?” “you were always irritated“ is the reply I received. Imagine a mother’s disappointment when this is the memory that her daughter has of her childhood.

I have been a therapist for over 15 years. Ones journey as a therapist is as much about the self as it is about the client. As a therapist we heal ourselves first before we can work with our clients.

When I started studying alternate healing my daughter was already in her teens. Our subconscious starts storing memories and images right from the time that we are born. Even when we are still nonverbal, images are constantly getting stored in our subconscious from the moment we open our eyes. Every visual gets stored in the subconscious mind and the words later get attached to the visuals.
The subconscious mind is metaphoric in nature. So when we say something is black as coal or white as snow, we immediately can get an image of these metaphors from our subconscious mind. When the words get attached to the image, it’s the emotional aspect of the verbal which gets attached rather than the words themselves. So memories are being created from birth and the older the memory the deeper it is embedded in our subconscious mind. When we become older, by 6 – 8 years of age, our subconscious mind has already formed indelible impressions and belief systems about ourselves and our environment. These belief systems form the basis of our future behaviours and relationships.
When my daughter spoke about her memory of her childhood,she accessed a file in her subconscious mind which was related to mom+childhood. What she accessed were not specific memories but an overall emotional quality of the memories.
Our right brain is creative, it stores images whereas our left brain is verbal, it stores words. When we experience a shock or a trauma, its difficult for us to recount the incidents in a sequential manner as the images are stored in the right brain and the speech in the left brain. In trauma the connection between the 2 brains gets affected and so its difficult to relate exactly in words the sequence of events, but one can recall images.
When we are having a good time, when we are happy, joyful, feeling safe and secure, the connection between the 2 hemispheres of the brain is functioning well. Our happy state creates a state of safety and the right and left brain are well synchronized with each other.
As I continued my journey in alternate healing, I started healing myself,it created a shift in my beliefs and how I related to my family. My relationship with my daughters changed and I became the ‘go to person’ for all their issues in their adolescence. Today they feel very secure in their knowing that I love them unconditionally.

As parents we live in a fools paradise of believing that we have done the best possible job of parenting and that our children love us, admire us and hope to emulate us when they become parents. Nothing can be further from the truth. One innocent question that I asked my daughter made me realize the impact we create on the impressionable minds of our children.

Its not like we didn’t have any good times when my kids were growing up, we had great times too, as is normal in any family. The negative experiences create a stronger impression on the mind because it activates the fight flight response in the person. And getting back into a state of homeostasis takes time. The effect on the physiology and the psyche is greater when the emotion is stronger. So even if you had 90% good times and 10% bad times, the bad ones will overtake the good ones because they create a deeper impact on the system.

So how can we ensure that the lasting memories we are creating in the lives of those who matter to us are happy. As parents our intent is always good but the action accompanying it seems negative. Why can’t we convey what we want without losing our shit. Because we get triggered. These triggers activate those parts in us that we have not dealt with and need our attention. So when we lose it and lash out at someone, we are no longer in our adult state. We have regressed to a past where we had been unable to fully express our emotions and that split off part of us gets triggered. Even if the event is completely different, what matters is the emotional quality and if that is the same, we get triggered. So if we felt not good enough as a child because we were always being teased by our siblings, when our child gets bad grades, it may trigger a feeling that we are not good enough parents, and when we lash out at the child, we are actually doing what we could not do then.

Its never too late to have a happy childhood.

These words make sense more than ever when we start healing the past and we are able to retrieve the parts of ourself which remain stuck there. We give ourselves an opportunity to feel emotions we could not as children. Feeling belonged, accepted, loved – allow us to let go of the negative judgements we have created of ourselves.

When we accept that we are lovable just as we are, we can give that same permission to our children and our partners. Then even the mundane memories can be beautiful and the journey unforgettable.

Ritu Kabra

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