Thursday, 27 March 2014
Under the influence
I have a natural tendency to forget about experiences that were unpleasant, or at least to remember the experience but forget the negative emotions that went with it. If someone suggests I might have been very upset, I reflect for a second or two and think maybe I was. Maybe.
All those feelings of embarrassment or rage or shame or betrayal that stick in other people's minds evaporate from my own mind very quickly, as if they never occurred in the first place. It's a sort of mental de-cluttering mechanism that clears away stuff that's no use to me.
But whatever I remember or don't remember, those experiences are still a part of me and still affect me in all sorts of ways. For example, things people have said and done to undermine my confidence, perhaps way back in my childhood, can still dent my confidence even now.
However much I talk myself up and tell myself I'm an intelligent, experienced person who should be effortlessly confident in most situations, still there's this undercurrent of past experience that can lead to nagging self-doubt.
Saying you must put the past behind you is a bit like saying you must forget your gender. It's so embedded in your mind that it continues to have repercussions whether you like it or not.
The best thing you can do is stop the past being too much of a nuisance, like an over-energetic dog that keeps leaping all over you. If you can get it to lie quietly in a corner, not bothering you, you're doing well.