Skip to content

Your cheatin’ memory

May 12, 2011

A Great Idea …

“Memory is not a dutiful scribe that keeps a complete transcript of our experiences, but a sophisticated editor that clips and saves key elements of an experience and then uses these elements to rewrite the story each time we ask to reread it.” (Psychologist Daniel Gilbert in his book, Stumbling on Happiness p.197)

In Other Words …

Our memories are more creative storytellers than faithful historians. This is especially damaging when we shape stories that make ourselves and loved ones into heartless villains or hapless victims. But this same tendency can be a great blessing when we choose to see the good and hopeful stories all around us.

How This Applies to You …

Your life almost surely includes pain and disappointment. The human tendency is to suppose that you don’t measure up. There is some truth to that – but probably not the most important part of the truth. You can rewrite your story to emphasize the good. You can look for lessons learned, projects completed, and relationships built. What part of your life story would you like to rewrite?

To Find Out More …

For an excellent (and free!) program on improving your personal well-being, check out The Personal Journey or Managing Stress at www.arfamilies.org.

For in-depth reading, we recommend Stumbling on Happiness by Daniel Gilbert or Authentic Happiness by Martin E.P. Seligman.

%d bloggers like this: