When bad memories echo our past failures

Posted: 13 June, 2012 in motivation, Staying positive
Tags: , , , , ,

How cruelly sweet are the echoes that start,
When memory plays an old tune on the heart.
Eliza Cook

https://i2.wp.com/upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/5/5a/Grand_Canyon.jpg/640px-Grand_Canyon.jpg The Grand Canyon (photo courtesy of Ratte at Wikimedia Commons)

It isn’t always easy to drown out the echoes of our past experiences. We hear the echoes of dreams we once had, echoes of loves we once treasured, echoes of ambition we once believed in, echoes of happiness we were once completely lost in, echoes of sorrow and heartbreak we thought would kill us, echoes of friends we no longer see.  While most people would call these memories, I prefer the word “echoes”, because the feelings, associations and recollections reverberate through our everyday actions and, for some, the response to that echo is as strong today as it was years ago.

I have returned home from a recent holiday more determined than ever to not let those echoes disrupt where I am and what I have to do today.  I still feel the echoes of past failures and they seem to have gotten stronger over the years.  But I’ve realised that the reason they seemed stronger was because, while the original failure has passed, I have kept it alive by repeating the discouraging words that accompanied it any time I felt low or discouraged. And these words really do echo through my head sometimes, very loud and clear.

Anyone who has ever heard an echo will know what I’m talking about here – the reflected sound is an eerily perfect production of what we first put out there.  Sometimes the sound is still clear even after the third or fourth reverberation.  Even when we can’t hear the words anymore the sound still hangs around for a few more repetitions. And what do most of us do when the echo stops?  We shout out something else and spend another minute listening to our own voices talking back to us.

I realise now I have done this for years – kept the echo of some of my more negative experiences going just by keeping the memories reverberating through my head, never letting them fade.

Memories are a way of holding on to the things we love, the things we are, the things we want to be, the people who mattered.  But it sometimes works against us, reminding us of the events and people that hurt us, goals we failed to reach, plans that didn’t pan out, words that were spoken in anger. I’ve listened to the echoes of negative memories for long enough.  I need to stir up the echoes of more positive memories and get them going through my head for a while.

As we near the halfway point of 2012 I’m proud of how far I’ve come this year.  I have stepped out of my comfort zone and am determined to work on something that matters to me for a change.  Each day is mine and I can do what I love.  It’s time to let the old echoes fade away and make space for new memories, ones that will echo in years to come and make me smile with gratitude and appreciation.


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