The Organization of Memory: The Creation of a Head Heart
Sometimes we forget the past and at other times we distort it; some disturbing memories haunt us for years. Yet we also rely on memory to perform an astonishing variety of tasks in our everyday lives.
~ Daniel Schacter, The Seven Sins of Memory: How the Mind Forgets and Remembers, p. 1
The complex and mysterious brain is wired, starting in the womb, to recognize physical and emotional pain, record it to memory, and motivate our actions and reactions to avoid that pain again. This organization of memory works well with hot stoves and lions but it gets in the way of day-to-day living by putting us into panic and avoidance when the current experience has nothing to do with hot stoves or lions. So much of our reactions and thinking depends on the heart interacting with our head. The wiring in the womb and from experiences during childhood influenced the ways our head thinks we can protect our heart.
It’s not a perfect world, not every parent is full of wisdom on child rearing. I’ve met more confused parents than those who really believe they know what they’re doing. We have children and then we respond to them the way we were wired from the womb and from our experiences growing up. We’re surprised at what we thought we knew about how it would look and then our kids surprise us with questions we can’t answer, broken bones, or illnesses we can’t repair. Our frustrations seep into the room as we react to our fears and insecurities. We all do this, no matter how much we intend life to be sunshine and butterflies.
Those who parent in direct response to their difficult childhoods often unconsciously train their children to survive in similar ways or completely miss important details for the Real world. Adult children of narcissistic parents often raise children who don’t know how to nurture. Others who were children of angry parents rarely raise their voice to their kids and those kids don’t know how to handle the ups and downs of the real world and often can’t stand up for themselves. Some who had parents who were absent or didn’t provide enough love then overindulge their children, spoiling so the world only revolves around them because the parents were afraid of being too hard.
Parents overcompensate as they focus on what they believe was missing from their childhood or what they believe is wrong with themselves. No matter what, most adults have something or other they wish their parents would have done differently and have formed patterns of behavior and beliefs they wish they could change but don’t know how. Either way, we all walk out into the world as adults wishing for something to be different and find ourselves wondering why it’s just not what we hoped for, puzzled at the outcomes.
If there is a way of being, a learned response or reaction that was passed on from your parents you wish to change, a style of behavior or interpretation you would like to tweak, “Real You. Real Success” is for you. It’s designed to help redesign these patterns and often unconscious habits we’ve learned along the way.
It’s a way to celebrate the astonishing tasks we accomplish every day; even those set up to protect the heart.
I use this process every day to continually check in on how I’m being human and not perfect. To notice how my head is protecting my heart, their dance in my body with my reactions and interactions in the world. I’ve coached hundreds of others to use this system and we’ve all seen results. If you have the journey down perfectly, then maybe this is something you can use to help others to find their Real Self. But really—don’t EVEN try to tell me you’ve got it all down and that you are Real and perfect all the time!
From “Real You. Real Success” the book. Coming soon!