Researchers go so far as to claim that in certain circumstances, 80% of what we believe to be accurate memories in fact include distortions, deleted information and influences from our upbringing, education, other similar experiences etc
For example, some time ago, a psychiatrist had a patient who believed he was a corpse. He did nothing all day, didn’t eat or work, just sat around believing himself to be a corpse. The psychiatrist tried to convince him he was not a corpse by asking him, “do corpses bleed?”
The patient thought for a moment, then replied:” No, as all bodily functions have closed down, a corpse can’t bleed.” So the psychiatrist picked up a needle and pricked the patient with it. The patient started to bleed. The patient looked amazed and started to bleed. “”Well I’ll be damned,” he said. “Corpses do bleed!”
It’s not what happens that counts, but how we interpret it and respond to it.
I’m reminded of a case study of twins: one of them was a drug addict serving a life sentence in prison, the other was a highly successful businessman, as honest as the day is long, with a wonderful family; a pillar of his community, as the saying goes.
A reporter interviewed each of them. The prisoner said: “I grew up in a poor household in a savage environment. My father was a drunk, who beat us, our mother a drug addict. How could I have turned out any differently than I have?”
The businessman said: “I grew up in a poor household in a savage environment. My father was a drunk, who beat us, our mother a drug addict. How could I have turned out any differently than I have?”
Part of my development has been to try to identify when I distort, delete or generalise information and to try to deal with it in a more straightforward way. It’s hard, particularly when dealing with people or issues I feel strongly about, but I believe it’s worth the try!
Have a great weekend.