A couple of weeks ago I wrote about a couple of negative experiences that happened when I was younger where I learnt some things that have been holding me back ever since. (If you missed it or need a re-cap please go have a read, this will all make much more sense.)
To let go of the negative lessons I have been holding onto I revisited the experiences using self-hypnosis and had a better look at them with the insight and experiences of the adult I am today. I wanted to have another look at what was going on and see what positive lessons I could garner from them and I noticed a really beautiful pattern which I can carry forward to many times in my life.
When bad things happen to me, I have people on my side. My sister sat with me by the side of that pool. My childhood best friend gave me the answers to the math test through the classroom window. Someone has always been there holding my hand and helping me out, whether that’s friends, family or virtual strangers. I see the same pattern repeated in many peoples lives, when the shit hit the fan, the people who love you have got your back. Yet we tend to focus on the negatives and forget the positives all to easily.
Why did I hold onto the lesson that I am not good enough and that people will laugh at you if you fail rather than the lesson that the people around you are on your side?
My first thought was that I was just pessimistic and it was probably only me that did that – those old lessons take some shaking off – but I know from talking to other people, that most of us seem to do that. So I googled it.
It turns out that we humans are programmed to remember bad stuff more easily than good stuff, it’s called negative-bias. Remembering stuff that hurt us or made us feel like we were in danger is what kept us alive throughout our evolution. According to studies the “monkey” brain, or the Amygdala if you want to be sciencey, uses around 2/3rds of its capacity to look out for and store bad stuff and this bad stuff gets processed and stored into long-term memory more quickly than good stuff. That’s why you can be told you are beautiful hundreds of times and not believe it, but one person says your eyes are a bit close together and you never let it go.
Once you’re aware of what is going on you can make the choice to change things. Nothing you can do about biology, but if you make an effort to focus on the good stuff more of it will get stored. Like most things, the more you practice the better you get.
I’m going to get a bit of gratitude practice in right now and say a massive thank you to all those people who have held my hand, wiped my tears and held me up when times have been tough. I love you and I’m truly grateful.