How to use the past to revive passion and to recover from wounded self worth
By Dr T J Jordan
We all have relationship stories, ranging from a desert of painfully unrequited love to a multifaceted history of exhilarating romantic adventures. We all have stories of temptations denied and temptations embraced.
And we all gather data about ourselves along the way.
Our stories — our narratives about our experiences — are the material from which we construct our sense of self. After all, we are social beings who learn about ourselves first and foremost from others.
And through our interactions with others, we learn about the deepest parts of ourselves.
It is through these interactions with others that we first encounter shame as well as positive value. We learn about our powers to attract others — or not. While we often use our memories to view ourselves in a negative light, we can also learn to use our narratives as fodder for recapturing the best parts of ourselves.
We can learn to retrieve and refurbish our stories to help recreate ourselves — and to recover from our losses.
Our Persistent Memories
While we can’t go back to revise the “facts” of the past, we can begin to understand that we’re almost never objective viewers of our world. We rarely deal in objective facts. Our perceptions are primarily based upon our unique emotional reactions.
And our subjectivity gives us the power to control how we rewrite, reinterpret, and rehearse our narratives.
We can choose to use our cognitive skills to divert attention away from our focus on negative interpretations of ourselves.
In the end, our emotional experiences matter far more than the “facts.” We became who we are today because of the emotional meaning we assigned to events in our lives. We…