Swamped by Memories
Have you ever had a week where your memories completely overwhelmed you? One of those weeks where you functioned on autopilot, only doing those things you needed to do since your brain is occupied elsewhere?
I did, recently. I’d been working on some issues from my past that seemed to be affecting my future, and I got stuck. For me being stuck means my creativity is affected, and I become hard on myself. My inner critic appears to go into hyperdrive, and I struggle to break free.
During this struggle to break free, I find myself looking for ways to help alleviate the emotional pain and discover the motivation to work again. It’s not easy to ensure that the memories no longer have power but that is the goal.
Some things that have worked are:
1. Don’t fight the memories. If the memories appear to be taking over, let them – if only for a few minutes. They won’t last, and fighting seems to give them more power. Memories with power are the last thing you want.
2. Write them out. Journaling is a good way to release all of the emotion that is attached to memories. Sometimes the very act of writing can change your brain to help you heal.
3. Find a place of non-judgement. Memories are something in our past that can have an effect on the future. There is nothing we can do to change them. Judgment, i.e. good vs. bad, can give power to memories and will affect your emotions. Accept the memory just as it is, and you can get past it.
4. Find a trusted person to share the memory. Finding that person is more difficult than it would seem because not every person is capable of handling the more difficult memories. And, not every person is someone to be trusted. At times, seeking a therapist may be the best option, and they have the training to help you process your past.
5. If you are a creative, set a goal and stick to it. During the middle of stuckness, setting a goal of a 15-minute free write or 500 words each day, regardless of the content will help keep your creative juices flowing. Sticking with the habit in spite of where your emotional life will help keep your inner critics at bay.
Freeing ourselves from old, painful memories is possible, though most likely difficult. A lot of things can get in the way of your creative life, and just life in general, but you can overcome to find healing. It takes time and patience, and often a bit of help.
Healing is just another step in finding your intentional life.
For other tips on living an intentional life, check out the rest of my posts.