Did you ever stop to consider we change the past all the time. It seems to me the further in the past the more our memory of an event is changed. My theory. As we change and grow over time, we – as the person remembering – are different.
Sometimes it’s downright hilarious – especially to hear a group talking together about a past event. You have to wonder if they were all at the same place. Families are stars of this show.
If I did or said something that I, at the time, labeled bad, then as I reflect back on that weeks, months, years, decades later I will often soften my role or totally and completely remember it wrong. If originally I was the villain, as the years pass, I might actual become the victim in my retelling. Or, something that was ok, not great, becomes the most wonderful experience of my life. You should have been there. To the outside, impartial observer it might appear I wasn’t. My mind has so changed the facts that my memory has no relation at all to what actually happened.
The psychologists tell us this is a sort of protection or defense mechanism. We paint the past as we had hoped it would be. Not as it was. This often comes into play when we are riddled with guilt or shame. We completely change the facts in our minds so that we are exonerated.
Mark Twain says: “A clear conscience is the sure sign of a bad memory.” Funny and probably true. It can also be a sure sign of a changed memory.
So, what difference does it all make? If the original villain becomes a victim in his memory, then he has automatically turned the original victim into a villain. And, if he is very convincing in his retelling, the original victim is twice harmed.
We’ve all made mistakes or exercised poor judgment. If you want don’t want to change the past, try a large dose of self love and self forgiveness. It works every time.