Post 85 Memories Don’t Always Tell the Truth

We all remember things that happened in our lives, but do we always remember them correctly?  Some people do believe they remember every detail of something that happened, but the truth is no matter how much you do remember some details can be quite different from what happened.

I always thought I had a very good memory, but I know I don’t for certain details that happened in my life, or things that happened around me.  Oh, I would like to think that my memory is great, and I sure would like to believe that if I saw a crime being committed that my brain would process it 100% accurately. You see when someone sees a crime being committed, or even if a crime is being committed to them or someone they care about…many times the accuracy of what they saw is/was wrong.  An example…police ask for details.  People get the height wrong, the weight wrong, the color of one’s skin wrong, the shape of their face wrong, what they were wearing, what they were driving, and the color of the vehicle…and a thousand other details.  Who was there, where exactly were they, and what were those people doing?  What happened before and after the incident? Who called the police and so on.  Same with car accidents as well and a lot of other things.  We all see something and sometimes it is right…but what if what we think we saw was wrong?  Is our memory always right?  NO!!!

My memory is like a floppy disk.  You put things on it, but when you go back maybe you don’t recognize who someone was, or what or why you put that on the floppy disc in the first place. You take a picture, let’s say as a child, these people were your “best” friends then possibly or people that you played with, but then you grow up, haven’t seen them in years, and sometimes can’t even remember their names.  What happened to your memory?

Another thing is family.  You love your family, but maybe something happened when you were a child and you blocked it out for whatever reason.  When you think about it now it is possible that you did not remember it correctly.  I have seen several family members whom all explained the same incident, but when it came to remembering they all remember it differently and all of them thought their version was correct. 

Past is a funny thing, isn’t it?  We all go through them but even then the people we knew, the things we did, and the things we didn’t do in life….we might see other than what they were or what happened, or what we believed them to be.  Memories can be washed away over time to just holding onto what we wished would happen, or we blame others for what went on without knowing the real truth.  We might even exaggerate the details (not on purpose), but truly believe something happened that maybe never happened at all.  (abuse is one thing that people can remember wrong as well).  I am not saying someone was not abused, or that they felt they were abused, or even the child that felt they weren’t loved when in fact they were greatly loved.  It was their perspective and perspectives can be wrong. 

No one walks in anyone else’s shoes.  Things that happened to me you have no idea and even if you had some idea you will never know the things I went through or the choices I made, and you could never truly know if my remembrance of them is right or not.  You might see a small portion of something but the details you don’t know are the ifs, buts, and whys. We all have our own stories, what we believe went on in our lives, how it happened, why people love us or hate us, and so on.  The thing is in the details and our details are not “always” 100% accurate.  I know that if I saw a crime I would want to be sure of what I saw for I would never want someone to go to jail if my memory lacked the truth of the details. 

Sometimes I am amazed how even in TV shows a cop asks where were you on such and such a day and time, what you eat, what you were wearing, and so on.  Well, unless it was a special event that happened in my life I most likely would not remember those things.  Geeze, does everyone remember what they did, where they were, what they were wearing, where they went at what time even three weeks ago? My memory just doesn’t grasp that.  The older one gets in life, does what you did, let’s say, on Jan 6th, 1955 matter that you remember every detail of that day? What was the weather like, and whom you spent the day with?  Do you even remember the details of everything on that day unless it was a really special day in your life?

“My memory is like a library of VHS tapes, (I know most people don’t use any more), but you can record over them.  I’m sure in my mind that the very things I thought happened might have happened but not always in the way I presumed they did…my tape was recorded over.  Not that I would ever want it to, but memories can be faulty even at best. 

What then happens when we have horrible dreams and flashbacks of things we thought happened a specific way in our life?   If only each day people would keep a journal as to what they did each day, where they went, who they were with, and so on.  It sure would be easier to recall something if we did that, but few do this.  Who did you spend the day with, and what happened that day? Now, would be a good time to start a journal.  Still might not be 100% correct, but a lot easier for you to dig for details of who, what, when, where, and why!

 Even the best of memories can forget all the details. I know that big events like when President Kennedy was killed, or 911 happened…most people, at least know where they were or what they were doing when they found out.  I do, but even then, I do not remember every detail of either day…but I can tell you where I was on that day, and how I felt.  What I wore, where I sat, the little details of the things on that day…nope!

Our recollections of details can get screwed up and we can believe a lie just as easily as we can believe the truth. I know that in my memory I can remember things about when I was a child, but maybe don’t remember something 5 minutes ago.  Example:  Why did I decide to get up and go to another room for something and forget what I went to get!!!

Our minds can also play tricks on us, and we can bring to mind all the while being self-centered.  I know my mind is good, what I believe in, but the little things that don’t matter why would I want to keep even more tucked away in my mind?  I know things are there but really what purpose is there to remember every detail…especially if the memory would bring more pain to me or others? In each of our minds is a storehouse of memories that are good and also bad.  I don’t want to go around, any longer, remembering the bad ones.  I can’t change my past and neither can you.  I have also learned that hating people hurt me way more than the person I felt I hated.  It gives them power over my mind and I am not willing to allow that anymore.  I choose to forgive and even if they don’t care if I forgave them or not, I care.  I needed peace in my life and holding onto hate didn’t give it to me.  I choose to put those memories in a file and hit the delete button.  There is not such thing as a perfect memory.  You might have a good memory, be well educated, and have an exceptional mind….but even you can err on the side of memories. 

Try something…whatever you are doing today, who you are with, where you go, what you are wearing, what color is your car and is it clean or dirty, what is in your car, what is in your house, what did you eat and at what time of the day, how you feel, and every detail you are going through today.  Write it down all of it.  Now put it in an envelope and on the outside of the envelope write the date put it up for a year or two and just look at the date and write down again what you believe happened that particular day.  Now open it up and see how good your memory is.  Don’t cheat.  Maybe today is a special day for you like the birth of a child, a new job, a marriage, etc….but even those things you can still have a faulty memory. 

Now about the triggers that bring up certain memories…like a person you felt uneasy around, a smell, a taste, or a place.  We all have triggers even if we don’t realize it.  When you get one…stop…think why that would come up right now.  What do you want to do about that feeling?  What can you do?  Easier to deal with each emotion when they come up than have a glitch in your get-a-long.  The best advice is to stop trying to remember the past and live in the now while working on your future.  The past is gone and nothing you do can change it.  You can change your now and you can change your future by what you do now. 


Memories can make it hard to escape the pain of the past.  It did and has for me, and I know it does for millions of others as well.  Some grew up in lives that were very painful, eventful, and many very abusive.  Those memories can haunt your brain and keep you from moving on. There is something we just don’t need to keep replaying in our minds.  

Some people do have pretty good memories.  It can be a blessing or it might not be.  Sometimes the info we remember is because whatever it was meant something to us. Example:  Someone you truly cared for even if you could never be with that person. Then there are the embarrassing moments of life we wish we could forget…but somehow they will pop again and again into our memory. Also, if someone was bullied in school, or elsewhere, they remember that a lot better than the person who never got bullied.  Being bullied is like having open wounds in your heart that don’t seem to get healing even over time.


If only we could all lay aside in our minds the bad stuff that happened over the years and only remember the good stuff.  Yet, all of us have flashbacks at times and a lot of them come at a very inopportune time. Ugly memories intrude into our minds that we need to deal with and let go of.  Don’t give them a lot of time.  You are not that person any longer, and that old memory is in, and from the past. 


So what do we do?  We truly decide to forgive others because it frees us.  Then take the time to forgive yourself.  Now, go on with life.  You might not remember all the details that you thought were accurate…but do you even truly want to?