High sensitivity: the effect of negative memories on highly sensitive persons (+ exercise)

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High sensitivity
Dealing with emotions in a balanced way is not always easy: that applies to everyone. In highly sensitive people, emotions often come a bit faster, are more intense and can linger a bit longer than with others. Highly sensitive people often tend to be impatient and critical of themselves. In addition, we put an extra burden on ourselves when we unconsciously think that we can or should have a handle on everything.

When we are faced with something difficult or painful, we may feel that something is not quite right with us.

We can steer a lot, but there are also plenty of situations over which we have no control. The fact is that all kinds of unexpected circumstances, both personal and social, have their influence. Vulnerability is part of human life. We cannot prevent that. Everyone goes through difficult times. One also has to deal with more than the other. Manufacturability is an illusion. The tension between commitment and accepting imperfection is one of the challenges we all face.

“Life is rarely as it is supposed to be, it is what it is, the way you deal with it – that makes all the difference,” said American psychologist Virginia Satir.

The effect of negative memories

Do you ever wonder what the effect of your negative memories is on your current state of mind? Think of an unhappy memory that triggers negative feelings in you. Wouldn’t it be nice to neutralize that negative effect or turn it into something positive? Painful memories cause inner stress. They affect you physically and emotionally. It affects the balance in your energy field. They negatively affect your mood and behavior. After all, what bothers us in the present is often connected with an unconscious memory or is activated by it. Many repetitive problems or fixed attitudes and limiting beliefs are related to this. Think of those problems as messages on the road to recovery.

Removing old blocking elements from your present gives you new space and life force. You can change that limiting effect of your memories and transform it into positive energy. When you heal one painful memory, it often has a neutralizing influence on other memories that are associated with it.

The influence of unconscious intentions

Difficult memories often trigger unconscious intentions that sabotage your conscious intentions. Precisely because they are unconscious they can undermine the change you want. Aligning those unconscious intentions with your conscious intentions is therefore important for your happiness. Use the following exercise to change negative memories. Give yourself this healing attention. It is a simple but powerful tool to release emotional ballast.

Why a memory sticks

You often think that your memories are unchanging. That is not true. You have stored a memory with the charge and intensity with which you experienced it. That charge can last for many years. Even though you have subsequently experienced all kinds of positive experiences that should actually cause the intensity to decrease, you often unconsciously hold on to outdated beliefs and emotions that a past experience has evoked. In some cases you also renew your vision, but in other cases you find it difficult to allow for positive change, so you get stuck in something old. Unless you consciously notice that your conclusions from a past experience hinder your development.

And you do something about it, as for example with the exercise below. This is how you bring out your memory; in light of your current viewpoints and qualities. Also remember that you have good memories of which you can allow more nourishing energy. When such a pleasant memory comes up and you let the feelings back in, it strengthens your energy in the present.

Exercise: Heal your heart

1. Relax your body and calm your mind by taking a few deep breaths in and out. Place your hands on your stomach, feel your feet on the floor and follow your breathing for a moment.

2. Recall an event from your past that still makes you feel difficult when you think about it. Relive the event as if it were a movie you are watching. Notice the emotions you associate with it. Feel these emotions as you continue to breathe calmly and deeply. Relive this experience as if you were watching a movie and then freeze it with a movie image that most characterizes the event. An image that also contains the negative feeling that you associate with it. Note what you learned from the event, or what your conclusion was from this experience. Frame this still image in your mind.

3. Then extract all the color from this still image until it is a black and white photo. Then you reduce the image. Then send it away. As the image gets further away, you see it getting smaller and smaller, until it disappears completely. You then only see a clear blue sky in front of you. Breathe in and out deeply a few times. And feel how all the negative images disappear from your entire energy system. Consciously give yourself permission to let it go. Say, “I let go of all unhealthy beliefs and complaints associated with my memory.” Breathe them out, let them go.

4. Then imagine that you are the director of your own film. You are going to change the negative movie (that you just watched) so that it becomes a positive memory that makes you feel good. Give yourself permission to do whatever you want with this remembrance film. Be creative and make something you feel comfortable with. When you’re done with that, keep looking at the new images that completely erase the old feelings. Enlarge and enrich all the images, make them colorful and bright. Turn up the volume of the feeling in your imagination until you experience a physical sensation in your heart.

5. Then bring closer to the most positive image of your new memory movie and imagine yourself stepping into it. Experience the positive feelings associated with this new image. Take a moment to enjoy it. Keep breathing calmly and deeply. Place one hand on your heart and the other on your stomach. Let love and light flow through all your memories. Stay with it as long as you want. Then come back to the present moment. Open your eyes and move a little. Write something about this experience.

The above exercise is an excerpt from the Workbook High Sensitivity & Mindfulness  by Carolina Bont.

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