Memory Clusters and How We Store Memories
In this weeks blog we will explore how we store information through our senses and place meanings on our experiences.
Many years ago I studied NLP (Neuro Linguistic Programming) which is an approach to communication, personal development and psychotherapy, created by Richard Bandler and John Grindler. Learning about NLP, helped me understand the way the mind works, how we store and retrieve information and how we communicate.
The mind is amazing. It’s a storehouse of information which we filter. We are judge new experiences through an old lens. We distort, delete and generalise experiences, based on what has happened in previous events in our lives. We may remember these as blueprints which we experience through our senses. Predicting how something will end, even when we have no evidence, means we replay the old movie which is similar in some way to the new experience. We judge our experiences through comparison with the record we already have, our past experiences influence how we react to others and the world around us.
We may get things confused and what is actually happening to us may not be processed and we jump into default mode, where we are basing current experiences on similar ones experienced in the past. It will be helpful to note when you find yourself doing this and to question are you reacting to a new experience with a new response – or are you on auto pilot and responding in the old way?
Our storehouse of sensory information
Visual (what we see outwardly, including how someone may look at us)
Auditory (what we hear, including sounds, the words we hear and the way words are spoken by others, including tone and pitch)
Kinaesthetic (what we feel internally inside our bodies, or externally via touch, including the texture of something and level of pressure felt physically)
Deletion: When we delete information, we may be paying attention only to certain aspects of a situation and wipe out facts overlooking, ignoring and omitting sensory information coming into us. We edit our current reality in this way as there is so much information coming to us. If we didn’t delete, we would experience too much sensory stimulation (information overload).
Distortion: It’s easy to misrepresent reality. What is actually happening in an experience can be distorted and we can perceive things incorrectly. We distort, creating imaginary futures which limit us in a negative way.
Generalisation: We make up and form our beliefs based solely on one or two experiences. We absorb information and make assumptions about what the information means, comparing it to the information we have already stored. Sometimes our assumptions are incorrect.
Use these questions to reveal what you may be distorting, generalising and deleting, as you process information in connection with your mother or other significant relationship
What aspects of your relationship do you delete? E.g. perhaps your mother looks after your children or picks your dry cleaning up, but doesn’t say “I love you”. Many mothers show their love through acts of service such as cooking for you, running errands and keeping a clean and tidy home. Spend time noticing what your mother does for you now or did for you in childhood which indicates how much she cares for you.
How do you distort information you are receiving in your relationship with your mother? E.g. your mother wants to go away with friends and does not invite you or tell you what she is doing until after the event. Do you feel rejected or pleased for her?
When do you generalise negatively about your relationship with your mother? E.g. ‘‘she will never change’’, ‘‘she will always let me down’’, ‘‘she isn’t worth it’’ etc
Becoming aware as to what you delete, distort and generalise will not only improve your relationship with others, having this self awareness will also improve how you relate to yourself and how you show up in the world.
If you would like any further help and support in managing your relationships in general my first book Find YOU, Find LOVE will aid you. If it's the relationship with your mother you want to improve or come to terms with then please do check out 'Mothers and Daughters: The guide to understanding and transforming the relationship with your mother'