Rushing into the arms of the past

By Denise Turney

Pic by Tony Atkin – Wikimedia Commons

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever looked at a book title, movie trailer or t-shirt slogan and instantly have a word or phrase pop into your head? Psychologists refer to this as “association.” More specifically, association is a “general psychological principle linked with the phenomena of recollection or memory.”

“The principle originally stated that the act of remembering or recalling any past experience would also bring to the fore other events or experiences that had become related, in one or more specific ways, to the experience being remembered,” as reported in Encyclopedia Britannica. The definition continues with, “Over time the application of this principle was expanded to cover almost everything that could happen in mental life except original sensations. As a result, association became a theoretical view embracing the whole of psychology.”

Being that our brains automatically start searching for past events, colors, feelings, etc. when we enter new situations, travel to new areas or meet new people, it could be highly likely that we never have a completely “new” experience. Those are the good situations.

Yet, there are some of us who are so attached to the past that we refuse to give romantic relationships, office friendships or relationships with people from certain backgrounds a chance. We do this in face of the fact that we know not everyone treats us the same. We do this in face of the fact that we know that we’ve changed as we’ve continued to grow.

Before we know it, decades have past and, although we may have traveled to other countries and met hundreds of people from an array of different backgrounds, we return to treating ourselves and others the way we did 20 to 30 years ago when we struggled through the breakup for a romantic relationship. If we’re not careful, we could start accepting old lies and beliefs as truth once again. We could also start engaging in old, destructive behaviors.

This causes life to feel as if it’s going around in a wide, sweeping circle, as if all we’re doing is repeating old experiences. It’s no wonder that some of us start feeling bored and discouraged with life. For this reason, we should do a self-check several times a year, at best. We should monitor how we respond to old stimuli (i.e. a picture of an ex-spouse, seeing a former classmate we once had issues with).

Signs that we are not rushing back to the past include visiting home, speaking with people we knew in the past and not feeling jealous or angry or sad (a sign that we could be  missing the past) and not being afraid to step into new experiences. In these instances, because we’ve moved on, “association” has taken on some new hues, lowering our resistance to giving things a second chance, reducing the likelihood that we’ll rush back to the past.

Thank you for reading my blog. To learn what happens to Raymond, Brenda and the other characters in Love Pour Over Me, hop over to Amazon.com, B&N.com, Ebookit.com ($3.03 – lowest price I’ve found so far) and get your copy of Love Pour Over Me today. And again I say – Thank You! Consider Love.

Sources:

http://www.britannica.com/EBchecked/topic/39421/association