People change. Memories do, too.


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Seen in a meme:

“People change. Memories don’t.”

Actually, this is false. Memories are very susceptible to change (whether you want them to or not).

This is partly because any time you remember something, you are remembering the last time you remembered it and not the actual event — and our playback isn’t perfect.

As such memories get distorted based on how you feel and what you choose to focus on when you recall a past event.

This can happen in a more “localized” way when one feels depressed. When we are feeling down about ourselves, we are often quick to dismiss our positive memories or achievements.

Disqualifying the positive is one of the most destructive forms of cognitive distortion.” — David D. Burns M.D.

When we choose to focus on a particular memory in a particular way often enough, we effectively change that memory.

This is one of the reasons why two people who witness or experience an event together may eventually remember it entirely differently. It isn’t that either is lying, it’s that their memories of an event are susceptible to change.

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