Memories Let You Know Who You Are
Human memory is a very complex subject. Even though it might seem easy to remember what you had for breakfast or that your meeting is at 11:00 a.m., it’s almost impossible to remember a traumatic event you may have experienced 10 minutes ago. There is so much more to about memory than we are consciously aware of.
It has been proven that our memory starts working from the womb, only 20-weeks after conception! It is generally divided into short-term memory and long-term memory. Although our memories are based on our physical experiences with the world around us, the process our mind uses to store those images, sounds, smells, etc. is more complex than we can imagine.
Fully linked to our physical senses, our memory is where our experiences and knowledge are stored. Virtually, our mind’s capacity to store information is limitless; however, in an attempt to protect us from overload, our mind tends to only leave within our reach those things that are truly important or significant in one way or another. It allows us to pull certain memories up as needed, relating those to current situations or physical sense perceptions. However, did you know our brain has the capacity to create false memories? An easy way to comprehend this is by looking at people who have undergone traumatic experiences. Either they can’t remember what happened or they remember something entirely different from what actually went on.
Although memory relies on our physical senses in general, every person has a tendency to remember best through a specific sense. You might be a more visual person, where visual stimuli generate a better response from the brain, or perhaps you are the kind of person who favors the sense of hearing or smell and associate memories with certain scents or sounds. This has a lot to do with the physical sense that is most developed in a person.
Most importantly, our memories let us maintain what we have learned, and apply it in our present and future circumstances. It enables us to keep record of past experiences so we can use them for better decision-making in the future. Your memory is the one that told you not to grab that sizzling pan. Perhaps when you were a kid you did so and burned yourself. If you didn’t tap into that memory, you probably would have done it again.
Memory has been an important subject of study for science, which attempts to understand how memories are formed, stored, and recalled. Although we have learned so much more about memory than we did a century ago, there are things that remain a mystery.
What’s for certain though is that we can connect to our feelings through our memories. We can remember deceased loved ones and the happy experiences we once shared with them. We can remember our childhood home or growing up in a certain town around certain people. The memories we share with others help us grow our personal relationships with them and stay connected. They let us have a past to look back to in order to move forward and become better and more mature persons.