Even though our memories define a lot of decisions we make in life, most of us feel that we do not have a very good memory. We are jealous of those who appear to be able to recall information very easily. The reality is that most people live their lives to such a tight routine that they do not have to vocalise any opinions, and therefore have to recall previous situations very often. It is only when they are asked a definite question, such as what would they prefer to eat, that they have to start recalling what food gives them a pleasant experience, and is suitable to the situation that they find themselves in.
There will be times that you will find other people’s decisions and reactions are totally irrational, but conversely they will probably find some of the things you do to be just as strange. However, these decisions have always been made on past experience, whether it is directly associated with the current problem or not. It is all due to associating situations with past memories, whether they are visual, audible, or emotional. This is why word association games can be very revealing, and are very often used by psychiatrists.
A lot of people find it very difficult to rid themselves of irrational fears, and some of these fears have a very detrimental effect on the way that they live their life. This fear might be totally rational to them because of what has happened in a similar situation. The people who find that they have a fear which is really debilitating usually seek help, and this often comes in the form of hypnosis, or repatterning. By repatterning I mean being gradually reintroduced to the situations that they are fearful of, and making them pleasant.
A good example of this would be when somebody has a fear of dogs. This fear is probably generated because they had been attacked, or terrified, by a dog in the past. They would naturally feel uncomfortable in the presence of dogs, but the only way for them to lose their fear would be for them to accept their discomfort. In order to do this they would have to be gradually reintroduced to dogs, using situations where everything went smoothly. They will then become able to learn to enjoy the company of dogs, rather than being scared of them, as their dominant memories would recall safe and pleasant situations.
This kind of retraining is nothing new, parents do it with children all the time. It is sometimes the only way they can be persuaded to eat the right food, or go to bed at the right time. You might have to persuade them that nothing bad is going to happen to them if the bedroom light is off, for instance. This can be done by gradually reducing the light available when they have been put to bed, until they are no longer scared.
Adults, children, and pets can all be retrained, using neuro-linguistic programming, to accept new situations and routines as safe and familiar. It is just a matter of taking them out of their comfort zone for a while. Performing this method gradually over a period of time should solve any irrational fears and bad habits.
Author: David Odell