Imprints or embedded memories make up our belief system, which affects the way we see ourselves, others and the world. When something impactful happens to us it leaves an impression on us and our central nervous system. We then create a picture of it and keep it stored internally. Imprints are formed in childhood, but we continue accumulating them throughout life, the memory is made up of our senses: pictures, sounds, feelings, tastes and smells. How we interpret them is dependent on our biology, environment, conditioning and experiences.
Imprints can make us believe things are absolute truths, even when they are not true. They can also make us act illogically, give us irrational fears and phobias because they are often not based on our current reality.
Imagine two people walking down a street together at night. Both have the same risk of danger. Yet one of them feels safe because, as a child, was given a lot of reassurance and was imprinted with a sense of confidence and security. The other doesn’t feel safe because, as a child, was not given a feeling of protection or safety, so was imprinted with a sense that life is dangerous. Maybe they were safe, or maybe they were in danger, but both are operating from the influence of their imprints.
Imprints will always be with us, and these early memories influence our perception of life and impact our current reality. The memories we hold on to are clues to our imprints. Maybe you remember being labelled as “the quiet one” or “the outgoing one” or “the sensitive one”. Maybe you thought of yourself as “clumsy” or “rebellious” or not good at school” these things form our belief system about life and dramatically inform our sense of self. These labels and beliefs affect us in our adult life, however, we can increase or decrease the power they have over us by becoming aware of them. Try to observe your internal world without judgement or criticism and be reflective about what your inner dialogue may mean. I find journaling my thoughts and feelings to be very useful.
Think back to some of your earliest memories, when you were just a few years old. Start with a happy memory, close your eyes and visualise any pictures or sounds associated with the memory, then bring up the feeling you had at that time when the imprint was made. Imagine stepping into the memory, then amplify it by making the image bolder and brighter and the sound louder. Enjoy the positive feeling that this evokes. When you have done this step out of the feeling and open your eyes. With a troublesome memory, do the exercise by visualising the picture in black and white, making it smaller and moving it away from you, turn any sound associated with the memory down, this will soften any strong negative sensations associated with said memory and allow you to let go of any uncomfortable inner feelings. Identifying and re-feeling these early memories can help you understand the labels you have picked up from others or put on yourself. I recommend practising this exercise with positive memories before bringing any troublesome ones up. When you have brought your imprints up to your consciousness you can then decide if you want to strengthen and amplify them or reset and diminish them, so they loosen their control over you.
As you explore your memories and values that you believe about yourself and others, you will begin to recognise where they originated from and how and whether they still hold true for you today. Then, you can choose to strengthen them, reset them or update them.
Please, if you are struggling with unhelpful, unhappy, painful, or traumatic memories then reach out and seek support and help from a professional.
Stay safe and be well