Earlier today I was speaking with a woman about a conversation that she had with her father many years ago. In the conversation, he told her that he was proud of her – that she was so smart that she could have been a doctor or a lawyer or anything, and that she chose to go into business. Although his intention was to communicate how proud he was of her, all she heard was “but you failed”.
It got me thinking about how often we find ways to justify our beliefs and validate our doubts. Even when all evidence is against us!
Holding onto beliefs despite contrary evidence can be useful. Believing that you can succeed in the face of setbacks is the basis of resilience.
But there are sometimes that it can get in the way. Such as when the woman above believing that she had failed, despite her father’s encouragement and assurances of support! One of the easiest tools that you can use to give yourself more choice about how you feel about the past is the NLP technique called Reimprinting.
While seeming as complicated as it was powerful initially, you can learn to use it quickly.
Bruce Willis demonstrates the pattern in movie, The Kid, reliving a painful memory from his childhood. Initially he changed his responses to the events themselves. But when that didn’t work, he transformed his thinking by giving himself a gift of wisdom, understanding, and ultimately forgiveness. And that gift changed his life from that day forward.
We might not be able to change the past, but we can change the way that we feel about it. And we can certainly change the way that the past affects us today.
Note: Reimprinting can also refer to Change Personal History and Timeline Therapy-based techniques – different trainers can give the same techniques different labels or different techniques the same labels though the basis of the techniques is much the same in my experience.