“Science and technology revolutionize our lives, but memory, tradition and myth frame our response." - Arthur M. Schlesinger
First thing this morning, before I had my morning coffee, I was faced with pictures from my former “happily” married life. The Facebook Flashback strikes again.
I was minding my own business, staying in my new lane - feeling good about the changes in my life – and then BLAM – I am hit with 20 images of my past. Why do I post so many pictures?!
This happens to me every few weeks or so – not sure what how the Facebook Flashback algorithm works - but it seems to be triggered when I am feeling safe in my new life.
These flashbacks remind me of an Adele song lyric - “Hello - I am in California dreaming of who we used to be” (okay - it was Pittsburgh – but you get what I am saying).
When these Flashbacks first started to plague me, I quickly swiped them away, and went back to perusing puppy pictures and inspirational yoga quotes. Denial at its finest.
But today I took a different approach. I decided to apply a yoga technique and be an unemotional observer of the pictures as if I was not involved.
Wow, I was heavier then and my face was bloated and eyes were almost dead. And the smiles – mine was so tight – and my ex wasn’t smiling at all. And I actually posted a picture of my coping strategy at the time – red wine in a Hampton Inn Styrofoam cup with a Hershey chocolate bar (with almonds of course) on top.
When I take this third-party view of the Flashback I have to wonder – why do I feel bad about these pictures?
I am happier, healthier and more centered today than I was then – all because I exited a situation that was unhealthy for me. Wow.
Where else could this unemotional witnessing technique be helpful?
As the year ends there will be many opportunities to reminisce about what has happened. Witnessing events unemotionally, especially with the benefit of time to see any positive consequences, helps in processing painful or uncomfortable situations.
As for the Facebook Flashback, another approach to stopping these negative memory hijacks would be to refrain from posting on Facebook. Nah…
“The more we witness our emotional reactions and understand how they work, the easier it is to refrain. It becomes a way of life to stay awake, slow down and notice.”
- Pema Chodron