Remember..Recall..Revisit: The human imperative

Remembering, recalling and revisiting the past are part of the human condition.

We use our recall and remembering to drive our actions – in the present as well as in the future. Whether that is remembering a shopping list, recalling where we put the car keys or remembering what we need to do next.

Revisiting the past is somewhat different.

Revisiting requires more than a list or an efficient approach to remembering details. Revisiting engages with recalling and remembering and infuses within these our feelings, thoughts and reactions at the time, which, even if long forgotten, completed the rich picture of our human experience. Thus in uniting these processes, revisiting gives us an opportunity to mature and develop. Revisiting enables us to ‘re-feel’ the pain…sadness…joy…or elation of the moment.

And in that ‘re-feeling’ revisiting enables us to grow.

It is in our own agency how we react and how we use the information that revisiting brings. Whether we use that to further bind ourselves to the negativity of an expereince – rebuilding our defences… closing ourselves off, insulating ourselves from future hurt: staying where we are…remaining stagnant, trapped in and by a past we cannot change.

My thoughts are that revisiting is also a positive experience. Through revisiting the pain and the sadness of the past for example, we are able to see a different option – thus hidden within our feelings lies hope for the future.

If we are brave enough to take it.

Revisiting enables us to reconnect with our inner strengths and coping strategies and not be condemned by a ‘bad past’ – George Santanya, a philosopher, once said “those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it” – I would say it is through our failure to ‘revisit’ rather than ‘remember’ that we are condemned. Through revisiting, we open up another part of ourselves: The ability to learn from our memories of the decisions we made, the actions we took and the situations which drove us to pursue those actions – this is more than the ‘playback’ we experience in recounting a tale – but recalling also the consequences of our actions and reactions, and the feelings or thoughts evoked as a result – moreover, revisiting offers the ability to remind ourselves that WE are the agents of our own destiny.

In the emotion of revisiting we recall and remember the power of our humanness…..remember our ability to rebuild, reshape and reform.

Revisiting, remembering and recalling..…all part of our human condition.

Revisiting, remembering and recall, are powerful resources at our disposal. Enabling us to pursue:

a different future,

a different outcome,

a different option

…and in doing so, release and rediscover a newer, more positive sense of self.