How to overcome the memory gremlins you don’t even know you have

memory, gremlin, embarrasing

Do you have old memories that still spark embarrassment?

Unfortunately, I have many deeply embarrassing moments that I am almost certain are only remembered by me. Like when I was seven and a friend’s dad asked if I knew how to spit. While I never had any official training or anything, I felt pretty confident about my spitting abilities.

I really, really, should not have.

I puffed out my chest and spat like the baseball boys I used to spy on. Except not. Spit dribbled all down my chin as the eyes of my friend’s dad lit up. He literally bellowed with laughter.

I still feel shy spitting.

But when I really think about it, I was just an insignificant little kid to that weird dad of a friend. I doubt he still looks back and chuckles over what my face looked like with spit all over it. Surely he has funnier, more substantial memories to think about when he’s in need of a laugh.

That moment only exists in my memory. Why do I still let it hold me back?

I equate these memories to little, ugly gremlins with sharp claws and abnormally large eyes that incessantly jump on my back. A few of these memory gremlins aren’t enough to bring me down, but a few dozen can do some serious damage.

Like you, I’ve got enough going on in the present moment without being haunted by random embarrassing flashbacks in the grocery store line. So I try to be aware of opportunities to get rid of the hold these memory gremlins have. I’ll never forget the brief moment I finally understood the first step to overcoming them.

I was in the back seat of a car full of friends on a long trip home. I brought up this topic, and told a story of a time playing college basketball when I embarrassed myself in front of the men’s team. I explained how I was probably the only one who remembered this moment, but am still beating myself up over it.

“Yeah!” my friend Sandra exclaimed, “I have those all the time!”

Turns out, we all had them.

I don’t remember the other stories we told (that’s how truly forgettable they were). But I do remember laughter and enjoyment growing with each moment shared. As I listened, I thought to myself, “There is something to this.” There is something comforting about sharing embarrassing memories in a place free of judgement.

Who knows if that car ride was as meaningful to my friends as it was to me. All I know is I left feeling a bit less shameful about the weird experiences I shared.

So what about you?

How many memories do you beat yourself up over even though you are probably the only person who still remembers?

Why not take the first step in overcoming these moments that hold you back?

I invite you to post a comment or email me with a silly memory you are still embarrassed about. It may feel uncomfortable, but it works for me, and it may work for you, too. I promise to respond without judgement and may even have a similar such memory.

So go ahead, knock a few gremlins off your back. They’ve been there wayyyy too long.

 

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2 Comments

  1. I too have a spitting story. I was younger than 10. Walking up our hill and tried to spit. I ended up with a long trail of spittle coming out of my mouth that I could not get rid of. I shook my head to cut it off and ended up with it all over my face. To this day I hope no one saw that!

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