Who Would You Be Without Your Memories?

I watched this TV show where one of the characters lost his memory. During the course of the show he ended up getting back with his ex-wife. He no longer remembered why they had gotten divorced so couldn’t understand why he had left her. She became an anchor for him of who he had been. Another one of the characters wondered if it would work when one of the couple has years of baggage and the other is completely open to something new. This got me to thinking – who would I be if I woke up tomorrow and didn’t remember anything about my life? What would be important to me? How would I act? What parts of me are shaped by my memories and what parts of me are shaped by my instincts? If I woke up tomorrow with no memeory would I get to choose everything about myself? Would I get to choose how I react in situations? Would I still even like coffee?

I can’t even begin to know the answer to this. However the question is a great place to start looking at my behaviors and actions. Where did they spring from? Why am I acting this way? Is this something I learned over time or is it an instinct? If I didn’t remember any of my past would I still act this way? It is really a very intriguing question and it goes back to the whole nature vs nurture question – which is the most influential in someone’s development and behaviors? This question has been studied by scientists for many years. As far as I know, they haven’t come up with a concrete answer yet. However, I could have missed the memo.

On most days this question is way more analytical than I want to get. I really don’t want to spend my every waking moment figuring out if this action is something I learned from my past or is something I do instinctively. Instinctive reactions have been programmed into us as a species for many generations as a way to survive. Many of those instincts may not apply to our current living situation. They are still there, however, and you respond to them accordingly. Fight or flight is a well known instinctive response. When you find a behavior that is not supporting you, asking yourself if it is instinctive or learned is a great way to drill down to the driving motive behind it. In those cases you can ask yourself, “If I didn’t remember who I was and had to recreate myself would I still act this way?” Either answer you get, I believe, if you find a non supportive behavior, you can reprogram both learned and instinctive behaviors in yourself. I believe we can change both these aspects of ourselves.

Take some time and ponder for a moment – if I didn’t remember anything about me, what would I choose for myself? Who would I choose to be? Hmmmm. The possibilities are endless.

In love and light

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