alfred adler, a noted psychiatrist, said that people’s earliest memories will give insight into the tone of their problems. for example- if your earliest memory is of a birthday party where your sweaty aunt covered you in kisses and your mom made you finish your cake even though you were full and everyone was touching your toys, lots of later conflicts can be seen in the light of being smothered by other people’s agendas or flooded with other people’s needs (often being met at your expense).
i thought that this was overly simplistic until i tried it. whoa…
i love when i stumble across concepts that give me clarity. i haven’t read adler extensively, but i think now i will. i don’t know if that early memory sticks out because you were already primed to be bothered by those things, or if you being bothered at that time sensitized you to be bothered later in life, or if your mind grabs memories that have a common theme that you are not conscious of. but whatever it is, i found it to be frighteningly accurate.
of course, you may now interpret the memory in light of what you struggle with. in the above example, i could have said that set you up to be selfish, or to struggle with eating disorders. and, voila! because hindsight is 20/20, i could be exactly right!
i don’t know which would be the correct cause and effect- i only know that in me it gave me a startling clarity about events throughout my life and what that underlying thing is that bothers me… it explained lots of my later interactions, and lots of what still bothers me to this day and why.
and the ‘why’ is important, because events that don’t bother another person really really bother me. and i see that sometimes things will just crush someone else, and i don’t feel any emotional attachment. i get why they are upset- rationally- but i just don’t feel upset by it…
ok- i’m not a huge fan in general of navel gazing. i think lots of american/western mental health problems stem from the fact that we just have too much time to sit and ponder. as technology has advanced and our standard of living has gone up, we are left with too much brain space to ruminate. and i don’t think that’s such a good thing.
but i am someone who thinks that if i understand something, i can gain mastery over it. i love having tools at my disposal that give me greater clarity.
so, with my newfound knowledge, i’m hoping to be less bothered. i’m hoping to be more insightful. i’m hoping to be just a bit closer to the elusive feeling of inner peace.
or i could just get busier to take my mind off of it 😉