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How to turn those negative memories into positive ones

Joseph Pond
Joseph Pond

By Joseph Pond

Today, I want to talk about negative self-beliefs. Beliefs are habits. They are always based on the past, and just as a table can't stand without legs, beliefs can't be maintained without support from the past. Therefore, if you change the past, you'll change the belief.

Parents may tell their child: "You've got it easy; wait until you're grown up." The implication is adulthood is hard. Children learn all sorts of life-lessons from their elders, often unintentionally. The first step is to examine a negative belief you want to change. Ask yourself the following: "Who did I learn this from? Were they a good role-model in this context? What did they really mean?"

Once you've questioned your reasons for believing a particular belief, write down about five memories which support this belief.

When we recall the past, we give our memories a beginning and end: I was at school, someone bullied me, I felt terrible, the end. We store these as if they're short films. But real life isn't like that. In reality, we continued to live.

So take a memory you've written down. Extend it past the point you typically consider to be the end. What happened after? Mentally run the memory until you get to where you knew you were safe again. If your original memory is like a movie, let's call this extended memory the director's cut. More importantly, find the positive lesson from a negative experience. (It's an endless inspiration to me that clients can find positive lessons in even worst case-scenarios. It's always there if you look for it.)

Now, run through this new director's cut 10 or 20 times, each time only ending the memory when you know you're safe and you've learnt something empowering. You've probably already mentally watched the old movie a million times, so it may take some repetition to condition in the new way of remembering. Take 15-20 minutes on each memory, extending them this way.

As always, feel free to write to me with questions or for clarifications.

  • Joseph Pond is a clinical hypnotherapist, an acupuncturist, and a mindfulness instructor. He is co-founder of Hypnosis Explorers NI and conducts workshops in hypnosis with PowerTrance. Reach him at or at Belfast Hypnosis/?ref=hl/?ref=hl

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