I’ve been thinking a lot about something lately that I want to share with you guys… the issue of knowing yourself and being aware of yourself. I’m obviously not going to go into details, but Brent and I recently had a discussion/argument about exactly this problem (don’t worry, we’re totally fine!). I specifically call it a problem because I think that a lot of people assume that they know themselves inside and out — but it’s possible that maybe you don’t know yourself as well as you think you do.
For example, have you ever had the experience where you’re talking about an event or a conversation with somebody and you find out that each of you has completely different recollections of the same thing? Just last month, Keeping Up with the Kardashians (feel free to judge me, haha) had an episode where Kim and Khloe were fighting about this exact issue. Kim remembered very specifically that she had been working with her father at his job in the couple months before he died, and that she was the only one in the family who was there with him as much as she was. Khloe got very upset at this statement because she remembered things very differently — she remembered working there with him a lot also and was hurt that Kim didn’t remember that she had been there as well. Although they did make up, they weren’t ever able to come to an agreement about this specific issue because they both thought their own memories were totally valid and they weren’t willing to compromise.
I’m not saying that a person should compromise in that situation — if you have a memory of something that you believe is 100% correct and want to stand by that, I think you probably should. I’m just saying that I think that this is a really interesting phenomenon. When it comes to the Kardashians, both of the girls were probably both a little bit right and a little bit wrong. Different perceptions and biases that a person has can influence the way they remember something, and those same biases would probably make that person unwilling to see that situation in a different light.
I think that it would be really hard to make yourself look back on something you thought you remembered perfectly and try to figure out if there is something that you might have overlooked or been subconsciously altering. I’ve tried to do this after having conversations like Khloe’s and Kim’s and have failed. Without the other person prompting me with specific information that would jog my memory, I don’t think I’d ever be able to come up with a version of my memory in which the other person was right and still feel like (a) my memory was still valid, and (b) they’re not crazy. Obviously part of this has to do with the fact that human memories aren’t perfect. But usually when I can’t remember something, it’s easy to admit — it’s either there or it’s not. In these kinds of situations, I’m almost always absolutely certain that my perspective is the correct one and that the other person is obviously insane (and the other person usually feels the same way!).
I also think that it’s really hard to keep yourself from being really hurt if somebody challenged a memory of yours, especially if the other person is sticking to their guns just as much as you are and it’s a memory that really means something to you. How are you supposed to resolve something like this (especially with a significant other) when neither of you can compromise on the issue? And, if it’s for some reason really important to you, it will probably haunt you for a long time your partner’s and your memories don’t match up about this. It might even seem like it signifies an incompatibility between you two — if you can’t both remember the same event the same way, how are you ever supposed to last as a couple? (By the way — this isn’t a direct reference to my conversation with Brent. I’m not at all doubting our relationship!).
I guess it’s just something to think about… and I wanted to open it up to you guys for discussion. Have you ever experienced something like this? Did it make you doubt yourself or whoever you were talking to? Do you think it’s possible to evaluate the validity of your own memories? I’m really interested in what you think!