How to get rid of painful memoriesPast can be a huge burden if it doesn’t pass. It is even more applicable in case of negative events, as their memories tend to hold you back and affect your ability to make new beginnings and take new initiatives. So failing an examination, flunking in an assignment, getting betrayed in a deal, being shortchanged in a negotiation, getting embarrassed in a performance, or facing an awkward moment on stage; everything sticks to mind vividly and keeps sabotaging any effort to redeem one’s self-esteem.

However, the fact is that often, to fight our demons, we have to meet them again and renegotiate. It is true because when you avoid the next meeting with a difficult situation, it only keeps reinforcing the pain of the last meeting. Thus, it is important to face it and change it. Well, before we discuss this point in some details, watch this video to get the gist of what we are discussing, why it is important, and how it is relevant in professional and personal context…



You heard it right – sometimes, to address an emotional memory, you have to rewrite it by going back to the same situation and choosing a new end. In other words, for the solution of some of the emotional problems, you have to return to a similar circumstance and create a new end. Well, like for any other behavior, the root of this point lies in neuroscience.

If we will look at our brain then we will find that whether it is enjoying hot coffee, solving a math problem or dreaming of your beloved, every mental activity consists of randomly-chosen neurons in our brain firing in a certain sequence. To form memory, brain preserves the association of that particular group by strengthening their faint first-time linkages. This strengthening leads to a domino effect. So now even if some neurons of that neuronal group fire, the rest of the firing or activation takes place in that same old sequence, and the same old memory and related emotions come up in the consciousness.

Rejuvenation of this old pattern continues invariably until the end of the same initial sequence doesn’t get rewritten. In other words, the situation remains the same but the end changes. To acknowledge this subtle phenomenon at work and do the needful, social & emotional intelligence is required. This ‘emotional & social intelligence’ is a lot about one’s cognizance of the structure and functioning of the human brain, and how they affect our responses and choices.

This interrelationship of neuroscience and psychology sets the base for developing emotional & social intelligence – the skill of managing self and connecting with others. Yes, this base-skill of all intrapersonal & interpersonal skills can be learned, practiced and mastered. However, it all begins with some important realizations like…”Sometimes, to address an emotional memory, you have to rewrite it by going back to the same situation and choosing a new end”.


Dr. Sandeep Atre

‘Emotional & Social Intelligence’ Expert

Founder – Socialigence

Note: Socialigence ( offers a self-paced video-based online course on ‘Social & Emotional Intelligence’ with content that has relevance across the globe, and delivery specifically customized according to the work-scenarios in India.