It’s often said that the past is in the past and the focus should be on the present. Whilst on the one level I can see that this is true, on another level it just doesn’t feel that simple. It can often feel that there’s a bungee type rope that keeps on pulling us back to a place where we feel similar to how we felt in the past or to a place where we thought similar negative thoughts about ourselves. Read on to find out why it might be holding you back in business and your functioning.

We all have subconscious beliefs that stop us from functioning at our best.

There’s often a really intelligent part of our thinking brain that knows we are good enough, that knows we have skills, knowledge and experience to flourish and do everything in life that we want to. Yet we know we are not achieving as much as we are truly capable of. We might be struggling to reach that next level. We may have done all the strategy work. Mindset may well have been a big focus and these are all really important and needed. But there may still be those little niggles that are holding us back. That little inner voice that can stop us when we move towards taking our next step.

Our memory may hold the key.

Firstly we need to understand a little about IMPLICIT MEMORY. This is part of our long term memory. Rather like a file that’s stored somewhere in our brain with lots of information within it. A lot of the things in this file are what we have learnt  on an unconscious level. We couldn’t perhaps explicitly share or remember how we learnt these things but they are there in the file in our brain. Perhaps it’s where we learn a lot about how to be human! 

This memory often gets activated and used unconsciously, without us even thinking about it. Take for example riding a bike or tying our shoelaces, we don’t have to really think about how to do this, we just do it. We don’t ever question it, we just do it.

Also within this IMPLICIT MEMORY are lots of rules and regulations for everyday life. Stored within this may be simple messages we have learnt about how to be human. Again things that we have learnt subconsciously and picked up throughout our childhood experiences. 

How does our memory effect how we feel about ourselves?

This is all very well and good but what if our childhood experiences have not really been the best? What if there’s been some trauma or difficulties that we have been through? What messages might we hold in our implicit memories about ourselves that are based on past difficulties or unhelpful experiences.

Even if we had a relatively ok childhood, there may still be issues that arose during this time. Most people can probably connect with being told off by their parents and feeling bad about themselves. How many of us have had niggles with friends growing up and felt that there was something wrong with us? Such a common experience is not doing too well on exams and developing the belief ‘I am not good enough’ or “I am a failure”. These are all relatively normal life experiences. But as we move into adulthood do we really need to hold on to these beliefs about ourselves that are about our childhood and not about us now.


The key thing to remember is that our early experiences have often planted the seeds for unhelpful beliefs and horrible feelings that are not about the here and now but instead are connected to the there and then. And these unhelpful beliefs can be holding you back in business. They may stop you from getting to your next level.

Can we change our memory and those unhelpful beliefs?

Until the early 2000s Scientists believed that this implicit memory could not be changed. But Scientists research now suggests that it can be changed. This is not a magic eraser though, we can’t ever change your experiences and what has happened to you because it did happen. But we can change the learning you held on to because of that experience. We can change the feelings you have now about these experiences. 

These implicit memories CAN BE CHANGED. We can update that unhelpful belief that “Other people are more important than me, I need to please them first” to “I am an important and valued individual and I don’t have to please everyone else all of the time” or “I am not enough as I am” to “I am enough”.

But we need to go back to these memories to be able to update them. We need to open up the memory file with this information and recode it before we file it away again. 

It is now widely believed that we can challenge and change old learning patterns and change them into something new. And this is exactly the work that I do as a Clinical Psychologist and an EMDR Consultant and facilitator. I’ve combined my years of work and my recent interest in coaching to develop a package that could be perfect for you. You can read more about that here. Book a call with me to find out more about what might be holding you back in business.

Hi, I am Dr Hannah Bryan, thanks for reading my blog.

I am a Chartered Clinical Psychologist and a Europe Accredited EMDR Facilitator and Consultant.

I have over 20 years experience in both the NHS and private practice.

Like you, I am only human and I have had my hard times and I have got many blocking beliefs that at times hold me back from me realising my potential and being my best. 

EMDR incorporated with coaching has helped me work things through and be in a position now where I have a thriving and inspiring psychology practice. It’s always a journey and I’m always working on my blocks, my mental health and my well being.

As well as coaching, I also provide psychological therapy and support other therapists training in EMDR, I am a Facilitator on training courses and offer specific supervision packages and training to support this. Click here to book a free 15 minute coffee chat with me to see if I can be of help to you.