We distort every time we go back and access a memory. We can infuse our memories with joy and fun, in fact we can distort our memories to exactly the way we want them to be. We change events into different sequences: for example, as a child I remember I could hear the wind blowing around and sometimes blowing things over. I would begin to think there was someone in the garden trying to get into my dad’s shed.
When we are at work, or simply out and about, sometimes we notice people looking at us with an interesting look on their faces. I had been driving for approximately 2 weeks after passing my test. In the process of parking my car at a friend’s house, I noticed his neighbour looking at me with a strange look on his face. I asked him if there was anything wrong? He said that his brother in-law had exactly the same car and didn’t remember that he was coming around that day. We can distort meaning just by looking at someone’s property, face or the way they are dressed.
We distort when we fantasise. When we glorify food, cars, and shoes, etc., we think how great they will taste or look when we have them in the future, but nobody knows what the future holds and this is how we distort our perceptions of the future: exact planning usually brings disappointment.
When going to your favourite restaurant it is normal to think it will be just as pleasing as the last time you went. This is because you are using a past experience that you called up from the past to the present. Disappointment happens when we have built expectations into what the meal you have is going to be, and if those expectations are not met because of expectations built on past experiences you will be disappointed.
It now becomes obvious how important distortion can be when starting out in a new relationship.