Opinion: ‘Nostalgia is a sweet liar’

Peterborough Hypnotherapist John Cooper writes:

Was everything better in 'the good old days'?
Was everything better in 'the good old days'?

Nostalgia is a sweet liar.

I’ve said that before and I’ll say it again, mainly because it’s hard to know what to write about.

Six months ago, we burnt the last of the coal and the wood, cleaned out the grate and chucked away the screwed up stray bits of paper that we’d hoarded.

In a couple of months’ time, we’ll start the whole thing all over again.

My grandmother had a coal fire and no central heating, up at the crack of dawn in winter to get it lit.

Every Friday there was a delivery from the coal man, dumped in the shed out the back.

It was hard work building the fire, tending to it all day, carrying shovel loads back and forth and putting it out at night. She had no choice, it was a coal fire or a freezing cold room and no hot water.

Fast forward 40 years and here I am fiddling with kindling and tongs, not because I need to but because it’s cosy.

This is the ultimate in poverty tourism; yes, we want our smart thermostat controlled heating system but we also want to pretend we live in Victorian England.

What’s next, an outside toilet? A tin bath and cup of Ovaltine? A Spam sandwich?

There is a popular myth that everything was better in the good old days.

There are politicians who cite a utopian Britain, somewhere between 1950 and 1961 with wholesome food, good manners and rickets. No thanks, mate.

Our unconscious mind, the reservoir of emotions, patterns and memories doesn’t always treasure the past.

An unhappy childhood or a history of trauma can linger and cause problems down the line. I specialise in helping people overcome phobias, trauma and anxiety.

Most of the time my clients have no idea where their problems come from but a 10-minute conversation usually reveals all we need to know to get started.

Some people worry that they’ll find things out in hypnosis that they didn’t know, like they come to me for a flying phobia and find out they’d been abused.

This doesn’t really happen. I won’t go looking for things that might not exist.

Nor will I dig up traumatic memories that you have already processed and released.

No need to go over ground when we don’t need to.

I love re-creating happy memories with my clients, getting them to remember the best moments of their life and to enjoy them again.

In hypnosis, I can get you to go back there and recall those feelings, intensify them and rewire them in to the present moment.

It’s a powerful technique, setting up a trigger – where once there was an anxious response, we replace it with a positive one.

Most people are surprised to learn that the unconscious mind will do as it’s told and just needs a guiding hand.

Sometimes, the olden days were better and can be again.

I’m not wringing out my clothes in a mangle for anyone, though.