Last update: 09 September, 2016
The best moments, even if fleeting, are never forgotten. There are loves whose memory still delights us, thanks to those passionate kisses, those caresses full of desire and eloquent glances. They are memories to be used in secret and, even if love was ephemeral, if it made us happy, it should not be considered a mistake.
There are those who say that sometimes memory acts like a somewhat awkward puppy. We throw a ball at him and he brings back whatever else he finds along the way. The brain works by means of associations, therefore the memory box is never precise and tends to discard many details to preserve the essence. However, it's nice to know that memory loves happy moments.
There are memories that provoke sighs, they are poems transcribed in looks that have already become nostalgia, they are fleeting loves, they are like ethereal perfumes whose aroma can still be felt. Because the best moments will never be forgotten and will not even be considered mistakes.
It is important to consider a fundamental fact about good memories. The beautiful moments lived in a certain phase of life will be substantially transcribed in our emotional memory only if we interpret this experience as transcendent and positive.
Believe it or not, it's not always easy, especially when it comes to emotional relationships. What has been short sometimes brings with it long periods of tears. How to keep the positive part of these moments?
Good times deserve to be appreciated
Sonja Lyubomirsky is a famous psychologist at the University of California who specializes in the study of happiness. By means of books like “The myths of happyness”, she shows us a different perspective than usual in the field of positive psychology.
According to the author, to reach well-being and our maximum personal potential, we must put aside the past as it is irrelevant to the present, for the here and now. This perspective is easy to understand, but it is very difficult to put into practice.
People are made of memories, the taste of the first kiss, the smell of pastries at grandparents' homes, the tears shed secretly during each disappointment. For this reason, it is much better to try to reinterpret bad memories than to look for a magic pill with which to eliminate them.
The good moments deserve to be appreciated, while the bad ones must be seen through a more conciliatory and harmonious perspective. If a love was short-lived and disappointed you, consider your experiences with that person. If someone has betrayed you, you will have learned a lesson. If you are wrong, do not feed on failure. Breathe deeply and make your mistakes your best teachings.
The importance of positive memories
We have learned that memory is selective, that it is not precise and that it loves to interpret things in its own way. As we said at the beginning of the article, our brain appreciates pleasant experiences and the effort to interpret each event as positive and enriching.
For example, it is curious that the same experience is profoundly different when it is seen with two distinct gazes. Imagine yourself going on vacation with your partner; once you arrive at your destination, bad weather rages on your holiday resort every single day.
After some time, you find yourself talking about it and your partner remembers the holiday as a real disaster, a real waste of money. You, on the other hand, see it differently, you have kept it in your memory as a very significant and special experience. Because, with the pouring rain outside, you spent very intimate moments in the hotel room.
As you can deduce, it would be wonderful for your well-being to have a predisposition to see things with a pair of "pink glasses". Glasses with different lenses with which to touch up experiences with a little more positivity and enhancement. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, gives us a very useful tip in this regard.
In his book "The construction of happiness" he explains that one of the best exercises to foster positive memories is to try to be thankful for each day. Perhaps it will seem ridiculous or "too spiritual", in reality it is a very functional exercise.
Being grateful means filtering every experience. There is always something left; even if it is small, it shines like diamond dust. That's where the true teachings reside, that's where the good times are that deserve to be remembered.
Maybe the puppy in charge of memory we talked about earlier isn't that clumsy. Even if it does not bring us the ball we threw at it, it is likely to bring us something we wanted to recover: a significant reminder of our memory that we now consider positive.
Because those who are able to remember the past without pain have the opportunity to enjoy the present with passion.