If You Really Enjoyed It, You’ll Never Forget It
If you really enjoyed it, no matter how brief it was, you’ll never forget it. Because there are loves whose memory still delight us, thanks to those spontaneous kisses, those caresses full of desire, and those looks that told us everything without needing a single word. They are memories that we can return to secretly, and although the love was short-lived, if it made us happy, there is no reason to consider it a mistake.
There are people who say that our memory sometimes acts like a rather clumsy puppy. We throw it a ball and it brings back anything it finds along the way. The brain works through associations; what it brings back from our memory chest is never exact and it tends to throw out many details and just keep the essence of the story. However, it is nice to know that if there is one thing that it likes, it’s happy times.
There are memories that breathe, poems written in looks that are already nostalgia, and loves that, while brief, are like an ethereal perfume that still lingers. Because what you really enjoyed, you will never forget, nor will you ever consider it a mistake.
It is important to keep an important detail in mind about good memories. What we enjoyed in a brief moment of our lives will be integrated into our emotional memory in a significant way only if we interpret said experience as transcendental and positive.
Whether we believe it or not, sometimes this is not exactly easy. Especially if we are talking about emotional relationships. Because sometimes what was brief brings with it long periods of tears. How then can we stick to the “positive” side of these moments in life?
What you enjoyed deserves to be appreciated
Sonja Lyubomirsky is a well-known psychologist from the University of California, specializing in the study of happiness. With books like The Myths of Happiness, she brings us a rather different focus within the field of positive psychology.
According to this author, in order to achieve well being and our maximum personal potential, we must set aside the past, because it is irrelevant for the present. For the here and now. Although it is certainly true that we can understand this focus, the truth is that it is very complicated to put it into practice.
People are made up of memories, we are made up of the rush of our first kiss, the smell of the pie our grandma used to make for us, and we are also made up of the tears secretly spilled after each let-down in life. As such, before looking for “that magic pill” that can erase bad memories, the best thing is to “reinterpret them.”
What you enjoyed deserves to be appreciated and what you mourned deserves to be seen from another, more integral perspective, a more harmonious one. If a love was brief and left you disappointed, stick to what you experienced. If a person betrayed you, stick to what you learned. If you made a mistake, do not dwell on the failure. Take a deep breath and let the mistakes now be your best way to learn.
The importance of positive memories
We all know that our memory is selective, that it is not precise, and that it likes to interpret things in its own way. So then, just as we pointed out at the start, our brain likes when we make an effort to interpret what we experienced as something positive and enriching.
It is curious, for example, how sometimes the same experience can seem so different when seen from two different perspectives. To understand this a bit better, let us imagine, for instance, that we are going on vacation with our partner. When we arrive at our destination, there is nothing but bad weather, each and every day of our stay.
A while later, we talk about it and our partner remembers something like really bad luck; it was a loss of money. We, on the other hand, interpret it in another way, such that we have stored the memory as something very significant and special, because despite the rain, we were able to spend more intimate time in the hotel room with our partner.
As we can deduce, it would be great for our well being, then, to have that natural disposition towards seeing things from other perspectives. With other lenses that can readjust what we experienced in a more positive and enriching way. Martin Seligman, the father of positive psychology, suggests something that can doubtlessly help us achieve this.
In his book Authentic Happiness, he explains that one of the best exercises to encourage positive memories is to try to be thankful for something each and every day. Maybe this seems rather ironic or even overly “spiritual” for more than one of our readers, but in reality, it is a very effective exercise.
Giving thanks is like putting an experience through a filter. There is always something left, sediments, remains that are barely perceptible, but which shine like diamond powder. It is here that we find the real lessons, where we see what we enjoyed and what is going to be worth remembering.
Maybe deep down, that puppy in our memory that we talked about at the start was not so clumsy. Even if he doesn’t bring us the ball that we had thrown, it is very possible for him to come back with something that we wanted to recover: a significant memory that we had stored and that we can now value as something positive.
Because whoever is capable of remembering the past without pain has the chance to enjoy the present with passion.