“When you feel happy, really happy, it somehow seems that you’ve always been happy and that you’ll always be happy. The same is often true when you feel sad, or lonely, or depressed, or broke, or sick, or scared. Something, perhaps, to remember.”
It’s bad enough to feel depressed, anxious, insecure, jealous, fearful, without believing you’ve been this way more often than not during your lifetime. How often has someone told you they were born to be unhappy or to have problems or some version of those that indicate the person’s perception of themselves and their lives is very negative? With few exceptions they’re probably wrong. Science and brain imaging are now able to prove that people will remember negative and unhappy events far more than they will remember happy or pleasant things. Your life may not have unfolded the way you remember it. In fact, it’s likely that it didn’t because you remember the bad and aren’t able to retrieve the good from your past. I’ve witnessed this phenomenon many times over my years as a psychotherapist. A client comes in having had a negative experience the previous week and during their session they will talk about themselves in a way that indicates they don’t think they’ve ever had happiness or positive events in their lives. Conversely, if they come in having had a positive experience the week before they will be upbeat and positive in their outlook for the future. However, the next time something negative happens they will tell me this is the story of their life, to paraphrase all of the varieties of I’m a loser and my life sucks, and have little if any memory of how happy and upbeat they were feeling just a month ago. Now we’re getting scientific insight into why this happens and how your past or the past you remember might not be the past you lived at all and isn’t that interesting. You may not know yourself as well as someone close to you knows you because they’ve observed you over time and have a more balanced awareness of you in your life. Take a look at this article for more information.