Are memories of our experiences always accurate?

I took a trip to Walt Disney World with my wife in December. While we certainly had fun seeing shows and going on rides -- and the fact the parks were decorated for Christmas added to the excitement -- I did complain about certain things.

We got heavy traffic on the way there and coming back. The parks were so crowded that we felt like sardines packed in a tin. And despite getting Fast Passes, the wait times for many of the rides were longer than expected.

It's been over two months since the trip, and I find myself fondly reminiscing about it.

Isn't it funny how we tend to reflect on things through rose-colored glasses? It's as if the mind shuts out the negative bits (e.g., traffic and heavy crowds) and focuses only on the positive aspects (e.g., rides, fireworks, and Mickey Mouse).

I suppose it's our way of trying to see the glass as half full. Generally, we make a conscious effort to block out all negative thoughts, feelings, and experiences that may in turn lead to depression and other adverse conditions.

That's why many of us reflect positively on romantic relationships that may have ended badly. It's as if we cherry-pick the good moments and bury the bad ones in the farthest recesses of the mind.

In other words, what we experience today may be reflected upon far more positively in the future. The passage of time seemingly erases negative aspects of our experiences, and we're usually quick to remember the positive ones.

In order to make a fair assessment of a past experience, you should consider the good and bad. When you stop to think about it, maybe there's no reason to miss your ex given all the problems you faced in the relationship. Or, perhaps your trip to Cancun five years ago really wasn't as magical as you thought considering the airline delays and other annoying hitches that may have presented themselves.


Sherry Wright said...

I studied what colors we see when we have color in our dreams. The things I learned can be applied in our awake time as well. When we see certain colors in our dreams each color stands for our emotions at the color we are seeing in our dreams. Even if you don't dream in color it should still be studied . It will explain why you remember the good things and not the things you think are bad.

How to Understand People said...

Thanks for your great reply, Sherry!