When I think back on my life, it’s almost like I’m rewinding a tape. Now and then a moment will pop up. A memory. Most of the time it’s a really lovely memory that makes me happy.
In the past when I visited the little cinema inside my head, mainly bad moments would show. The big ugly ones that made me feel bad about myself and gave me anxiety. So I tried not to think too much about the past. It was just too hard and made me sad.
Until one day when I realized it’s not my past that is the problem, it’s how I choose to look at it.
It’s really easy to remember bad stuff in detail. Those events feel so large and dark when they are happening. Like a huge thunderstorm ascending on us. We invest loads of energy and thought power into these moments. So it’s not all that weird that they tend to take up most of the space when we look back.
Of course, it’s not an advantage to think about things that make us feel down or gives us anxiety. So instead of focusing only on the present and the future, I have decided to think differently instead.
I started off by choosing some really big lovely moments in my life. Preferably somewhat in the same timeframe as the bad ones. And every time I looked back in my life archive I chose to think about these positive moments. I was really strict on myself and didn’t allow my thoughts to gravitate towards the dark clouds. Instead, I made sure to always stay on the sunny path.
Once I began doing this I noticed those positive memories growing bigger and bigger. And at the same time, the negative ones started to fade away. In the end, I could only see all the happy memories when I did a quick rewind of my life. Memories that make me proud, feel loved and make me happy.
I didn’t stop there.
Because everything we do today will become a memory tomorrow. Instead of treating my feelings and the events that happen to me later, I might as well do it straight away.
This is when I found my happy moments.
You know those times when everything just feels totally right? That’s one of your happy moments. It’s when you don’t want to be anywhere else, with anyone else doing anything else. It doesn’t even have to be big stuff. It’s all about being happy in the moment.
As soon as I feel that happiness in a moment, I make sure to take a mental note of how I feel. I recognize it’s a happy moment and I focus on really living in it and feeling all the emotions. This way the memory will really etch into my brain. It will be a stronger memory than what it would have been if I didn’t make a special effort to remember it.
These memories later become my go-to moments when I look back on my life. I can feel the same happiness as I originally did when it happened. It’s a bit like when an actor is using a memory to get into a specific emotion. But in real life.
Of course, you should deal with your bad memories. This is more about the ones that you go over and over and nothing really happens anymore. There is nothing good in dwelling in old bad feelings.
Actually, it’s all pretty simple and it really helps us make life a little bit brighter. It’s basically just a re-shuffle of energy. I choose to put my thoughts in one place rather than another.
Do you already have happy moments to look back at, or is this something you could work on?
Photo – Ida Zander. Location – Honest Burgers Venn street