When we pass through a bad day or a hard situation in life, we always look at the past and say ‘’it was better’’.
But is this really true? And if No, then why do we feel so? That’s what we will discuss in this article.
But before we answer this question, I want to mention something. I created a Free Guide for you related to this article about how to improve your self-image. You will find the download link at the end of this article.
Now, let us answer the question ''Why the past looks better?''
According to brain scientists, we-as normal human beings- do not know a lot about our brains. And because of this, our brains are tricking us. Here are three scientific reasons why we see the past as better than the present moment:
1- Self-image and memory retrieval.
When we want to retrieve or recall a past situation from our memories, our brain does that on two steps:
1) enhancement. Which means that our brain keeps searching for the required relevant memory and then enhance it as a preparation to recall it back.
2)Inhibition. Which means disable or prevent irrelevant memories from appearing to the surface in order not to distort the enhanced and recalled memory.
What is the relationship between this and self-image?
Self-image is how you see yourself, how others see you, and how you think or perceive how the others see you. To build a healthy self-image, you need to think positive about yourself, and since most of the people have a good self-image regarding themselves, when they recall their memories they tend to enhance the good positive ones and inhibit the negative ones.
2- Thinking more abstractly about the past.
A lot of research confirmed that we tend to think about the past abstractly. Which means that we do not really think and see the full picture. While we are now having life pressure and demands such as the long working hours, bills to pay, commitments toward family members…etc. We rarely do remember these demands and pressures when we think about the past.
Dan Ariely mentioned in his wonderful book ‘’Predictably irrational’’ that our brains are wired to make comparisons. He also mentioned that ‘’people do not only compare things but also compare things that are easily comparable.’’
We compare ourselves to others around us; we compare buildings with other buildings, products with products and travel destinations with other travel destinations. The same thing is regarding our memories.
We always tend to compare the present moment with something comparable, and for us, this means our past moments. But the problem with this approach is that when we remember something from the past, we usually remember the evaluation itself and not the basis of the evaluation. You can remember that a restaurant or an evening was fantastic, but most probably you will not remember the basis of why it was fantastic.
Not only this, as we grow in age as human beings, we live more experiences in life and do more things, and hence our level of knowledge gets better, and it becomes harder and harder to make us feel satisfied. The place that you judged as amazing in the past may now be normal to you because you now have more experience and saw more other places than when you judged this restaurant ten years ago.
So, the next time you fly with your imagination and say ‘’I miss those days'’, remember that maybe they were not as beautiful as you think and be more objective regarding your judgment.
Let me know your opinion in the comments section below and do not forget to download your FREE file from the link.
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If you want to improve your Confidence to achieve your Goals in life and be more Successful, then Self-Image is the Key.