Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Bad Memories vs. Good Ones

Why are bad things always easier to remember than good?

I actually thought of this question while riding home from dance tonight. We have this tape-and-wire (technical, I know) thing that lets you play your iPod through the car speakers. Well, the wire is apparently getting old. Half the time the music doesn't come out of the speakers on the right side of the car, and when it does, it breaks up. Static and funny noises are an added bonus. To get your music to play at all you have to contort the wire into uncomfortable positions and HOLD IT THERE.

And then it sometimes still won't play -_-

Sorry. Tangent. But that really does have something to do with the fact that BAD is easier to remember than GOOD.

How? Well, now I can hardly remember what it was like to be able to just LISTEN to my iPod in the car. No wire-jiggling. No iPod-throwing. No wondering if that's really part of the song. All I know is that now, it SUCKS.

We do that a lot, you know, with lots of different things.

When you're starving in the desert, it's hard to remember feeling full and refreshed. But once you're out of the desert, you sure as heck remember how hellish it was to be there.

When you have a broken heart, you swear that it wasn't worth all the good times you had. And then later when you're feeling better, you still swear that getting close to people is a bad idea.

When you're out of shape, you can't remember how good it felt to be able to run a mile flat out. But then when you finally get back into shape, you remember clearly how horrid it felt to sit on the couch all day.

Sometimes the healthy remembrance of the bad is a good thing. It keeps us from loosing sight of where we've come from, and why we stopped/starting doing things differently. But then sometimes it just makes us pessimistic.

The point of this post isn't to say that remembering bad more clearly is better or worse, it's just to point it out. And to ask why.

Why do you think people remember bad things better than good things? Or do you ever agree that we do?



Anonymous said...

I disagree. The contortions you make in the car you remember because they are bad? Or because they are awkward, and thereby hillarious?

I find humorous incidents make my memories. Especially, if I laugh while experiencing it, probably just my undeniable weirdness. I agree that my unpleasant experiences others find much more humorous, than I.

Elizabeth said...

I agree. I can remember all the times someone in particular has hurt me, but I have to force myself to remember the good times. It is almost as if I'm scared to relive the good times (even in my mind) because I know they will not last. But that is off topic a bit. Generally, what you're saying is spot on for me, because I know I remember certain vacations ONLY because the car broke down and we got stuck in a flea motel (yes fleas, not roaches, I got a collar and wore it on my ankle. not fun lol) for days, or I got sick on a journey that was hours long and kept barfing brownies. I wish that I could remember the positives in equal measure, like the beach we got to after the car was working or the gogerous waterfall we saw during that long ride. But it takes effort. Maybe I should just make that effort more, try to help myself remember the good to balance out the bad. Thanks for posting, I think I just had a revleation! To answer your question though, a lot of times it is to protect ourselves from repeating mistakes, whether it be trusting someone or eating brownies before a car trip. Remebering the good more than the bad would offer less protection, though more happy strolls down memory lane. Just some thoughts.

Kendrabelle Logan said...

Tragedy: Because they are bad, definitely.

I'm glad you find the humorous easier to remember! That definitely makes life more enjoyable and contented.

Elizabeth: That's just the way I think! And I'm really glad my post helped you think about this! That's the best compliment to me, making people think or inspiring them or something. Thanks for stopping by!


Owner of Homeschool Faith and Family Life Website said...

...and to take your thought a bit further...Sometimes it seems to take "the bad" to help us recognize or become aware of "the good". I once saw a good film made by college students with a powerful crisis scene at the end. The troubled young lady had injured her hand and was questioning (more like: desperately crying out to God) why it took her BAD hand to make her realize her GOOD hand...why, she asked, didn't she take note of her hands when they were both perfectly GOOD and worthy of rejoicing? Why only when her one hand was in pain did she notice that her other hand was not?
Interesting to ponder.
Thanks for visiting my girls...they all really enjoy your visits! Laura was thrilled to receive your pretty photos via email! God bless you!
Mrs. D.