This is an article I wrote for a series on “How to Heal A Broken Heart.” on the website Love, Evolve, and Thrive. For anyone suffering, this piece was entitled: Watch for Ways Your Mind Re-Writes the Past:
The human mind is so creative that we have come to rule the planet so-to-speak. However, there are two tendencies of our minds that often cause us a lot of trouble.
1. We tend to focus on the negative in the present moment and in our speculations about the future.
2. We tend to remember the past with rose-colored glasses.
Usually, I write about the ways that the first point affects us. But here I want to focus on the second point and the ways that it skews our reality during a breakup.
Think about physical pain and how quickly we forget how much it hurt. People joke about how our world’s population would be much smaller if women didn’t so quickly forget the pain of childbirth.
Think about how many people like to tell the exasperated parents of young children how “it goes so quickly” and “enjoy every minute because they grow up so fast!” These people have forgotten how frustrating and exhausting it was to change diaper after diaper or handle tantrums and spoon applesauce.
It’s good, in some ways, to let go of the negative in our past and move forward into the future. But in a painful breakup, this tendency can really hurt us. We feel the immediacy of the pain and look back longingly at the moments our lover held us in the night…the ways we laughed together…the ways he or she made us great spaghetti or traveled with us to New York or Paris.
There’s nothing wrong with mucking about in the longing for a lost love—for a limited period of time. It soothes something inside to go over those sweet memories and release the tears of loss. But then, come back. Remember that the sweet times were true, but no human, no relationship is only sweet.
Ponder, too, the farts. Remember the times he was late. The way she always used up the last of the juice and didn’t buy more. Remember that he or she didn’t always understand you. Didn’t always respect your needs. Didn’t always listen. Not necessarily because he was unkind (though maybe he was) but because he was human. This is a human loss. Keep it at human scale. It hurts and it will heal. Remembering to remove the rose-colored glasses of romantic loss helps.