We tend to remember the times in our lives when things didn’t go as planned. Negative memories may stick with us longer than positive ones.

It’s getting to be that time of year again. What I have in mind is not the commercialized, consumerist holiday known as Christmas that has become associated with the supposed birth of Jesus; however, if we are going to be objective, then perhaps the more reasonable date of January 6, observed around the year 200 A.D., would have been preferable. Not really; the weather doesn’t add up either.

I won’t piss much on your party, but here are some great “non-religious” essays that refer to the date:

Why is Christmas on December 25?
When was Jesus born?
Jesus probably wasn’t born on December 25… and other Christmas myths

To return to the topic of today’s note, the time has come to reflect on the past year. Although you are probably further along in this process than I am.

I wanted to urge you to take a look at the past and for this season to not only record what went wrong but also what went well. 

We tend to remember the bad times in our lives more vividly than the good ones when we reflect on them. As humans, we have a natural tendency to dwell on our shortcomings, disappointments, and regrets, and breaking this habit can be challenging.

One possible explanation for our propensity to dwell on past failures is that we tend to remember them more vividly than our successes. We tend to remember the times in our lives when things didn’t go as planned. As a result, negative memories may stick with us longer than positive ones. Maybe that’s why we only remember adverse events when we reflect on our past.

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The ability to compare past experiences with present ones contributes to this bias. Doing this makes it tempting to dwell on the things we lack or haven’t accomplished in our lives. Unfortunately, such an exercise can be harmful since it prompts us to dwell on our flaws and causes us to feel inadequate.

The force of nostalgia may also compel us to dwell on the negative aspects of our pasts. We tend to see our history with tented glasses, focusing only on the adverse events that transpired. This can cause us to ignore the positives and dwell on the drawbacks.

It may be challenging to break this pattern, but it is essential that we constantly remind ourselves of the many positive parts of our lives and that we concentrate on the enjoyable moments when we do so.

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