Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.

Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.Dr. Seuss

Is this what you want to remember, or do you want to remember the good times instead?

What does that mean?
While at first, years and years ago, I considered this line to be trite and unhelpful, over the years, I have warmed to the power and wisdom of this quote. It is about the ending of things, it’s about saying goodbye, it’s about moving on, or moving away.

Over the years, I have lost friends, family members, pets to death. I have moved many times and lost friends to distance. I have been married and divorced, losing many friends in that trauma. There are even memories of pleasant times which were just but brief flashes of fun.

In each case, we have a choice. We can lament that they are no longer here, or we can smile with the recollection of the good times we experienced. To me, this applies even to the dead in our lives. You can chose to remember the pain of the loss, or the joy of the good times.

Why is is focusing on the happy moments important?  
As humans, we tend to get that on which we focus. If we spend the bulk of our time on money, and how to earn it, we will likely get some extra money. If we focus on money and how to steal it, we will likely get some time in jail. If we focus on chocolate, we will likely have cravings so strong that they simply must be satisfied.

If, when we think of something that isn’t there anymore, be it a person, or an event, or whatever, you have the choice to remember that they/it is no longer here, and be sad, or to remember the good times, and be happy. And while it might not be an easy choice, it is a choice, and one only you can make.

You have probably met people who spend large portions of each day lamenting their losses, instead of remembering the joys of what happiness of what transpired. Was it any fun being around them? In my experience, they weren’t a whole lot of fun. Would you chose to be like that?

Where can I apply this in my life?
Consider something in your life that was there, but is no longer. Not something huge, but perhaps an old grade school friend. You can probably remember some of the good times you had together, right? You can also probably remember some of the feeling of loss when either one of you moved, or you grew apart, right?

Now think about the first thought you had, was it of the good times, or of the loss? If you thought first of the good times, you already have an idea of what the quote is about. If not, I would ask you to spend some time each day, perhaps before bed, and recall the good times over and over again.

The usual technique I use for something like this is to consider each memory as they come up. If it’s an unpleasant memory, I start by reducing the realism of the scene. I start by turning a movie into a couple of snapshots. Then I start to wash the colors away, from bold, to pastel, to gray.

I make the image smaller, and I reduce the contrast by making the darker areas lighter and the lighter areas dimmer. I muffle the sound, eventually muting it completely. I also mess with the focus, blurring the image. Eventually, you have a couple pictures that could be cloud bottoms or a series of smudges on paper.

For the pleasant memories, I try make movies of what I remember, even if they are only from photographs. I make the colors bolder, the contrast really stand out. I make sure the sound is clean and crisp, perhaps even adding a bit of a sound track to go with it. I make the images even larger than life, and I make sure everything is in sharp focus.

Which are you more likely go get a strong emotional reaction from, the tiny, silent, motionless, gray smudge, or the big, loud, moving picture? Using this technique, I have been able to better deal with the loss of my grandparents and a few friends, as well as my dogs and separation from others I have loved or cared for in their time.

Will you ever forget it is over, hardly seems likely, does it? However, one does not have to dwell on the unhappy moments. Instead, we can focus on the happier times, and when a darker moment comes up, thank it for stopping by, and send it on it’s way, a little smaller, dimmer, less focused, etc than it was when it arrived.

Once you can make this happen with the lesser memories, you can start working on the tougher ones. It does get easier with practice.

I can’t tell you how to live your life, but I know what has worked for me and some of my friends. I hope it works for you as well. Smile, because it happened.

From: Twitter, @DavidRoads
confirmed at : http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/d/drseuss161986.html
Photo by CitySkylineSouvenir

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Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. I have found the perfect paradox, that if you love until it hurts, there can be no more hurt, only more love. | philosiblog - 1 November 2012

    […] Are you willing to try? My only caution is to be careful on what you focus. If you focus on the loss, you will magnify the loss. Instead, I would try to focus on the good times, the happy times you shared. As anther quote goes “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.“ […]

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