It’s good to forget

bad-memory

As I had mentioned in, Recruitment lessons from Mangoes…, I am a regular reader of the column Speaking Tree in the Times of India. Reading it in the morning is a great way to start my day. Maulana Wahiduddin Khan is a regular contributor. His recent article was titled It’s good to forget.

I am a product of the great Indian education system that lays so much emphasis on rote learning and remembering stuff. No wonder I was intrigued by the title. I couldn’t quite understand how it could be good to forget. However, the first paragraph of the article satisfied my curiosity.

Everyday people face negative experiences. Whether of greater or lesser import, people generally like to dwell on these negative experiences. Once this becomes a habit, it has a negative effect. Then unpleasant experiences become a part of their active memory, till it becomes a jungle of negativity. So it is best to forget these kinds of sad events.

I completely agreed and read through the rest of the article.

The choice in this context is not between forgetting and not forgetting: the real choice is between living with all kinds of bitter memories and totally freeing yourself from them. Try to forget unpleasant memories, for the alternative to this is living in bitterness and that is not a good choice for anyone.

I have experienced this myself. Thoughts are self perpetuating. More we think about something, stronger the thought becomes. More we think pleasant thoughts, we get happier. Haven’t you experienced those perfect days that start on a great note and continue to get better.

On the other hand, bitter thoughts, memories, anger weighs us down. And more we think about them, stronger the feelings get and we remain grounded. One bad thought leads to another and soon we are completely depressed. And longer we hold those negative memories more they sap our energy, our happiness.

I have experienced the effects of bad memories first hand. There were times in my life when I felt utterly wronged. I became so frustrated and angry. Through the day, I would keep thinking about the injustice done to me . Could not concentrate on anything. At night, would keep tossing and turning in my bed. Could not go to sleep. And when the sleep came, it was fitful. I would wake up in the morning, still with the same thoughts.

I learnt a great lesson at that time. Only way to remove bad memories from your mind, is to fill it with good memories. I consciously started thinking about good things in my life. My family, my friends, my intelligence and abilities. And as these thoughts and memories became stronger, the bad memories started fading, and eventually, became so faint, that they don’t affect me anymore.

This reminds me of another great thought from Bhagvan Buddha. He said, “Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned”.

Yes. It is good to forget. Forget those bad memories.

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10 Responses to It’s good to forget

  1. Barkha Dhar says:

    Negative thinking can be a curse for the life. Thanks for sharing the enlightenment. Someone has rightly said, learning should never end.

  2. Rahul says:

    incase u haven’t, do watch the movie ‘Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind’. Its based on similar idea, inclined towards personal relationship

  3. Sanjeev Singh says:

    I think we should stop negative thinking, and to start thinking positively by filling your thoughts with positive thinking. I don’t believe it ever fully goes away. But it is surely something that can be controlled.
    If you’re determined to change your negative thoughts into thinking positively – then what you need is a mental gatekeeper, or some positive thinking quotes.

  4. Good article – cannot agree more. Will need efforts to implement but the results will be worth it.

  5. Deepak S Avasare says:

    This probably is for Seema above.

    Bob Proctor used to say, forgive means get rid of it, abandon. When you forgive a person, you will forgive and forget all the painful memories.

    There is not much point in dumping them in the corner. You can fool others but not yourself. Your subconscious mind knows that they are in the corner. They always come back, mostly at the worst time (emotionally)

    With any person, there are generally lot of memories associated. When that person comes in front of you, you can remember the bad experiences and you will start feeling bad. Instead if you remember only the good experience, you will feel good. Remember you are doing this NOT for other person but for you.

    Even if you have to face the person day in-day out, this still applies. Just concentrate on the +ve and ignore -ve.

    Try this every time you come across the person. Once you get used to it, it would soon be a habit and automatic.

    Jim Rohn used to say, don’t get frustrated – Get fascinated instead. It helps your emotion and hence the health if nothing else.

    Regards
    Deepak

  6. Seema says:

    I agree. But, it’s difficult to forget painful/negative memories – at the most you can do is dump them in the corner.

    I did had similar experience of not getting sleep and waking up with same negative thoughts which Sir mentions. It did took a while for me to come out of it.

    However, to come out or forget, I believe you need to have more positive experience which can dump the negativity enough that it doesn’t pops up ever.

    I tried to have lil contact with the person from where my negativity enters and got more engaged with all the people/things which makes me more positive.

    I still don’t have answer to how to forget negative experience if you have to deal with the person day in-day out. I would really like to read the post which talks about this.

  7. eNVee says:

    Forget incidences (bad memories, failures, etc.) ONLY AFTER taking lessons from them.

  8. Narsi, One disadvantage of forgetting the whole past is that you may even forget the lessons you learnt.

  9. I have a very bad memory. I cannot remember many things beyond the last 4-5 years. It is all a blur. Like I cannot remember if I had been to one of my best friend’s wedding. Every new year seems to erase an old one in the database. When I realised this, I was a little upset. But then, a few years ago, I found that it was not a curse, but a blessing. When you forget the past, of course you forget the good times, but more importantly you also forget the pain, the guilt, and being the victim, or the perpetrator. And that was liberating…I am like Jim Carrey in the Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. It is good to forget. Btw, have we met before?🙂

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