Forgiving Versus Forgetting

We can’t live in the past and the present at one time successfully, because it robs us of being fully in the present. Photo by Paola Chaaya on Unsplash

Forgiving Versus Forgetting

Often, I hear: how can I ever forget what happened to me?

Here’s an even bigger question: How can we forget traumatic events that happened in their lives?

So, here’s the million-dollar question: Who said you have to forget?

Short answer: We can’t.

We can’t live in the past and the present at one time successfully, because it robs us of being fully in the present. Photo: Julie Johnson/Unsplash

We can’t live in the past and the present at one time successfully, because it robs us of being fully in the present. Photo: Julie Johnson/Unsplash

 

We are not designed as human beings to simply pick and choose parts of the past that we can erase.

When we look back on events that trigger deep emotions and realize that we can’t successfully live in two places at once, we can see that we need to make our peace with the past.

We can’t live in the past and the present at one time successfully, because it robs us of being fully in the present. I call that being emotionally stuck.

But we can make peace with the past. To move forward, we need to learn about forgiving, rather than forgetting.

Most of us do not take a step back to realize the power we have within us to change how we respond to the past. The ability to forgive, and move on, is in within all of us. It’s just a matter of finding that power.

One helpful way to find your peace with the past is to consider some of humanity’s basic, universal laws:

1. We have no control over the actions of others, and other people are not always nice, and do not always treat us fairly. We do not live in a world that treats others fairly, honestly, and with respect.

2. People who are generally happy and content in their lives, do not treat others badly. This is the one thing that you should always remind yourself of (as a general rule) regarding the behavior of other people. Do not falsely accuse other people doing things they never did, treat them harshly, or use them as a way to release their own anger hostility and bitterness.

3. The people who hurt us the most, themselves may very well have their own pain from the past which is deeper than ours. They don’t show it, but it’s there.

These universal laws form the basis of everything we do, as well as what we do to others. Considering them in the context of your past can help you move towards forgiveness. You may not forget what has happened, but you can move on from it.

Leaving the Emotional Cage PodcastLearn more about the power of forgiveness versus forgetting with my upcoming podcast series, Leaving the Emotional Cage. You’ll learn more about developing the personal toolkit you need to forge a positive new future.

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