I read a status message, on a friend’s FB page, that was quite good – it exhorted the reader to forgive and forget. To be precise, it ran like, …”As long as we don’t forgive others, they occupy rent-free space in our mind..Forget and forgive” … I was passing by that page and the message kind of stuck itself on me.
Was really good, wasn’t it, the forgive-and forget business? We get taught about it all the time. Perhaps I would think of something similar myself for my children. But I thought, not without its background. The punchline delivered alone is good for hitting the other person, but it does not give the necessary perspective.
What is the perspective tailing a punchline? Well, I thought that perhaps I could think about the cost of the space occupied by memories, and negative ones by inference. Is there no value to stored negative memories?? Are negative memories bad? Do we incur loss by keeping them while they pay ‘no rent’?
I kind of took a sneak peak inside me and I found plenty of objects labeled ‘Forgiven’. And how about the ‘Forget’ ones?? First difficulty is, how could I tell you about something or someone if I have forgotten? I saw plenty of the un-forgotten ones.
So why do I not have ulcers and high blood pressure and sleepless nights that the exorcists of the heart and long life so make us afraid of?
I reasoned that since the negative memories are there inside me, yet I have no ulcers, sleeplessness etc, therefore those memories must be good. Now that was little difficult to digest, so I modify it and say that these memories are conditionally good.
The should-have-forgotten memories would involve people, things and places from whom and which and where, you came away with a negative or at least a less than desirable experience. So, would you like to repeat it? I would not! But if I forgot, would I not risk repeating it??
In all chances I might. but I would like to spend my finite life doing things I love, what is meaningful and constructive, enjoyable or whatever else that my values guide me to do.
My negative memories remind me of the persons, places and things that are not compatible with my values, so I steer clear and know how to cope if I cannot.
I would remember those who do not deserve my goodness (or do not deserve to be punished by the compulsion of having to bear me) – oh, so liberating!
So where would I get that liberation from if I did not have memories?? I believe that memory is the same thing to an individual what history is to a culture. And like history, memory can either trap you or liberate you, depending upon how you use it.
For all the gaps, filters, twisting and fading, if we have no memories, we have no maps and we know our terrain poorly to that extent. Quo Vadis?
So, next time when I would be tempted to preach someone about memories and forgiving, I am going to say that know yourself – and surround yourself with people who value what you have. Else, one of the two parties is going to have to practice the dictum of “Forget-and-forgive”.