Posted by: Judy | March 16, 2012

Forgive and forget… or not…

How many times was I told to forgive and forget? I lost count.

When I told my counselor about a particularly unpleasant memory, I was so relieved. Then I began to forget. What a blessing! At least, it’s what I expected. But it wasn’t.

You see, I began to doubt it had happened. Maybe it wasn’t as bad as I’d painted it. Maybe I had made it up.

I began to fight for the memories. I needed to remember it was as awful as I remembered. I didn’t make it up.

Here’s the difference: I came to realize that I used to remember in an attempt to hold the other person accountable. Now, I hold onto the memory to be sure I remember why I know some of the lessons I do.

If I forget, how will I learn? How do I keep from making the same mistakes?

What I’m forgetting: The rage and bitterness. Mostly.


  1. I learned the same thing. If I don’t remember then I am set up to have it happen again. I also am learning that when I have forgiven I am no longer afraid. I like not feeling the fear. I am still cautious and not trust someone but they no longer have power over me.

    • Thanks for bringing up the trust aspect, how it’s not interchangeable with the rest but an issue all its own.

  2. I still have some memories like that … they were once so crystal clear, and sometimes they would cut through my memories so deep that I could feel the sting of every moment … and then, over time, I begun wondering if I remembered them at all, or if I had fabricated them over time. Now I just trust that the memories will either focus sharply, or fade away, but the memories that live inside my head were real, and what I do with them is up to me.

    • I think that’s the key: “…what I do with them is up to me.” I can’t change what happened, but I can change how I allow what happened to me affect me, i.e., I can continue in the unhealthy behaviors I was taught, or I can learn and practice new healthy behaviors.

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