“Forgive and forget.”
“The past is the past.”
There’s so many quips about forgiving, forgetting, and letting go of your past. In general, it’s all good advice. Holding grudges and resentment can be one hell of an anchor holding you down while you try to move through life. In most cases, it’s best to let the past go and keep your eyes forward.
When dealing with yourself, the most important person in the world, I think it’s necessary to do one and not the other. Forgiveness is a must. If you can’t forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made, you will forever be stuck with guilt and disappointment. Even in small doses, these things can be lethal. It’s imperative that you let go of that hurt and that anger that you’ve been holding against your being.
But I feel that forgetting is something we should avoid doing. By forgiving yourself (or forgiving others, even) you’re detaching the emotion and the humanness to the situation. What should remain is an objective-well, as objective as possible-view of the events that you’ve experienced. Don’t wipe away all memory of them. If you just forget your mistakes or overlook your failures, how will you ever grow? You won’t. You can’t.
If you forgive AND forget all of your mistakes, there will just be this cycle of mistake, forgiveness, mistake, forgiveness, and so on. There isn’t any lessons learned or concrete evidence that there should be any change. Absolutely forgive yourself. Come to terms with what you’ve done or haven’t done and feel your remorse for those missteps. But keep the memory of what decisions you made and what actions you took so you know exactly what not to do the next time.
“There is no failure. Only feedback.”
Humans make mistakes. Every single one of us. There are zero exceptions. Understand that and it becomes a whole lot easier to forgive yourself. But in remembering those mistakes and using that information to learn, change and grow, you will make fewer mistakes moving forward.
In that light, allowing yourself to not forget your past will cause less pain than the pain that would be caused by wiping out all memory of anything negative in your life.
What do you think? Forgive and Forget or Forgive and Objectively Remember?