Some thoughts of mine:
Memories cannot normally be forgotten, so therefore, they must be dealt with. I think that due to human nature we tend to dwell on the negative more than the positive. I believe we are prone to be more stressed and unhappy because, at least to me, it seems we are programed to dwell more on unpleasant memories than pleasant ones. However, I do think that everyone has the ability to overcome this tendency and feel more happiness by taking the time to deal with their memories. I believe we can learn to file memories away in our minds so that they are manageable and yet we can control them instead of vice versa. Now, I’m no expert, nor am I a doctor and I don’t pretend to be. I just know this problem of being haunted by bad memories is real for many people including myself and I am only sharing how I feel and how I deal with it in hopes that it might help someone else as it has helped me.
I have endeavored to write this in a way so that it doesn’t incite anyone to ridicule it or be offended by it, as it is plainly my opinion only. Other than references to myself, it is targeted at no one particular. So, If you think I am referring to you then I am sorry, because it is not aimed at any one person. Also, I realize even though I refer to memories in terms of good or bad that there are differing degrees of each. I know that an unpleasant memory of the death of a loved one is different from a vehement argument or fight with someone. I know that hurt feelings or the pain of lost love from a breakup is not a pleasant memory, but isn’t the same as an unexpected, tragic loss of life event that can happen to anyone. So, all memories need to be evaluated and then dealt with according to how they are rated by the individual themselves on a scale from good to bad. The best good memories can be kept close at hand and recalled anytime we wish to bring a smile or an euphoric feeling to help uplift our spirit.
Bad memories can be filed in the back end of the bottom drawer of our brain’s filing cabinet so that they aren’t always popping up unexpectedly and causing the sadness or anger to wash over us again and again. Of course, we will have learned from the experience, but we don’t have to keep dragging the painful memory with us everywhere we go, and bringing it up all the time doesn’t help us get past it, but in my opinion just keeps rubbing salt in the open wound. One very important factor, for me at least, is to forgive one’s self and reconcile the feelings of guilt over things which one had no control, yet somehow want to blame one’s self for or feel that one must bear this burden for life. You are not dishonoring anyone’s or anything’s memory or showing a lack of concern simply because you no longer talk about it all the time. We all must move on, failing to do so is very detrimental to our own selves. Yes, I have bad and unhappy memories that have accumulated in my lifetime, but I refuse to let those be the controlling force in my life or guide what I do and how I feel all the time. I am not a callous, coldhearted of uncaring person because I choose when and how I will recall my memories both good & bad. I have found that by compartmentalizing my thoughts into imaginary mind folders and filing stuff accordingly, I can be a much happier and consequently, a much nicer person to be around. I have realized that I can actually enjoy my own company and look forward to each day, wondering what it might hold for me.
If you have been struggling with this also, I encourage you to begin thinking about this method of managing memories which you can control yourself and to work on putting your thoughts into these mind folders and set them in their place within your brain. It probably won’t happen immediately and for some people it may take more effort than others, but the reward is worth the effort. As you do this it will become easier to manage your thoughts and you will feel much less a prisoner of your unpleasant memories. How I find it works best for me is to find a place where I can be alone with my thoughts for a while. Then I relax and breathe in & out in a easy calm way. Then I try to see & replay the prevailing memory as a vision in my mind. This helps me, I think, much like when people say, “if you fall off the horse, get up and get back on again”. Trying to remember the entire ordeal allows me to avoid “zeroing” in on and sensationalizing bits and pieces of the unpleasant thoughts which can then become stuck in the mind’s eye and be stumbling blocks which are tougher to deal with. After, I have thought about it sufficiently I begin to tell myself that I have no reason to continue punishing myself with this painful memory and that I need to allow it to go into the archived portion of my mind only to be brought out again when I consciously choose to do so. I don’t have to deal with the good stuff so much because I want it to be out front more and it helps me stay or get back in a happy mood. The good memories will mostly just fall into place once you learn how to deal with the unpleasant memories.
Now, you must start believing that the memory has been given its due attention and is safely filed away in your mind in the event you want to see it again, but that it won’t just pop up out of nowhere and overtake your emotions again. You need to tell yourself that you believe this method will work. You may have to repeat the effort in the beginning to help train your mind to think this way, but like so many things in life, if you believe in it and keep doing it, I believe it will work.
Please have a great day!! 🙂