Does it not happen to you often what you want to remember for sure, you are more likely to forget; but the opposite does not happen for what you really want to forget – it haunts you more?
There are countless real life examples. You suddenly cannot remember name of known persons or places. You forget some words or spellings at a time, you need most! Minds of students become blank, while answering a question in examination, which they had precisely prepared well for.
Your boss has called you for annual review and you put down on a piece of paper all points of your accomplishments. When you come out after meeting with boss, you realize that you had overlooked half of those points! You have to deliver a speech in a conference and work hard to prepare. Harder you prepare, easier would you forget key points to speak.
On other hand, one fine morning before leaving for work, you have argument with your spouse for spending too much money on shopping. You would not be able get over the duel while driving on road, making it unsafe. On reaching office, you decide firmly to forget morning incidence; but you would lose your cool with your sub-ordinates, since morning duel keeps playing at back of your mind.
Why our memory fails at right moment but serves extra well at wrong one!
When we first memorize what we want to remember is in its pure form. See, what generally happens subsequently when we don’t want to forget it:
- Our first suggestion to mind to remember and not to forget is registered in our memory as “same information again with emphasis”.
- 2nd reminder registers it with a kind of stress.
- 3rd reminder accompanies usually with our perception of consequences for not remembering it.
- Then, we start to fear for possible consequences.
- So, when time comes to recall that information, our mind is loaded or preoccupied, making retrieval more difficult!
This is how purity of original information degrades.
Now, look at what we do to “What we want to forget”:
- What is that we want to forget – bad incidences, bad dream, wrong thought, worse scene, random ideas, irrelevant information and so forth!
By the time we come to a stage of wanting to forget any of above, it takes full circle and make its firm mark in our mind.
- Having decided to forget, it is rare that a person would not remember it again. Most people recall often to check whether they have forgotten it! Moment they do this, it dives deeper in their memory!!
- All of above incidences or information are associated with our anger, anxiety, disappointment, denial, obsession, repulsion or irritation, which are essentially past negative emotions.
Emotions are like cache memory of a computer in our brain. When our mental state is negative, the said emotions also pop-up and refresh that we want to forget.
- Normally, things that you want to forget fade over time, when your older biases i.e. emotions get superseded by new ones. But, you have to then struggle with new ones.
From above, you can observe that spontaneous response of our mind is reverse of what you should be doing and hence, struggle in remembering or forgetting!
Managing to forget is far more challenging than mastering to remember!
Ability to consciously forget, though more complex, makes mind and memory far sharper than capacity to remember!
We have lot of options to remember – memorize by practicing, making hard or soft notes. But, options to forget – nothing!
You frequently read about – to let go and forgiveness. These are flimsy or even fake, unless you have the ability to forget! Another extremely important thing every leader or preacher advocates is to live in present! People are hardly able to do that, because they are unable to forget past!!
How best to remember and forget, when you want to
To remember on time, here below is what you can do:
- Make hand written legible notes.
Note, writing by own hands creates stronger impression in mind. Chances are you may not even have to see your notes again. But, beware and be wary of making notes of too many things!
- Alternatively, you can make soft notes on your mobile, notepad or computer.
- Best option is to make mental note only once and link to the image of object, with which it is directly related. May be supplement it by abbreviated hand written note. And then, just don’t worry whether you would remember or forget; believe that heaven will not fall on earth, if you don’t.
To forget what you have to is much trickier and require thoughtfulness. Effective clues:
- Easiest is to do what you love or engage yourself gainfully.
However, this would give you temporary respite; not resolve it for good!
- You would be much better off, if you become broad minded.
- Real step is – come to terms with what you have to live without and believe that thing is no longer important. Losing importance of what you want to forget is the key to “Forgetting”!
You would soon realize there is a catch in above – you can lose importance or making the thing insignificant only when you drop your past emotions at least for things you want to forget!
Now, the most valuable information – what you want to actually forget is all out of your past memories, which have 2 parts – (a) Knowledge or information (b) emotions i.e. biases, obsession, pleasure, pain, fear or frustration. Usually, you latch on to past for fear of losing knowledge or information, which you actually don’t need to!
So, if you keep dropping your past emotions, you have nothing to lose but only to gain great ability to remember and forget what you need to. That would take you to the top of your life!