Self

Why The Memories You Choose To Forget Are Actually Worth Remembering

Photo: Natalia Lebedinskaia / Shutterstock
woman sitting in the dark with cup of coffee

By Harry Pearse

Memories lost and memories found. What does that mean? Well, I guess it tries to explain the precariousness of your existence. Think about it.

Remember that one time in school or college or university, when you just felt alive!

You felt like your problems were the most important and existential thing, but also wrestling with the explosive newfangled knowledge you had acquired, even coming to the understanding that the world is in pain... the world is hurting... the world is dying.

But then suddenly you have a tequila shot shoved in your face, or a plastic jug of beer, laced with the cheapest cinnamon whiskey the bar has to offer, and right there you realize that right now... I can’t change anything... and right now... I need to be present... I need to be here... in the now.

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The problem with that memory is that you just found it, kickin’ around your hippocampus, triggered by your association with your memories in recent times, and perhaps the memories that you thought had been lost, maybe ones that had been forever merged with another.

Consciousness is something of a beautiful mystery, which leads a long, winding, and perilous journey.

Something we would describe as... us. Me, you... the person, the character, the experiencer. One may argue that these ethereal pulses of persona and soul are little messages surging through all dimensions of us, like electricity feeding the appetites of a metropolis.

For example, memory is struck into present form after a trigger, which can come out of nowhere and can alter the present. Maybe it presents itself as a moment when you needed that memory to appear.

Whether these memories have a profoundly negative effect or a profoundly positive one, it’s an effect taking place at the moment; maybe we should become not only conscious about them, but curious, too.

Albert Camus once said, “No matter how hard the world pushes against me, within me, there’s something stronger — something better pushing right back.” Each one of us inevitably faces tough times and pain, which some suffer immensely on a daily basis.

The majority of us have our humanity within the conduits of our heart and soul, guiding us through intuition and memory of our experiences. And these memories are our past selves with learned knowledge, whispering guidance on how to proceed in the present.

It’s a complex and conflicting process and is not a "walk in the park" as some would say. We all know this.

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The song you listened to with an ex, or a visit to a place you went with a friend who is no longer here with us, it could even be the smell of something that brings you back to a time, that we have regarded as "hard to think about" — these can really be a horrific trip back in time.

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However, each one has meaning and a message.

Think of it this way: we are guiding ourselves from within. So why not look within to grow?

The relationships we create with others, and the memories embedded within them, are pure forms of trial and error. This does not mean that all of them are conquests that become forgotten; it is to say that we either prevail or we move on, a better person for it, with much vaster knowledge for the next similar experience.

We can use the strength and charisma that we bind with through having experiences. If they are experiences that are testing, ones that have been traumatic, or ones that have created a sense of sadness, we can use those tribulations as a seed to bloom from.

A lotus flower doesn’t just become beautiful from the moment it spawns — it must rise through the dirtiest, darkest, midst of a pond and upsurge towards the light. Only after the toughest of trials can it then blossom into a divine satori, screaming its beauty from its petals of wander.

Any confrontation, challenge or experience we have is always a lesson to the within, to you. To help us grow as an individual, to help us blossom our experiential flower, and to help become a good person, with stories and lessons to pass on to the next wanderer.

We should use our memories and our experiences, not to cast a shadow over us or others, but to rejoice with the past.

You can use these moments to rejoice who you have been and who you are now. In turn, the more we look within ourselves to develop from our experiences and become more aware, empathetic, and compassionate, the more change we will make across the globe, to tear down the systemic inequality around the world.

We can show solidarity to the downtrodden, which ironically is probably most of us in one way or another.

We can allow ourselves to grow into the people we were always meant to be.

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Harry Pearse is a contributor to Unwritten, writing about lifestyle and self-reflection topics. Visit his author profile for more of his work.

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This article was originally published at Unwritten. Reprinted with permission from the author.