People go through ups and downs all the time. On the journey of life, we meet a mix of travelers. It is unlikely that we will only meet a certain type, or only those we like or dislike. After all, it is not a one-way road. At any time, the traffic flows both in and against our direction. Sometimes some people or events can hurt you so bad that you just want to erase them from your memory. You have even forgiven them, you want to move on but you find yourself unable to do so. Take it easy. It’s only human.
There are generally two possibilities that make you remember anyone: either you love that person or you hate that person. And there are only three reasons that make you want to forget somebody. One, their thought wells up negative emotions in you and throws you off-balance. Two, you still love them deeply but they have moved on. Three, despite your love, they don’t love you back. In any case, it hurts. If their memory doesn’t trigger any positive or negative emotion in you, there would be no need to forget that person. In fact, if you neither love nor hate the person you are trying to forget, you will forget them automatically. When their memory sparks neither good nor bad in you, it means you have moved on. But what to do when you do want to forget them? Read on.
If you find yourself thinking about that person, hold a mini self-dialog as the first step. Accept that you are missing them and that you are hurt. Talk to yourself. Repeat it a few times and watch your mind releasing the thought of that person. Releasing their memory is crucial if you want to forget them. A while back, I wrote an article on how to take your mind off unwanted thoughts during your meditation. You can read it here. Apply the same principle.
Give yourself time and each time their thought arises, simply and gently focus your mind elsewhere. Promise yourself that anytime you are reminded of them, you will not let that ruin your peace. And the way to protect your peace is to shift your focus. This is the most powerful method I know of. When the one you love leaves you, it creates a void in your life, a hole in your heart. You keep falling in that pit. You need to fill that gaping hole somehow. It is not easy but it can be done. When their memories come knocking on the doors of your heart, shift your attention. If you can divert your thoughts at that time, gradually the imprints will become lighter, the intensity of their memories will start to diminish.
Two kids found a pouch containing fifteen silver coins. One had spotted it and the other had picked it up. Each claimed ownership of the find. This led to an argument and ultimately they approached the wise Mulla Nasruddin with their quandary.
“Yes, please,” both said in unison.
“Alright, I’ll divide the coins between you two. But tell me, do you want me to do justice like a human or God?”
“Please do as God would.”
He counted the coins and gave twelve to one and three to the other. While they both stood there bewildered, said Mulla plainly, “That’s how He operates.”
Life can be unfair. When trying to forget someone, avoid any intellectual analysis like why it happened to you or how could they do this to you etc.. If you start to dissect, you will only sink in deeper. Any cogitation will only depress you more, it will drag you back to the field of memories — and that’s exactly what we want to avoid here. Trust me on this one. Simply take your mind off.
Both love and hate fetter you. You cannot forget anyone by continuing to love or hate them. If you want to forget them, you must become indifferent towards them. You become indifferent when you rise above the duality of love and hatred. Both love and hate touch our heart, whatever touches our heart leaves an imprint on our mind. It is those imprints that make up our memory store. It is for this reason that Vedic and other spiritual texts preach one to remain even. Being even is a step higher than being indifferent. Because being even is being indifferent with compassion, with empathy.
The greater the number of memories you have with someone, the harder it is to move on. Because memories indicate a commitment of time. The number of memories is directly proportional to the amount of time you invested with the person. How big or how easily an investment can one write off varies from one person to another. You cannot erase a person from your mind by trying to not think about them.
A good question would be: do you need to forget in order to forgive or must you forgive first so you may forget? Well, when you have negative feelings towards someone: you need to forgive so you may forget. Unless you forgive them, you cannot be even, until you are even, you can’t be indifferent, and forgetting is not possible without indifference. Only what is forgivable is forgettable. Mind you, forgiveness and reconciliation are not synonyms; something for another time.
Love yourself. Value yourself. Consequently, you will not miss those who do not love or value you.