We spend most of our time teaching people how to remember stuff. Occasionally students do not want to remember, but instead they want to forget.
Many (all?) of us have dramatic or unpleasant experiences in our life that shape us as people and hunt us in our dreams. More often than not during our life we ask for the ability to forget the things that hunt us. To do this we suggest to use some very simple properties of our memory.
- Each time we remember something we relive it. The same neurons fire in our brain, as if we would actually live through the experience.
- Each time we relive our memory, we react a bit differently. Our reaction shapes our perception of the event, adding some details and removing others.
- Each tune we reshape our memory, we think that the original experience was equivalent the modified experience of the last time we remembered something.
Now we do not need hypnosis to change our memory. We could think of small details that could improve the way we remember the event and then relive the event, using these new details. It is important to change the memory gradually over time, or our brain would reject the trickery. Time after time revisit the events adding minimal details, and watch your emotional reaction. At the beginning you may feel powerless, enraged and hurt. With time you may change your perception from victim to hero, from helplessness to active resistance, from failure to learning experience.
You will success when you can accept and forgive the event, since it made you stronger and wiser.
I was not able to forgive or forget the way my classmates behaved to me when I was 10 years old [nothing too big: beating up, ethnic jokes, feeling powerless]. When I was 30 I still occasionally woke up feeling helpless and hurt, hoping for revenge. Meditation did not help. The trick above I learned from hypnosis and NLP. After using it for several months I was finally able to forgive and understand my experiences as empowering and shaping. It took me another year to forgive. I do not remember details of my disgrace any more, I just remember how I started to work out afterwords….
Probably you cannot forcefully fully forget something sufficiently meaningful and you probably cannot accept and forgive your suffering. However each time you relive the event you may shape it slowly the way that is instrumental for eventual acceptance and forgiveness.