Forgetting is something we are all familiar with.
What is fascinating about forgetting is how it can be viewed in so many different ways. The multiple ways in how it changes, becomes important to understanding better the texture of life that is full in its rich detail.
“To love until insanity” a good friend shared with me during a discussion of what it means to love unconditionally. Our ability to love unconditionally may require us to forget what another person has done or not done to hurt us in the past.
Forgetting here is like a glue that pieces together our egos after they have been damaged and now seek repair with each other. It also serves as an eraser, leaving only good thoughts in our heart with which to embrace our fellow man.
For radical change in an organization or our own lives, we sometimes need to forget what we know in order to piece together what may be possible. Forgetting here is used as leverage to help us possibly see a better and different future.
Forgetting is sometimes viewed by others as a fault. We can’t be trusted to finish something that was asked of us to do. Forgetting dissolves the trust that the other person had in us. We let them down.
Forgetting is sometimes used as our excuse for not really wanting to finish something. It keeps the pressure off us by not having to be honest with others.
At its extreme form, our constant display of forgetfulness leads others to stereotype us as an idiot or as an “absent minded professor”. The low expectations of us by others, caused by our forgetfulness, traps us like a spider web that is so hard to get out of as we age.
To forget can also be very helpful to keep our minds uncluttered. Forgetting “stuff”, especially from the past, sometimes protects us from the memory and hurt of a bad situation.
Other times, forgetting allows us to better focus on what is important to us in our own lives. When we forget we have more time to focus our attention on the present and what needs to be done to move our lives forward. It serves us well, at times, as a delete button in our old-fashioned lives.
Forgetting “in the moment” can be a very selfish act. Sometimes our selfishness can be good if it means that it propels us past our own self pity to get our lives back on track after a tragic event or series of events (divorce, death, severe illness, bankruptcy) to re-engage with life.
Forgetting “in the moment” can also be bad when it comes to doing something that doesn’t match up with the values we have been taught. When we do something and forget what the consequences will be by our actions.
Fascinating, isn’t it, that even though we all know what it means, forgetting and to forget can act in very different ways. While we don’t think about forgetting very often, it’s interesting to see all the ways we interact with it in our own lives.