3 Simple Steps to Forgive and Heal Bad Memories : Healing Through Forgiveness Series, Part 2

3 Simple Steps to Forgive and Heal Bad Memories : Healing Through Forgiveness Series, Part 2

“If we really want to love we must learn how to forgive.” ~ Mother Teresa

Last week when we started talking about Forgiveness, we spoke of how important it was to forgive yourself and others. If you haven’t read that article{the first part of this series} I suggest you read it too, so that you can truly and very simply start understand the healing power of forgiveness.

A few years back I was also in the “I cant forgive them cause they hurt me so badly” camp. There was one such person, who had caused me a lot of pain and trauma. Life altering trauma….that I just couldn’t get myself to forgive. It was 10 years since the traumatic event, and I was beginning to feel the weight of the anger still seething inside me. It was eating away at my spiritual growth and overall well being. Here I was on the path to ‘being love’ in all areas of my life, and this deep wave of not being able to forgive this person was holding me back. I felt this inner need to just let it go. Not because what they did was forgivable in any way, but because this pain inside me was eating away at my core happiness. I realized that it was time, I stop giving them power over my happiness.

In this post I share how I forgave and healed from that past bad memory and more:

This is the Part 2 of the “Healing Through Forgiveness Series” of Articles. 

“When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.” ~Unknown

To learn to forgive and heal from past bad memories its imperative to first understand and identify between the good and bad memories. All of us have a vault of memories, that in itself can be the material for many many bestselling books and movies! We all have had heartache & pain, happiness & serenity, peace & contentment in our past. Amazingly when our memories come forth, they come in waves-waves of either happiness or sadness. And many times these memories can bring up lots of pain too, which hinder our growth.

There are 2 types of memories:
Good memories- The memories that make you happy, make you smile and make you want to relive that moment over and over again, each time making you happier and happier. Good memories help you regain your confidence, make you feel better about everything in you and around you.
Bad memories- The memories that make you un-happy and bring forth a very strong pain in the heart. You can’t help but cry..and usually you stay in this state for a whole day or week or even a month. A bad memory is like a scar on your heart. The more you fidget(think) with the scar, the deeper and more painful it becomes. When you apply an ointment and leave the scar alone, the faster it heals.

Sometimes, its a smell, sometimes its just a color, sometimes its probably a date on the calendar….anything can spark a memory. Good or bad…memories are there and they can’t be undone. In-fact you being the star of all your memories, its hard to forget too. But, who says you have to forget. You should remember…its part of your healing process.
The bad memories though, are like scars on your heart and soul. If they come and bring you intense pain, sadness and leave you with an inability to function for a set period of time-you NEED to heal them! NOW!

3 Simple Steps to Forgive and Heal Bad Memories

“The act of forgiveness takes place in our own mind. It really has nothing to do with the other person” ~ Louise Hay

Don’t be too daunted, its not difficult and certainly not impossible to heal from the past. And believe me if I could do it so can you! It just takes a bit of will power on our part and an intense need to live a happy love-filled life.
Here are a 3 steps you can start working on. These will work like the ointments on those past scars and help you to forgive and heal them:

{Step One} Be Conscious at all times-

Which literally means, don’t think on autopilot. Sometimes we are just going through our day literally automatically. In order to make sure, your bad memories don’t crop up unexpectedly and cause you to spoil your day, you need to consciously think. Example-when you wake up, in your mind tell yourself, today will be a good day. While brushing your teeth, think about brushing your teeth, not about something else…and so on. Be in the Present moment as much as possible. It will take some practice on your part, but you will master this. When you are in the NOW, no past can hinder your growth in this very moment. No past bad memory can control your today, unless you let it. The choice is ultimately yours.

{Step Two} Forgive the bad memory and all in it-

If a bad memory does come up, don’t shoot it down. Let it come up, let it bring up whatever feelings it has to. But, cause you are now consciously thinking and aware of it, try and deduce why this particular memory is causing you so much heartache. Usually its either you blame yourself or someone else. Which means forgiveness is the only way of healing from it. This was exactly true in my case too. I blamed me for not being able to handle myself more sensibly during that traumatic phase. I blamed everyone for not supporting me. I blamed and blamed and blamed and only then after 10 years did I realize, “I am only hurting me. This is all only happening in my own head.”
THIS this is the point when -> You need to forgive yourself and whoever is in that memory as I did. Consciously forgive. You need to physically if possible write this memory down on a piece of paper..in as much detail as possible. Let it bring up emotions. I cried and cried when I wrote the whole trauma down on that piece of paper. The paper was drenched in my pain and tears. Once this particular memory is on paper, read it and then tear this paper into tiny tiny bits and either throw it in the bin or in a near by pond or river..all the while forgiving yourself and all in that memory. If at first you mentally find it difficult to forgive its ok. Repeat this action as many times with the same memory as possible. Usually it wont take you more that 2-3 paper tears to get over it. It took me 3 cycles of writing and paper tears. This whole process lets you forgive and release all negativity from your system, thereby speeding up your internal healing and letting your true self emerge. That self which was hidden under the layers of negativity & painful memories.

{Step Three} Make it stick!(optional step)

After I allowed myself to let go of this traumatic memory, I decided I needed to take this a step further to make sure I had truly forgiven myself and all those in it. So, I called up this person, went to meet her and actually told her that although I was very very hurt by what happened years back, I needed to start fresh and put it behind me. I told her that I have forgiven myself for being the way I was, and I forgive you too for hurting me. Lets put it behind us. Her reaction was “stun”! She quietly listened to me and agreed to not let it put a strain on further interactions. While we are not crazy about each other, we are cordial and it makes for calmer interactions. Most Importantly, I AM AT PEACE! Please note: do this third step ONLY if you feel you are comfortable to face the person who has hurt you and are prepared for ANY reaction. Or else Stick just to the step 1 and 2. Hence, this is optional.

With the above 3 steps, you will be able to get over any and all those bad memories you have stored within you, which are literally a hindrance in your potential growth. When you let go of these bad memories and forgive yourself, you make space within you for SO much love, peace and positivity. Which in the grand scheme of living your authentic life and finding your true calling are milestones for Complete Self Healing and over all inner peace.

The best part of this process is, you are now thinking positive healing thoughts instead of constant painful thoughts. You are now making positive memories and positive choices. In a few years from now, when you think back to this time of your life, you will have only good memories and will be free of those haunting bad memories that weigh you down. I’m not saying you won’t have any bad experiences in life..ofcourse you will, but your internal positive health will help you bounce back faster. It will make you stronger and more healed.

*In the 1st Post ~ FORGIVE TO TRULY HEAL, we learned how important forgiveness is to our own healing.
*In this 2nd Post we learned HOW to truly forgive.
By no means is the topic of forgiveness a simple one to handle or apply. There are still many many facets to truly reach that space of complete healing. This series Healing through Forgiveness is my attempt to help you reach that space of complete healing.
*In the next post I’ll share passages and stories of true forgiveness in the real world as I have personally been witness to. There is one that is especially moving.. Please subscribe(click here) and stay updated of the latest in this series and more!

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15 thoughts on “3 Simple Steps to Forgive and Heal Bad Memories : Healing Through Forgiveness Series, Part 2

  1. Forgiveness gives me peace of mind. It took four decades for me to really get that and know that I wasn’t letting other people off the hook either by tending to my peace. And to know that forgiveness didn’t mean forgetting or giving the “forgivee” a way back into my life.

  2. To truly heal yourself you must be willing to move from our “pleasure world” of main stream consciousness and acknowledge, and stay in, with inner pride, your own suffering. The mainstream world we live in fills us with media portraying easy living devoid of pain. Freeing yourself means you must leave the fairy dust fantasies of what you SHOULD have in life and accept the painful realities that have come your way.

    1. Hi Shiv,
      While acceptance is key to peace of mind and happiness, I also believe we should always strive and work towards our purpose for existence. For when we stop working towards our own self refinement, we cease to LIVE. But I agree with you, we need to get real and accept life as it is with all its ups and downs….only then can we know what our true purpose is and work towards it.
      Thank you for sharing your lovely thoughts here.
      Much Love~

  3. Such a thoughtful article! I find that when I am “conscious” and these negative thoughts pop up I say to myself, “Let it go.” It serves as a reminder that I have the conscious ability to dismiss the once-painful memories. Thank you for your post!

  4. Great post, Zeenat. I have been saying your affirmation from the first post and it’s been helping me to get ready for phase 2, which you share in THIS post. Thanks again. Looking forward to the next one.

  5. Beautiful followup to your inspiring post last week Zeenat! I have seen the power of forgiveness in my own life and the lives of my clients and appreciate the strategies you shared. I love this quote: “When something bad happens you have three choices. You can let it define you, let it destroy you, or you can let it strengthen you.” ~Unknown. Choosing forgiveness and to be strengthened by our life experience is so liberating and empowering and we have the power to inspire others with our courageous act! Thank you!

    1. Hi Kelly,
      Sometimes, we think that forgiveness is unnecessary.. many of my clients almost think its ridiculous…its only after they have actually experienced its power do they realize this is infact freeing and courageous.
      Thank you for sharing your beautiful thoughts here.
      Much Love~

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