The term “forgive and forget” has made it’s rounds across all communities, controversially so. Many people have said to forgive but never forget, as if forgetting is the pathway to repeating. What many people do not realize is by holding onto the memory of anger, fear, sadness, or whatever you forgave, you are doing more harm to yourself than good. You even risk harming the people you love.

When emotional trauma happens, it can be hard enough to forgive. The thought of letting someone who hurt you back into your life again can be an intimidating one, but why is it so alarming? Is it the fear of recurrence, loss of trust, or have you even gotten used to the silent grudge you have against this person? All of these are what make forgiveness so arduous, but there is one tactic that makes forgiveness easier and much more worth it; forgetting.

The benefits of letting go of a memory that hurts you can majorly affect your outlook in a good way. No longer do you have to think about why the event happened, so you are freed from the burden of directing blame. No longer are you forced to replay the scenario in your head, thinking about what could have been done differently, so you can instead focus on all the joyful times you have had with this person while repairing your relationship with them. Finally, you have freed yourself from the chains of angst and regret. This will make you a happier and wiser person overall, since you have cleared your mind from the over bearing cloud of worry.

If you find yourself in a scenario where you are drifting away from someone, consider following the above. You may find that you can build stronger, happier, and healthier relationships with friends and family.