Discussion Monday: Would you delete someone from your life and memory?



What is everyone up to this holiday weekend? We went golfing this morning (well Joel did, I just watched). It was a perfect day.

We don’t have major plans for the weekend. Most of what we’ll do consists of errands and a few projects around the house.

I thought I would share what is on my mind today…

A friend recently saw the movie “Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind,” and posed the question: “Is there anyone that you would like to permanently erase from your memory?”

While I have yet to see this movie, I find her question intriguing.

My first instinct was to think of anyone who had ever caused me pain, or any situation that made me miserable. Would removing this person or these situations from my memory be akin to never having known the misery they caused?

The ability to simply and permanently delete your misery with a single swipe? Yes please.

I can’t deny this sounds appealing.

However, with further thinking, I realized that anyone or any situation that caused me pain, is by default a significant part of my life.

After a great deal of thought, I came to recognize that in experiencing and processing through the miseries, my character and self have been undeniably shaped.

Indeed, my current self is as it is, due at least in part, to exposure to the full range of experiences, including agony, joy, and everything in-between.

So it would seem that to wish to permanently delete pain from my memory is to also wish to regress the very parts of myself that changed as a result of experiencing it.

Thus, I suppose the question then becomes: “Would you want to change the parts about your current self that were shaped as a function of pain?”

My response to this is… it depends.

Did those parts change for the better, or did they change for the worse? For example: Did the misery make me more compassionate, or did it actually make me more resentful?

In other words, did any good come of it?

It has taken me years (years!) to see the positive side of one experience in particular.

I now realized what I should have learned long ago, which is that it does not matter what people say or do. We cannot control others, only how we respond and react. And how we interact with others has a huge impact on the health of those relationships.

I learned a lot about forgiveness. Forgiving can be freeing. Once I chose not to hold a grudge, all the baggage of resentment and pain were tossed aside.

Another thing I learned is that forgiveness does not necessitate a relationship with someone who hurt you. It is possible to forgive while maintaining some healthy distance and boundaries.

So back to the original question: “Is there anyone that you would like to permanently erase from your memory?”

At this point, I would have to say no. Even the most absolute garbage experience has left me with some new piece of knowledge, or smoothed over some rough edge. And once the rawness of pain abates, I almost always realize that I am newly equipped with something to be grateful for.

Anyway, that ends my musings for today. I hope you all have a very relaxing and fun holiday weekend, wherever you are!




7 thoughts on “Discussion Monday: Would you delete someone from your life and memory?

  1. Europe seems to be on the same wavelength as you with this in their effort with Google in the ‘right to be forgotten’. With the internet and social media, everything is catalogued, but some things are better trashed.


  2. I agree, my first instinct would be to name a few people who have caused me pain. But you make a good point about us not being who we are if it weren’t for them. So I think, like you, my answer would be that I would not delete anyone.


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