Our Ability to Forget

“The best and worst gift that we have ever been given is the ability to forget.”

I came across this idea last night when I was contemplating the reasons why we forget the things that we dream about or simply cannot remember them in the first place.  Our brain only has a certain capacity for remembering things, especially our short-term memory.  Our long term memory, on the otherhand, is thought to be limitless.  Why is it then that we forget things? Are they simply not forgotten but instead lost in our own heads?

This got me thinking on the topic of forgetting. Being forgetful is one of the best gifts that we have ever been given simply for the fact that some things are not worth remembering. For instance, who wants to remember that one person who blew you off, made a total fool of you, and never talked to you again? That’s right. No one! We eventually forget the mistakes we have made, the things that have gone wrong, and all the times we wish we could change. We are given the ability to move on and not remember, and that is a gift.  Being forgetful is also beneficial when it comes to memories that cause pain, like losing loved ones.  Even though it sucks to not to remember the experiences you’ve had, it’s all part of the healing process. Maybe forgetfulness is a coping mechanism that helps us move on with our lives and ensure happiness.

Being forgetful is also one of the worst gifts we’ve ever been given simply because, well, we have forgotten something.  How many hours of our life do you think we have wasted searching for things we have forgotten? Like car keys, ID’s, the remote control, meetings, birthdays, the list goes on.  It’s also a terrible gift because there are just some things that we want to never forget. Like the time we spend with the ones we love and the milestones in our life that come to pass too soon. But it is inevitable, isn’t it.  Time heals all wounds and also makes us forget.

Except certain memories that I have. Some are so encoded into my brain that I could never possibly forget them. One trigger and they are back in a flash.  Of course, I can’t remember the specifics but most of our memories are fasely constructed anyway.

So the real question is, how do we know which elements of our memories are real or not real?


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