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Dwelling on a painful memory traps you in a hurtful place

Staying locked in past memories keeps you in a low place
Staying locked in past memories keeps you in a low place
Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images

When you dwell on a past insult or injury your mind does not recognize this as a past memory. If you find yourself traveling back in time to an argument, confrontation, or other event that shook you up, and find that emotions such as anger, fear, or humiliation flood in with your recollection, your mind is instantly transported back to that place and does not recognize that you are recalling the event, especially if your are still reacting to it negatively.

Why would you continue reliving a memory and allow it to continue bringing you hurt or shame? There is no more today that you can do about something that was done or said in the past. What you can do today is decide if you can try to understand what led up to the blowup, if the people involved can be forgiven, and why it still has such a stranglehold on you. Surely you understand by now that regardless of how bad you perceive the moment to have been, the sun has continued to rise, your life has continued to move on and likely there have been other offenses that have occurred.

If you find yourself thinking “I should have said this” or “I should have done that,” just stop it. The person with whom you exchanged the altercation is not in your head, so they are immune to the perfect comeback you have composed over time. The hurt that was first instilled ends up being the gift that keeps on giving which continues to cause damage with however much time has passed. Continuing today to fight an argument that occurred some time ago only stifles and traps you.

Although we inhabit the same body for the total of our time here, we do not have to perpetuate the same thoughts, patterns, or habits with which we started out. Getting into a habit of ruminating and torturing yourself is simply that, a habit. With acceptance and understanding of why these memories still have the impact they have on you, and then by letting them go, you can instill new patterns to cut off these thoughts. Observe that where you are today does not change a bit by spending your energy recalling a hurtful event. The person that you intend to grow into does not need anything to keep it from reaching its maximum potential. And, maximum potential is achieved by evaluating, accepting, and moving on, not staying stuck in the same place.