As a child, I was unexpectedly punched in the nose by another child, it bled, I cried. The incident kept reappearing in my thoughts over the years. And the memory of the event would trigger certain feelings, sometimes I’d feel a pitiful embarrassment, sometimes a victimized injustice, and sometimes I’d feel a vengeful anger.
Even now I feel something, but I won’t let it linger. I noticed a twinge of unpleasantness in my mood, and stopped thinking about the incident. In the past, I was unaware that this was an option. Whenever an unpleasant incident appeared in my thoughts, my mind recalled it with vivid detail, completely souring my mood.
Eventually, I noticed that my moods were being influenced by my thoughts. I also learned that it was possible to ignore (or transform) particular thoughts. With practice, I was able to remove my negative outlook on life, the one I had been unwittingly fostering for many years.
Lingering memories played a large part in maintaining my dreary moods, so I no longer allow my mind to follow unpleasant memories when they appear. When memories are not allowed to linger, there’s nothing to keep the hurt alive. And in general, how are specific memories maintained, but by constant recall — so when these memories are no longer allowed to surface, they weaken. When I see them, I let them go. And as a consequence, unpleasant memories rarely enter my thoughts anymore.