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How can I forget about the bad memories of my past?

275 Answers
Last Updated: 01/05/2022 at 5:29pm
1 Tip to Feel Better
Moderated by

Jennifer Patterson, LMFT, ATR-BC

Art Therapist

Life can be messy. Sometimes you need a little support to make your way through it. I love to help guide people through their challenges & to find the beauty in our messes.

Top Rated Answers
November 17th, 2015 4:14am
You can't forget so easily, but you can accept it. Don't think so hard about your past, live in the present. Come to terms with the past, vent a little, and then move on. You don't need to forget, you just can't let yourself be bothered by it so much anymore. This may take several methods of management. Get creative and talk things out.
July 3rd, 2020 11:50am
Painful memories can sometimes be really difficult to forget. There is no rush, and no compulsion to do so. The brain does tend to remember traumatic events, which can, in severe cases, lead to traumatic stress disorder and a difficult, hard time dealing with similar events/triggering events that occur in the present moment. Past events can creep up on us sometimes - that is not a deficit or in any way at all our fault. Studies have shown (and researchers have proclaimed) that it's a lot harder for us to forget bad memories/experiences - but, good news; it is 100% possible. In mental context, we can try to block out hard memories, or perhaps distract ourselves from said memories if we find ourselves drifting into a state of thinking about them. Sometimes, chatting to a close relative, a long-time partner or a best friend about our experiences can be of some benefit to us, as "a problem shared is a problem halved."
July 14th, 2015 10:19am
Well, unless you have amnesia or something... You can't forget the past and your future is shaped based on how you let your past affect you... Therefore, ... Even though forgetting is not really an option.. What you can do is accept it and let it strengthen you. Focus on the present and live your life with passion and love and care for yourself mostly. You can't change what's already been done. So the best way is to use it to your advantage. :)
April 29th, 2015 11:47am
Focus on the future and not the past because we can't change what happened in the past but we can control what will happen in the future. Therefore, when bad memories from your past keeps popping up, then distract yourself by thinking of something that is happening currently. Practice mindfulness, it'll be useful for this case!
April 22nd, 2015 11:40pm
You'll never forget them, but with time you will realize your bad experiences have made you the person you are today. You will realize you have been able to learn from them and in time they won't seem so bad. It's called acceptance. You cannot change what happened, no one can, but it does become more bearable.
October 19th, 2015 8:29pm
Its hard to forget about something you cared about. A better way might be to try to improve your perspective upon what happened. Even if you cannot change your past you have the power to give new interpretations/meanings to your memories. That can help you move on easily and connect with better situations in the future.
July 6th, 2015 5:09pm
You can forget about the past by just focusing on the future. If you always carry that baggage around about your past then you'll never completely heal. Focus on what lies ahead of the road and make any goals or dreams come true if you have any. Don't look back that'll make you walk backward instead of forward.
September 1st, 2015 4:51pm
You never completely forget about the bad memories of your past. They are a part of you. It is your job to make sure that they become a good part that drives you to succeed so that one day you can look back and see how far you have come from that moment when that bad memory was created.
June 7th, 2016 4:43pm
You can not forget about bad memories, however, you can learn and move on from them and remove anything or anyone from your life who seem to trigger them bad memories from your past. Just remember, them bad experiences you may have had will NEVER define you as a human and everyone deserves the best in life. We all have secrets and bad memories, however, it is up to us to put them aside and ofcus on what really matters to us. I hope this helps.
September 15th, 2016 2:41am
Memories are things that are not easy getting rid of. Make the memories positive and something that you can learn from. Rather than looking at it as a bad thing. Memories shape and make you to be wiser for future endeavors.
January 26th, 2017 3:47pm
You remind yourself there's nothing you can do about the past and to not think about it. You live in the now and you can change your tomorrow and your future because it's up to you. You shouldn't let your past dictate what you are today or in the near future. You will be okay and your bad memories will fade away when you focus on the good thing you have now and later in life.
November 9th, 2015 2:23am
It's not about forgetting all your bad memories. It's about accepting them as a learned lesson and move on. All that happens to us has a important part in our lives. Good things bring good memories and bad thing bring wisdom. We have to accept all the things life does to make us better people. Respect and embrance your mistakes and flaws, and you will be fufilled.
July 16th, 2017 3:42am
Take a deep breath. It is not going to be easy. It will be painful and hurtful. But, let time do its magic. Take one step at a time and when you start realising how pointless it is to dwell over the past, you have already done it! Nothing is going to be easy and you just have to be ready to face all the challenges being thrown at your face!
September 25th, 2016 6:53am
Make new awesome memories, that will be stronger than the Bad Memories of your past live in the here and now
May 29th, 2015 6:34pm
You just have to set your focus on things in present and matters more. And you must surround yourself with positive people.
December 16th, 2016 11:13am
To forget the padt, create new memories worth thinking of instead. Find things that help you forget it.
December 9th, 2017 7:38pm
This question haunted me for more than a decade. What I found out after reoccurring nightmares and reacting spontaneously to various triggers in the day? You can't. And you know what? That's perfectly okay. It's my belief that for better or worse, everything happens to us for a reason. I can honestly say, despite all the horror and pain I've been through that leave others wondering how I'm even alive, I have finally, finally, confronted my past and made peace with it. Examine the past for what you can take away from the experience. Without it, you would not be who you are today. The true benefits, may still be in shape, transition, as of now. A lot of times these bad memories remain as bad memories (yes, it is possible for that part to change), because they are unresolved. They keep coming back because they’re unfinished and so come back in search for completion. Many psychological theories exist today and a combo I truly feel captures a human in pain is the existential-positive. In that, rather than giving a client coping skills to help deal with a weakness till they can hide, instead, help them confront what's negatively effecting them with support and compassion. Let them focus, not on their weakness, but on their strengths so that they can not only overcome, but rise above the obstacle. A good analogy I personally view this as is illnesses. You could, could, stay indoors all the time and not be around other people, all in an attempt to escape contagious things. But, would that be "living" or merely "surviving"? Instead, lets glove up our hands, keep our minds and body healthy, so that while we encounter life (both its pros and cons) we can defend ourselves from the here and there storms. Bottom line, don't spend your life running. Do not allow that obstacle, that pain, to control you well past its initial impact. When you do, you’re giving it power and allowing it to take charge of you and your happiness. I got sick of it finally and turned the plates for GOOD. So can others. You stop, turn around, and in a take charge voice even, you tell it, "No more! This stops now! I am a good person that deserves happiness! What happened, happened, as in past tense. I acknowledge you as part of my past and a contributor to my true self in making me stronger. Now, be gone! I am done with you!" Sometimes, saying this out loud to yourself, saying it in a commanding voice, and hearing you yourself say the words with the feeling of power, can REALLY assist. Obviously, you can tweak the words of empowerment per the situation as well.
November 4th, 2020 6:19am
How can I forget my past bad memories? With gratitude, that I have been through it. I accepted that bad experience as part of my destiny. Then I always try to "have positive self-talk" and take care of myself so that I love myself ... After that, the next step is that I enjoy activities that I like and hobbies, I am immersed in books or writings that I write, I share smiles with people around me, especially my family. And I do a variety of social activities, including volunteering here as active listener in 7 Cups, because I go through all the bad things, and happiness feels more beautiful when we help other people's distress. Happiness makes me forget all those bad things. Thankyou.
September 22nd, 2015 5:01am
It is hard to forget bad memories but you have to accept them instead of trying to deny them. Each memory whether good or bad shapes us into the people we are today. Embrace the memories and try to understand why things happened and come to terms with it.
October 21st, 2016 9:15am
don't forget your memories but don't always focus on remembering them..once you know they are bad..and it hurts to remember such things..them just focus on not repeating same mistake twice..
February 28th, 2018 2:38pm
Think about the good memories. Think about your present. Be proud of yourself that in spite of those memories, those hard times, you fought so well and came out of it. Be proud that you survived. Those memories are your battles, the battles that you won.
June 10th, 2017 12:20am
Personally I think you shouldn't in most cases. There are often times many treasures in those scars. You just need to find them. Patience helps a lot in finding those treasures.
June 21st, 2017 4:28pm
Create new memories that are positive to reflect on for when the bad memories get you down. I don't think you can forget bad memories, I would use them as starting posts for character building
June 24th, 2017 2:15pm
I don't believe that you can forget but you can come to terms with them. Meaning that you can start to look at them differently. For me I start by saying that is the past today is different. I say to myself today is a new day and a new beginning.
July 21st, 2017 8:14pm
Sometimes things can be hard to fight, and occasionally dangerous to suppress. For me, the greatest thing is knowing that they are in your past. They can shape your future by knowing you git through them, remember that they aren't happening now, and they don't have to happen again. Things can make us better, or bitter.
December 13th, 2020 2:58pm
Some stuff in the past cannot be deleted even with time. But the effect induced by the recall of these bad memories can be changed. It all starts by a will to stop being triggered, and most importantly to accept the past as it can never be changed. No matter how hard it seems, acceptance provides a good step to move on. Our past never defines us, but what we work on today and what we put effort into becoming in the future does. We can see the past as an unhealed wound or a bad chapter filled with lessons. It may seem hard at the beginning, but with dedication to heal, move forward, make effort to accept, heal and improve then with time the effect will change and slowly the bad memories will be less triggering. Whoever is feeling haunted by bad memories from his past, I'd like to tell you that I've never seen a strong person with an easy past, we all screw up and endure hardships but that what makes us learn and grow. Embrace the storm, turn your wounds into wisdom as through hardships one becomes stronger and smarter!
April 9th, 2015 6:08pm
Look forward towards the new experiences you have. Find the good in the new thibgs you do. It will help you a lot!!
June 22nd, 2015 6:34pm
Focus on a positive future rather than looking back at what happened. If you do look back, look how far you have come!
February 23rd, 2016 4:28am
Bad memories cannot always be 'forgotten', but if you try to replace a bad memory with a good one of similar nature, it may have the same effect. Try to associate certain experiences with good memories instead of bad.
September 29th, 2016 5:34pm
You can never forget any type of memories from the past, as they make you who you are today. They become the stories you tell. In order to forget about the bad memories, the simplest way is to move on and heal from the past. Time is always a great catalyst to healing, but you can put in some effort by doing something you love, travel, or meeting your friends or more new people! :)