Wednesday, June 26, 2024

Reminding You What to Forget

Earlier this week, I explained an effective technique for forgetting. A couple of readers wrote in to ask for examples. What sorts of things might a person want to forget?

My thoughts:

1. I want your life. Seriously. I want a cranium stocked with nothing but brownies and puppies and lazy summer days. Wow.

2. Perhaps I should have rounded out the essay with examples. The two big Slog complaints are: a. Explain more thoroughly! and b. Nobody wants to read through all that verbiage! So I try to be terse. And take pains to make things super-readable and entertaining (once a party-thrower, always a party-thrower). But, still, it's too damned wordy and too skimpily-explained. Other writers offer snarky epithets and memes, which swallow effortlessly and require no explanation. Why can't I be more like them?

3. Ok, here are your examples:
a. Driving alone, you find yourself mentally re-litigating some ancient argument. You want to let it go, but it keeps popping back up.

b. Taking a walk in a lovely park, your mind drifts to, consecutively, the car mechanic who ripped you off, the fact that you're fat, DONALD TRUMP, the fact that you're fat, and a montage of more productive things you should be doing.

c. You feel a sense of dread, but can't quite pin it down. This dread magnetically exhumes negative memories, feelings and associations, and you feel hopeless to cope with this influx.

e. You can't get anything done because your mind keeps flashing back to that awful thing that awful person said.

f. Negotiating a tricky situation, you undermine your self confidence by referencing previous failure.

g. Anything currently making you worried, sad, or stressed that can not be productively handled in the current moment. Any mental scab you feel compelled to pick at. The persistent echos of the last bad thing that happened.
As each arises, delegate. To whomever/whatever. With real heft. Take it seriously! Anything that pops up (if, and only if, it's not something you need to drop everything to deal with presently) can be handed off to some stable, established whomever/whatever. God. Your late grandpa. Your guardian angel. The labrador retriever you grew up with. The toy orangutan on your desk back home.

And as new ones arise (they clump, as you know!), do the same. Keep piling tasks upon your tireless and devoted delegatee.

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