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  • Colton James Townsend

It's Good to Forget!

I've discovered two powerful leading statements which can be used to shape our memories (because, as I've recently learned from Dr. Jordan Peterson, our memories don't exist to tell us the past, they exist to aid us now and into the future!)


The reason you have memories is so that if something bad happened to you in the past you can figure out what it was... and you can figure out why it happened and then you can not do it again in the future. β€” Dr. Jordan Peterson

Here's what I've come up with: Two leading statements to shape my mind and counteract any resistances and addictions that have been getting in my way.

  1. "I forgot ______."

  2. "I remember ______."


These leading statements help me to focus on useful and fortunate "memories" which are applied generally in one of two ways.

  1. "I forg0t" ______ (something I truly want to forget about and push more out of awareness. The effects of alcohol, for example).

  2. "I remember" ______ (a positive quality about a habit or behavior to reinforce my decision to choose a better option for myself. The freedom of saying "no", for example).


"I forgot where to find beer at the grocery store."

&

"I remember how much more time I have available when I don't permit other people to control my schedule."

One might liken this type of internal dialogue to giving oneself suggestions in the forms of little white lies and overly-dramatized payoffs. I say, do it: Tell a fib; Exaggerate rewards; Reshape my memory.


This practice I'm developing for myself it to get into the habit of letting go of negative transactions (sabotage) and feeling confidence to engage in positive transactions (nourishment). This letting go is good forgetting. The

  • Good forgetting (release) = "I forgot that I ever enjoyed smoking cigarettes"

  • Good remembering (encouragement) = "Ah, I remember how good it feels to go for a run outside"


TAKEAWAY: I can direct my forgetting in a manner which better serves me. I can summon my remembering to accomplish the same.



What if we flip this process around a bit?

There's something else interesting here, which I might regard as forgetting-to-remember.


Because in the previous dialogue, "I forgot that I ever enjoyed smoking cigarettes," it seems pretty impossible to NOT think about cigarettes while communicating the statement.


Forgetting-to-remember = Seeing as it's basically impossible to say "I forgot BLANK" without somehow still thinking about and remembering whatever that BLANK was, I'm finding I can have a little extra fun with the leading statement "I forgot ______."


The trick is that I'm saying the "I forgot" statement, BUT I'm using it to remember something positive I want to reinforce, just as the "I remember" lead is intended.


"I forgot how delicious blanched collard greens are!"


Okay, so I didn't really forget in the traditional sense (I would argue that since I don't have this thought 100% of the time, until I've conjured "yummy collard greens" into my awareness, I have temporarily forgotten it, right?). Oh, it don't matter 'cause my darn brain don't know any difference!


Maybe there's even a case for remembering-to-forget, too? As in, "I remember how terrible I felt after drinking coffee in the evening." ... Seems like a fair two-sided adaptation.

Journaling Exercises

Write myself a couple lists:


I totally forgot about _____ (something I would normally consume impulsively, against my best interests).


Forgetting to Release

I forgot all about what using ______ was like.

I forgot why I ever enjoyed ______.

I forgot that I still have a baby tooth.

I forgot what's on the menu at Taqueria Yungapeti.

I forgot what alcohol tastes like.

I forgot how long I've been working.


Remembering to Reinforce

I remember how simple it is to prepare healthy foods at home.

I remember how cheap paper and pens are.

I remember how quickly I can get back into shape.

I remember why cold showers are so amazing!

I remember what cuddling with someone feels like.


Forgetting to Remember

I forgot how quick and easy it is to ______.

I forgot how wonderful I feel after a ROMWOD breath and flexibility workout.

I forget how close the YMCA is to my house.

I forgot how easy it is to go for a run around the parks in my neighborhood


Remembering to Forget

I remember how gross my mouth feels after drinking coffee.

I remember how tired I get when I fall to sleep watching YouTube videos.


Additional Resources

A good compilation video of Jordan Peterson audio around the Hero's Journey:

https://youtu.be/SaL-OqkAtNw


Art of manliness podcast "The surprising benefits of forgetting":

https://www.artofmanliness.com/character/behavior/podcast-750-the-surprising-benefits-of-forgetting/



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