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Curly Nikki

The ‘Forgive and Forget’ Theory

By January 27th, 202115 Comments
by Bennii Blast of The Culture Pine

During our lives we pick up a number of phrases that we may have heard others say, which then cement themselves into our own glossary. You know the kind; ‘you live and you learn’, ‘cat got your tongue’, or if you grew up with Caribbean parents you would have definitely heard; ‘those who can’t hear, must feel!’ Oh the memories….

One of those age old sayings that I pondered on for a minute today was the familiar phrase ‘forgive and forget’. How many times have you heard that one?

Let’s talk about the forgiving part first. Now, I am the worst person at trying to be mad at someone. It is almost insanely difficult for me to hold a grudge against anyone, because quite frankly, I don’t have the energy that holding a grudge takes. Also, forgiving is great food for the soul. Think about it…if you’re spending so much time and emotion into something that hurt you, you will allow it to hurt you even further by taking up energy that could be used to channel new, positive things in your life. Forgiving is something that should be done not solely out of pity for the other person, or because you’re a pushover – you should forgive to allow yourself to move on and do better. Not to mention that with Easter just around the corner…. we should acknowledge how our own sins were forgiven.

What about the ‘forget’ part? Well for me, I do not completely agree with this. Yes, to a certain extent we can forget as in to forgo, or refrain from continuing an argument, but I do not think we should forget in the sense of clean, erasing it from our memory. Why? A part from it proving to be rather difficult to simply remove parts of your memory, I think that we should remember them in order to learn from them. You can’t just forget the pain someone has caused you, and remembering that pain could be a defence mechanism in preventing it from happening again. It will provide you with a valuable tool in being aware of those around you, and learning from any mistakes.

So, I guess what I’m saying is that yes, we should learn to forgive for the sake of our own happiness, but we should never forget what we have been through as it has shaped the person looking back in the mirror today….

Sticking with the theme of forgiveness, check out this performance by the awesome India Arie, Heart of the Matter:

What do you think? Can you forgive without forgetting?


  • Anonymous says:

    @Nylse… i agree i am going through this right now i was cheated on like 3yrs ago and i cannot or will not im not sure which one forget i forgave him for what he did to me but the forgetting is so hard to do and i feel like i am the one crazy, i am extremely paranoid always thinks he's cheating and i dont trust him at all if he told me the truth i wouldnt believe him the thing is i love this guy so much and he is clearly trying but because of the fact that i cannot get that cheating out of my head it is consuming me and its hurting our relationship more i made a choice to go to counseling about this simply because this lack of trust is slowly killing me….forget about him i am not happy with my crazy paranoid behavior and resentment

  • DecemberPumpkin says:

    Forgiving is a theory that I try to prove right but its just hard sometimes

  • Fatima says:

    I honestly don't know how that is possible.

  • thebrownesteye says:

    It's always been hard for me to forgive which iz something I continue to work on. But i don't think its wise to forget…it leaves u open to be hurt again in the future

  • Micheal says:

    I can forgive but I would be fooling myself if I could think I could forget. In the back of my mind I know it would be lingering there.

  • Anonymous says:

    I can forgive, yet a lesson lived is a lesson learned!

  • LifenotesEncouragement says:

    Forgiving and forgetting are supernatural – you have to forget in order to move on. If you're remembering the pain, the anger, the hurt, the humiliation – you're not forgetting, and those things can make you stay stuck. You can learn from past experiences – but to always have it clear in your memory also hinders your growth. You have to be willing to let go of everything. It's hard but doable.

  • Sophie says:

    I think remembering is an essential part of forgiving. You have to know what happened and know what to do or not in the future. If someone lets you down, you can forgive them, but maybe being reliable is something they struggle with. It wouldn't be wise to rely on them again because it may be something they need to work on. I am quick to forgive because at a certain point an apology is all that can be given. Also, like you said, holding a grudge is a lot of work!

  • African Violet says:

    "…or if you grew up with Caribbean parents you would have definitely heard; ‘those who can’t hear, must feel!’ Oh the memories…."

    If you grew up with African parents as well, it's likely you heard this. I know I did. 😉

    As for the content of this particular post, I think it's hard to forget. Even if you've forgiven and moved on, I think it's important to still remember because likely that situation taught you something that you can use in your life going forward. Forgiving is the key because then it allows you to move away from the emotional hurt and pain, but I think it's important to remember the incident (but not hold onto the negative aspect of it); it's useful as a personal teachable moment.

  • Ayisha B says:

    While it is always best to forgive, it is not always wise to forget. Some situations need to be remembered as we don't want to experience them again. Another saying: "Do it to me once shame on you, do it to me twice shame on me". Forgiving is a cleansing, a healing. Forgetting is a lesson unlearned.

  • Sonya says:

    I can't lie and say that I am quick to forgive. The deeper the wound, the longer it takes me to forgive and heal. I do get around to it eventually. But, forgetting. I'm like an elephant. Sometimes to a fault, It's difficult to forget. I have had painful memories that keep repeating themselves, but thankfully the subconscious has a way of protecting itself. Eventually the painful memories fade…

  • Anonymous says:

    I always compare the Forgive/Forget saying to a scar.
    When the scar is new/fresh you remember every detail of how you got it. When the scar starts to heal, you seem to forget the details of what happened but you still remember how you got the scar (car accident, burned on the stove). If you are left with a scar that has healed, you can tell someone the general info about the scar (I was in an accident…I got burned on the stove) but you can't give specific info anymore because you don't remember. If there is no scar, there's nothing to tell.
    I think it's the same concept with your emotions. As the emotional scars heal, the details become less important. It's important to focus on healing.

    Stay Blessed- Lizz

  • Hairscapades says:

    Totally agree. I am also quick to forgive because being angry takes too much energy and is too stressful. But, forgetting is different in that I think you forget the immediate pain of the slight/insult/wrong-doing. You forget THAT part that causes pain do that you don't hold a grudge. But the experience should or be forgotten. And I think this not only is to protect oneself from future harm, but also so that you can appreciate a good thing when you have it. Remembering the pain of a bad relationship allows me to truly appreciate the value of a good one. So yeah, absolutely agree with this post!


  • Anonymous says:

    We should remember the golden rule and forgive. On the other hand, it takes more effort to forget, but for our own well being, we should strive to do just that.

  • Abovealltherest says:

    I forgive easy. I never want to block my blessings because I am holding a grudge. I do have to get over it because it only bothers me and I do not have the time or energy to be upset. I do not forget. That is is how I grow and learn.

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