Last night, I watched for the second time the movie Eternal Sunshine on a Spotless Mind, a romantic fantasy about a man named Joel (Jim Carrey) who attempts to erase his memories of his ex-girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet) because the pain of having to move on from the broken relationship had been too much for him to bear.
I believe we’ve all gone through painful experiences that we wish we can just forget. Things like a death in the family, breakups, bad fights, and mistakes with drastic consequences are all examples of experiences that we wish we can forget. We wish that we can be strapped to a machine and have the memories of those experiences taken away from us so that we don’t have to deal with the pain and grief of the aftermath. It’s difficult to move on, but what can we do if we can’t just have those memories erased like Joel in the movie?
1. It’s natural to feel sad – First off, In no way am I implying that you shouldn’t feel sad about something that has happened. It’s natural to feel this way. In your sadness, you can find out where your heart is and it shows you some of your true feelings about something that you’ve lost and it gives you time that you didn’t have before to think about it. It’s not a matter of how you feel right afterwards, it’s a matter of how you feel, for example, three months after. After three months, are you still feeling just as sad or depressed? What can we learn so that we don’t continue to feel this way long after the event?
2. Negative experiences can strengthen us – We can either continue to grieve for what happened, or we can look and see how the experience has changed us as a person. Experience, regardless of the circumstances, influences the kind of person we become, but the kind of person we become is also heavily influenced by the choices we make to deal with it. Are we going to continue to grieve for the past and do nothing to move on, or are we going to let go and come out of our sadness stronger than before, because we’re willing to learn from our experiences?
3. When we go through the same experience again, learning will help us become stronger for next time – Life is full of firsts, and we’re normally unsure of how to deal with them when they come around, but what about the second time? We can’t allow those experiences to win over us again. Instead, we take the opportunity to apply what we learned last time so that we’re stronger this time.
4. Remember the good memories, because they play a part in how you learn to move on – It also helps to remember the good moments that something brought before it passed away. It gives you a sense of confidence and thankfulness, because you were blessed to experience moments that you will remember fondly for a lifetime. With that confidence and thankfulness, you’re willing to open the door into the next thing that’s in store for you. For instance, if you’ve experienced a death in the family, remember the good moments you got to share with that person. That goes for relationships too. Instead of continuing to feel sad when a relationship ends, remember the good moments you had with the other person. Though this example doesn’t really have to do with good memory, if we make a great mistake, we remember what we did wrong so that we don’t make the same mistake next time. We grow through our experiences both good and bad, and they make up the person we become, but ultimately it also comes down to how we allow them to affect us.