Twenty-four hours ago, I had lunch at a Korean fast food restaurant in the Richmond District of San Francisco. The beef bowl I ordered came with Korean BBQ beef, Kimchi and a lot more greens than expected. I enjoyed it. I normally brace myself for unhealthy when I hear “fast food”, but this meal caught me off guard and I am glad it did. Like most people I remember things better when I recall them, repeatedly. Now that I have canonized this experience, it definitely would not be easy to shake off the taste of that heavenly KBBQ beef.
Likewise, we hold on to negative emotions when we recall the events that trigger them. In some cases, if not most, these scenarios involve perpetrators. We relive hurtful shows of the past; hit the hard replay button, go through the script, and reinforce our toxic emotions. We cannot help but keep the fire crackling and hot, forgetting than we are the only ones who feel the sting on the inside.
I know how it feels to hold a grudge. A while back, I almost always held on to the most meaningless of emotions towards people or institutions just because I may have had a bad encounter, an altercation, a fight, a heartbreak or some disappointment that set me back. I would hold on to hate, resentment, anger, jealousy, while periodically fanning and cradling these hot coals in my chest. I would remind myself of what made me feel bad and kept thinking up strategies for retribution or praying for divine justice to be served cold to my adversaries. Letting go of the flame would mean I admitted defeat, became weaker or less of a person.
We can’t help it sometimes. Humans are prone to remember more negative experiences than positive ones. This is a fact that I cannot prove with statistical evidence, but tis truly true. It is difficult to let go. Not sometimes but all the time! And it takes practice. I keep getting asked about how I seem unfazed in most situations, even unfavorable ones. Well, it is no secret. I just decided to start dealing with my demons early and got used to releasing them from the mental cage quickly. I honestly forget the worst experiences because I stop caring about them. Don’t get me wrong; I definitely remember restaurants with crappy food or sucky customer service. My fight or flight instincts still work fine.
Everyone wants to feel good things. Everyone wants to be treated nicely, which explains why friendly people have lots of friends. Conversely, no one really cares that you are vengeful, angry or hateful and you shouldn’t care about those emotions either. They are dead weight and plain useless. A waste of mental capacity and psychological time. I am not perfect and may never be. Yet, I will always practice how to let go and truly forget.