Things to Remember and Things to Forget

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Always Remember

Always remember to forget, the things that made you sad,

But never forget to remember, the things that made you glad.

Always remember to forget, the friends that proved untrue.

But never forget to remember those that have stuck by you.

Always remember to forget the troubles that passed away,

But never forget to remember the blessings that come each day.

This Irish poem was cited by Deepak Menon, the first VP of Toastmasters International, this past Remembrance Day weekend at a Toastmasters District Conference in Victoria, BC where I met him. Visiting all the way from India, Deepak shared with us his wisdom and his generous down-to-earth personality throughout the weekend. This poem particularly stood out to me because of its simple yet profound way of reminding us something essential – the things that are worth forgetting and those that are worth remembering.

Life is a game of forgetting and remembering, I had heard before. Sometimes we go through life having forgotten some truly important things until life presents us with a reminder.  If we forget again, we are given a bigger lesson, so that we do remember.

To me, mistakes, bad choices, poor decisions and people who put us down are all good candidates for forgetting – but only in terms of the bad taste and deflating feelings they leave behind. Lessons each of them teaches are invaluable though. And those lessons are what needs to be remembered.

If life is a game of forgetting and remembering, then we all must have an equal chance of losing or winning in this game. It’s all about learning what to forget and what to remember. I believe, we lose this game if we remain stuck in the past, hold on to forced relationships, regret the closed doors that must have been never meant for us and heed to any progress-stunting words, including those formed in our own minds.

On the other hand, if we are to win at this game we need to remember to constantly grow as a person, overcome our limiting beliefs and embrace every new opportunity that opens on our personal path. Most importantly, we need to remember the people who were there for us both when we hit the rock bottom and when we celebrated success.

Lift as you climb was another inspirational nugget shared by a fellow Toastmaster this past weekend. And I couldn’t agree more – in the game of life, having losers is not an inevitable condition for the winners to emerge. Winning together is the way to go and we all can do it by helping each other along our path to what truly makes us glad.

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  1. I have noticed that sometimes we feel as if we are held captive by some of our bad memories from our past mistakes. And those memories simply don’t let us move forward. You are right, Natella. The only way we should remember them is as lessons we learned.
    Thank you for your insiritional post.

    1. I agree that past mistakes are one the hardest things to forget and to forgive yourself for. But when we do manage to leave them behind – that’s when we ca truly move forward. Thank you for sharing K.

    1. It is a great concept! In fact the person who shared this concept that same day helped me with the heaviest of my bags and lifted it to my car. So it’s even better when people put their words to action in small or big ways.

  2. I had a close friend leave me behind to deal with the heat of a truly unpleasant situation several months ago. Although I did survive the high temperatures of the ordeal I was left “Hot” under the collar to say the least. Without considering or questioning her reasons for leaving me behind I reacted by verbally attacking her actions and that led me to immediately regret my own actions. Communication was very important for us both to understand each other’s position and allowed us to move forward with our friendship. I was reminded that day of Covey’s habit #5: Seek first to understand then be understood. I’m lucky to have such a great friend who has allowed me an opportunity to climb with her and for that, I am truly grateful.

    1. What a story Jason, with your friend leaving you behind to deal with the “heat” like that. I hope you both learned something from it and I hope you will choose to forgive yourself for your part. I’m sure your friend did long ago! The main thing is – you two didn’t let that incident get in a way of your great friendship!

  3. We need to remember all good things that make us happy and forget all the bad things that make us sad.