Why ‘Forgive and Forget’ Is Actually Really Bad Advice

“We’ve all suffered in life, but I like to forgive and forget,” a friend recently said, probably expecting me to nod in agreement. Instead I visibly grimaced. I call B.S.

To me, the alliterative phrase “forgive and forget” represents a romanticized sentiment more than actual helpful life advice. I believe it serves to smooth things over more so than it heals or amends wrongdoing. 

We’ve all suffered in life, it’s true. But the thought of forgetting about wrongs I’ve faced seems offensive to me. How could “forgetting” help? And how is it even possible? We don’t live in the film Eternal Sunshine for the Spotless Mind wherein it’s possible for people to surgically remove past wounds from their memory. Plus, if we forget about past wounds, how are we to avoid the same situations again? Another common phrase, “fool me once, shame on you; fool me twice, shame on me” comes to mind.


Author: Linda Turner

Coaching and Therapy Currently studying Psychotherapy , Cognitive psychology, Hypnotherapy. Qualified NLP, EMDR and CBT therapist. REIKI Master. I believe in truth, honesty and integrity! ≧◔◡◔≦

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