Do you remember where you were 17 years ago? The day the world changed as we know it. Our world experienced devastating fear and powerful love within moments of each other. Thousands lost their life that day while first responders sacrificed their lives. Millions of others mourned together and came together to start the healing process. Healing wasn’t immediate as we hadn’t experienced a sudden tragedy of that magnitude before, at least not in our lifetime in the states. It has taken years. However, healing was possible for those who chose to move forward, step by step, into a new way of living after 9/11. Our sense of security was shaken to the core. While forgiveness and healing have taken over where anger and pain used to live, we will always pause on this day, September 11, 2001, and think of those who lost their lives, those who gave their lives, and those who remained behind to pick up the pieces and move on.
It’s defining moments, defining memories, such as these that stay with us and settle into our DNA. Happy memories of the birth of a child, wedding days, or other big celebratory moments in our lives live within us too. It’s when we let tragic memories keep us stuck in the past going repeatedly ‘how did this happen,’ or ‘why did this happen,’ that we close the doors of happiness today. We can have bad/tragic/sad memories AND rather than shrink from them, we can allow them to allow us to shine in spite of them.
Moving forward, I encourage you to deal with any negative memory that may be holding you back by:
FEELING IT: When something sad, bad, dangerous, or tragic happens to you, it is completely understandable and most likely necessary for you to feel sad, angry, unsafe, or any other feeling that comes up from the experience. You get to determine how impactful the memory was for you on how long it takes to move on. Perhaps it’s something little and it’s a few moments or hours. Maybe it’s a little more significant and it takes days or weeks. And then, those big moments in your life, like a death of a loved one, a death of a meaningful relationship, that takes longer to move through. However long it takes, allow yourself to feel it.
Telling yourself that it will get better. Again, depending on the magnitude of the experience, saying that on day one may seem like a lie. But as days go by, to weeks, to months, to possibly years, you will find that the memory has less of a hold on you. You will find you begin to tell happy stories around that experience more than you relive the bad ones.
By being okay with the uncertainty. When a life altering experience happens, your life will not be the same. It doesn’t mean it won’t be good again and/or perhaps even better, but you are moving forward into unchartered territory. Focus on today (or this moment) that you are okay. Again, allow yourself to feel your way through it as like many things, feelings grow and subside, grow and subside. The less you beat yourself up over ‘why am I still feeling this way?’ – the less time you will spend there. So be gentle with yourself in the process.
Mostly, my wish is for you to realize that every memory is there to serve you not harm you… even the sad ones. They can only control you when you give into them and you so deserve to move forward honoring those people and experiences no longer a part of your life. You deserve to step forth as the best version of yourself because you went through the experience. You deserve to have photographs and memories that bring up tears of happiness, just as much as ones that bring up tears of sorrow.
Until next time, everything you are and do today is a memory for the future… make them loving ones.
As I remember love, I remember life.
Words to LOVE by:
“Yesterday is but today’s memory, and tomorrow is today’s dream.” – Khalil Gibran
“So long as the memory of certain beloved friends lives in my heart, I shall say that life is good.” – Helen Keller
“Memory… is the diary that we all carry about with us.” – Oscar Wilde
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