Over twenty years ago, a man I saw for clinical supervision had forgotten our appointment and was not present when I arrived.
Later that day he sent me a message saying, “Please forgive my memory.”
I thought that was such a strange way to apologise. Can we really disassociate ourselves from our memory? And because I never came to any clear understanding of that kind of apology, his sentence, “Please forgive my memory,” has lingered in my own memory bank ever since. I was angry he had forgotten our appointment and I judged him.
Now in my sixties, having undergone some of life’s big challenges the question of memory has risen again. And it comes out of feeling a sense of compassion for my own occasional lapses in memory. They come not as a result of anything dire and serious, but rather as a result of one or more of the following.
Remembering and forgetting are impacted by our emotional, mental, physical and spiritual situation. They are ‘here and now’ experiences. Grief, sorrow, depression and loneliness all affect our ability to remember certain events, appointments and things people say. When our lives suddenly change and we find ourselves confused, or mixed up we can forget who said what and even the name of our best friend standing right next to us. When we have been unwell, recently undergone surgery, or getting over a fall, we are more likely to forget something someone may have said to us, even though they apparently remember it clearly.
Forgetting is human. It’s what we do when we or someone we know forgets something that was said or planned, that takes us to the next level of humanity.
Judging someone who does not remember something is more about the person doing the judging than the person doing the forgetting.
I’ll tell you why.
When we judge or criticize another it is usually in an area we dislike about ourselves.
When we judge someone we cannot appreciate them fully as well.
When we judge we block our ability to understand. Understanding blocks judgment.
When we judge we make ourselves dissatisfied and unhappy with the way things are.
When we judge another we lower our vibration, shut ourselves down from receiving joy and abundance and prosperity from the universe.
And so to that supervisor so many years ago, I get it.
Your memory is not who you are.
And of course, I forgive your memory.