How to Forget a Bad Memory

We’ve all been there.

Maybe there’s an old love interest that seems to relentlessly invade your thoughts as you try to violently shake your mind free of a toxic attachment.


Perhaps there’s an embarrassing moment that keeps replaying in your mind over and over again.


Or it’s possible you can’t seem to let go of that cringey moment you had during a job interview.


Whatever it is, I can help you leave your past behind once and for all.

I, too, have had memories, but I’ve learned the secret to putting it behind me once and for all.

You see, sometimes it feels as if we are subject to the whims of our own mind – whatever memories it chooses to show us, we must bow down to its command and endure whatever horrific past it’s forcing us to witness once again.

But guess what? You have absolute control over your mind. I mean come on, you’re seriously going to let a bunch of gray matter in your skull dictate what passes through your daily thoughts?


Step 1: Make Bad Memories Disappear Through the “Misinformation Effect”

Do you remember when Brian Williams, an anchor for NBC Nightly News, caught all types of hell because he claimed to be in a helicopter that was “shot by RPG fire” when he was in Iraq in 2003?

He paraded this story around for years, puffing his chest as if he were some sort of heroic war journalist.



Soldiers that were there were like, “LIES! You were DEFINITELY not there.”

Williams later apologized can claimed that he “conflated” his memories of what really happened back in 2003.

There’s a little thing in psychology called “misinformation effect,” when the accuracy of your memories are chipped away due to new post-event information.

And if, by now, you’re all like, “OKAY, but WHERE ARE YOU GOING WITH THIS? And what the heck does this have to do with forgetting my past?” …



I should smack you, really. Isn’t it obvious?!




I mean that’s why married couples who have been together for years can never agree on the first time they met, or their first date, or their first kiss.


“CONFLATION.” Why not use it to your advantage?

Step Two: Forget the Past by Replacing Your Old Memory With a New One

First, you got to think about which parts of the memory sends a shudder down your spine, and replace that sh** with a better ONE that settles your mind.

So if there’s a memory bugging you where you were “dragged” in an argument …


Erase that memory and put in place a new one, where you come out as the victor!


It will be easy for you to come up with a new version of events – this is what usually pops up in your mind as what you wish “could” have happened.

Step Three: Make Sure Your New Version of Events Still Has an Element of Conflict

If a bad memory keeps rearing its ugly little head in your mind, that’s because there’s an element of conflict or trauma in it. It’s too difficult to trick your brain into thinking that nothing happened at all and everything was just peachy!


You must keep an element of trauma/conflict because it would explain why it’s consistently sitting in the back of your mind. However, make sure that your new storyline puts you in a position that brings “closure” and peace of mind.

Here’s an example.

Let’s say you have a bad memory where you gave a presentation in front co-workers, and suddenly, you started freaking out mid-speech, lost your train of thought, and completely screwed up in front of your boss.



In reality, you may have panicked and ran out of the room, leaving your co-workers and boss befuddled.

But your new storyline should still have that element of trauma – you still had that moment where you froze up a little, but you recovered. In your new version of events, you took a deep breath, gathered all of your thoughts, and continued on without a hiccup.

Or perhaps, in this new version of events, you still do storm out of the room, but what’s different is your boss approaches you and tells you that you still did a great job and that he doesn’t look at you any differently.

Got it?

Step Four: Replay Your New Version of Events In Your Mind Over and Over Again

Now that you’ve thought of your brand spankin’ new storyline, it’s time to solidify it into your brain!

How do we do that?

Replay it over and over again.


It’s just that simple – the same way song lyrics and movie lines get ingrained in your brain by repetition, you can do the same thing with your memories.

But you have to be consistent with it!

Step Five: Relay Your New Storyline to Friends



Another way to stamp this new memory into your mind is to talk about it. The more you talk about it, the more you will believe it, and soon enough, your old memory will fade away into the abyss.

Be sure to tell this storyline only to people who are not aware of the “old” version of events – make sure it’s organic (and not forced) in conversations.

For example, if your friend calls you freaking out about a presentation she has to make for her college course, just say, “Oh my god. Let me tell you a story. I went through the same thing. I panicked, but then I recovered …”

It’s a win-win. You’re solidifying a new memory into your brain, and you’re encouraging your friend that even if she f**ks up, she can always redeem yourself like you did.

What To Do When Your Old Memory Tries to Poke Its Head Back In

Easy. Convince yourself that you misremembered – just like Brian Williams did. “Conflation.” The more you say it to yourself, the more you will believe it.



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