Think On These Things: 3 Ways to Know When to Purge Old Memories

I Remember When…

My mom is the Queen of manilla folders, color-coded labels, and file cabinets fully organized from front to back, top to bottom. She finds beauty in the flow of organized tabs, all at clearly defined heights and patterns, so her fingers can easily walk from A-Z whenever she searches for something.

Ask my Mama for anything – a receipt, a bill, letter, or notes – be it from last week or 3+ years ago – and lickety-split! She’d produce the artifact in record time and in pristine condition. See, it’s one thing to have an old receipt, but another to still be able to read the receipt details – dates, items purchased, and time bought LOL!

This, Team, is organized archiving at its best.

Does Your Archive Need a Good Purge?

purgeAre we giving Queen Archive herself a run for the money – by the way WE file, organize, and protect OLD memories, events, grudges, conversations, “what they did”, “what I used to do”?

Allow me to explain.

Some of our internal file systems would put Mama’s system to shame. We can tell someone the date, time, AND the weather of the day they offended us. We have painstakingly filed, labeled, and color-coded events in our lives, and at any moment, re-play the entire situation as if it were happening at that very second. We feel and re-live the agony, disappointment, pain, or frustration we’ve protected in our mental archives for weeks, months, and years.

Team, it’s time to stop archiving – and start PURGING!

How to Know What and When to Purge

Does every memory, event, conversation, or situation deserve to be archived in your heart and mind? Of course not.

Ask yourself these 3 questions about your artifacts from the past:

1. Does this artifact make me feel joy, happiness, or wholeness?

If the thought causes you discomfort and pain, it needs to go. If you lose time, energy, or any ounce of peace, that thought is doing more harm than good. Keeping harmful memories bottled up is like having your own personal torture chamber – with YOU as the warden. Purge it!

2. What good has this past artifact brought to my life?

You’ve put in some tremendous time and energy remembering, referencing, looking back at that thought, memory, or situation. What has been your return on investment (ROI)? Was there any benefit to being able to pull it out of the archive for reference? If it has not been useful or produced any good results – Purge it!

3. What do you lose, how would you suffer by getting rid of it?

If you woke up tomorrow, and could never find this piece of the past – what would you lose? How would you suffer? Think about it… it’s gone, irretrievable. Are you honestly better off? Then, PURGE IT!

Sidebar: Yes, the brain’s function is to remember, and we can’t “magically” erase neurons nor alter our hippocampus. But, we can address the response that our spirits, emotions, and health have when those thoughts and memories surface. As our healing matures, those memories will wane in importance and relevance – until they’re, in essence, purged.

So, What’s the Play Call?

A beautiful archive is a noble thing when the protected artifacts bring utility, goodness, joy, and truth (Philippians 4:8).

Take an honest look at your mental, emotional, and psychological archives. If you need to, seek professional help to guide the purge and re-organization process and clean out the clutter that’s been holding you down. Imagine what it feels like to free yourself from the time and energy it takes to “maintain pain” and shift your focus to living in joyful abundance.

Know that sometimes the best organized spaces are the ones that are stripped and emptied – ready for a fresh, clean start.

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