Stop Thinking About Elephants

I can honestly say this has been the best Valentine’s Day of my life. A lot of factors played into that, but the overarching theme involved making happy memories to help replace some of the old ones.

Valentine’s Day brought pain many years in a row to the point where I ignored the day as much as possible. Thankfully, with an absolute amazing husband by my side, good memories slowly take hold. Days like today remind me of the absolute importance of good memories and the necessity of intentionality in order to make them.

The laughter shared, the good food and wonderful conversation took place because we made time to make them happen. We set aside this evening to enjoy each other’s company and ultimately enjoyed the company of good friends this evening as well. That allowed us to do this very important thing: make good memories.

Why on earth does it matter?

Well, what often happens when we want to overcome something is that we repeatedly fall back into it. Whether that’s bad memories or sin or something else. We want to climb our way out of the pit but we fail to fill in the way behind us so that going back requires more work than going forward. We try to stop worrying by telling ourselves to stop worrying. All that accomplishes is an increase in worry and frustration. When we find something to replace that worry with, we fare much better.

The same proves true with our memories. If we want to push aside bad memories, we must not think about the bad memories. If try to accomplish this by the same means as the worrier above, we go right back to the bad memories. Tell yourself not to think about an elephant and by nature of the fact that you told yourself not to think about it, you are thinking about it. So with bad memories.

We can just ignore the issue, think about other things entirely, but that only lasts so long. At some point, you are going to remember it is Valentine’s Day, which opens the door for memories of Valentine’s Days past to come into your mind. If the only memories you possess of that day involve hurt, then you will hurt. Thus, we must make new memories to consider so that when the bad memories try to take hold of the day, we have something at hand already to fight those bad memories with.

It sounds like such a simple thing, yet somehow, we miss it all the time and keep trying to stop thinking about elephants by telling ourselves to stop thinking about them.