I see the difference being in one’s focus. As I have mentioned before, when I was 18 I was blown up and burned in a boat explosion. It was due to overflowing gas. I can tell the story passionately but I don’t retain bitterness or anger about it. But put me in a gas station with some idiot smoking a cigarette and you can be damn well sure I will say something. My remembrance isn’t used to resurrect my pain or what I lost, it’s there so I can do something in the here and now to help avoid similar pain for others.
When I think of the best current example of that I think of South Africa’s Truth and Reconciliation Commission. They asked people to come forth and tell their painful stories of the apartheid era. They didn’t want the stories told to bring about vengeance but to bring about healing. Remembering was a way of saying it wasn’t nothing, it did matter. But they were also saying it is remembered so we can help all of our futures, not so we can condemn and fight each other.
What part of your past are you holding onto with bitterness and anger? Let go of that memory and turn the focus to adding it to your collected wisdom of life. Forget the pain, remember the gain. That is how you will create a healthier and safer future for you and yours.
Quote by Confucius (Kong Qiu – 孔丘), 551BCE – 479BCE, Chinese philosopher