What to do with bad memories…

Life Lesson #18: Memories–good and bad–are worth holding on to


Of course we want to hold on to our good memories…but before some of you go hitting the delete button or unsubscribing from the mail list, let me offer a caveat about the bad ones. I am NOT talking about holding on to bad memories in a way that wallows in self-pity–or represses anger to the point of unforgiveness–or buries a hurt so deep it never has a chance to heal, adversely affecting every future relationship. Those situations aren’t healthy.


Instead, I’m talking about taking the sad, tragic, disappointing, hurtful, petty, poorly-chosen events in our lives–and facing them head-on. Admitting they happened–like it or not.

old linen


I’m talking about acknowledging to ourselves (and, when appropriate, to others) that we have chinks and gouges in our armor from the battlefields of Life–and they’ve left scars…sometimes highly visible; sometimes you have to look closely.

linen and lace


I’m talking about dealing with those things and moving forward–while at the same time letting those “wish they hadn’t happened” experiences in our lives mold us into people with more empathy, more wisdom, more compassion…with arms more open to the hurting hearts around us.

silk and linen


I’m talking about looking for that silver lining…that something positive that can come from the negative. I’m talking about beauty rising from broken.

linen tablecloth


I’m talking about not letting our “baggage”–or our heavy hearts–keep us from experiencing joy. I’m talking about looking for the things that are good…and choosing–choosingto be grateful.

vintage lace


I’m talking about putting our bad memories in proper perspective and conquering them–rather than letting them conquer us.

Autumn tablescape


Life happens. We experience unexpected tears–both definitions.  But in time, like a beloved antique tablecloth, it’s time to let ourselves be carefully and lovingly stitched back together with healing touches. For our own good–and as a testimony to God’s faithful power to comfort and provide…and to good people in our lives–we must eventually accept the things behind us…still allowing them to be part of our back story, but not giving them a chance to keep us hidden. No… hopefully we’ll become too beautiful an example of courage and inspiration to be hidden. It’s the only way we can be there for the next person who faces the unexpected.

Fall tablescape

To see this tablescape, click HERE.



Please don’t share any confidences here, but tell me…

Do you have anyone in your life right now who might benefit from your bad memories? Or perhaps you’re living a bad memory today–and just wish it were all behind you. I’m praying for you today, my friend. Keep moving forward…look for the good–and express gratitude…be strong and of good courage.


If someone comes to mind who might need this encouragement, please click the “share” buttons below this post to pass it along.


This is part of a 31-day series. If you missed previous Life Lessons, they’re all available HERE.


  1. Oh yes. (To your question.) I actually have used my bad memories in ministering to others. There are some that are kind of waiting for the right person, and others that are more common than one would think. I know that it seems counter intuitive to say that I’m grateful that I actually have baggage, but I am. In truth, I kind of pity those who don’t. They tend to find it harder to minister. I’m not saying that in judgement of them. I’m saying that because some have told me as much.

    A lovely post. I know I keep saying this, but I really do like your theme and the way you are approaching it. A great deal of thought went into it, and clearly a great amount of help from the Spirit.

  2. Beautiful sentiment in today’s post, as in many of them! Who knew vintage linens could teach so much . . .

  3. Hi Susan,

    So very nice to meet you!

    I enjoyed your words today on bad memories, although for some, as you pointed out, these memories are being created at present. I agree with you wholeheartedly; it is how we incorporate these events into the rest of our lives, how we choose to view them, that makes the difference, in the end, with regards to our own well being, and ultimately, to others who may cross our path. Such unfortunate occurrences can, I believe, be useful in life’s many subsequent experiences, as lessons that have been studied and examined, and finally, fortified with empirical knowledge, one can proceed with confidence to communicate and enrich those who may be affected otherwise. Learning, whether based on theory or observation is the key proponent in both progress and peace of mind.

    Thanks for lovely comment at Poppy View and hope to see you again soon!