How to Wake Up from Your Fever Dream and Admit that You Were Wrong

We are all vulnerable to being swept away by a series of self-serving justifications

Walter Rhein
Thirty over Fifty
Published in
6 min readJun 6, 2024

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Image by Walter Rhein — Drawing by his daughter

As I make progress towards achieving the life of my dreams, I find I have fewer moments that I’m compelled to forget.

Often, when my kids are feeling playful, they’ll say, “We don’t talk about that.” Usually they’re referring to the time they spilled juice on the carpet, or some other trivial accident that loomed large in the moment.

But as with all the words of children, there’s a profound insight into human nature in the idea of deliberately forgetting. We do it all the time don’t we? We have a bad moment, or we suffer a humiliation, and we resolve to “put it out of our mind.”

Everybody does that. Don’t they?

For much of my life, I endured things I was compelled to forget on a daily basis. Like anything you practice with regularity, I became very skilled at redacting my own memories. It got to the point where I only acknowledged the reality that aligned with what I wished to believe.

Like with drinking, an overindulgence in banishing unpleasant thoughts from your memory is done to protect yourself from pain. But when you numb yourself too often and too long, you…

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Walter Rhein
Thirty over Fifty

I have 10+ years experience as a certified English and Physics teacher. 20+ years of experience as an editor, journalist, blogger and novelist.