We all have dreams for the future. We are constantly reflecting on memories from the past. Everything we do is shaped from one of these two moments. So how do we benefit from both and focus on living in the present?
We often will abuse our future selves and ignore our past selves treating them like they are other people.
I don’t have to worry about that problem now, future me will take care of it.
I didn’t know what I was doing back then, but I’m not like that now.
We were more than just there when it happened or when it will happen, it was us it was or will be happening to. So why do we constantly look out for our present selves well-being while either ignoring or caring too much about the past and future.
Living In The Past Causes Depression
I had a really crappy year last year as did a lot of other people, sharing in the infamous 2016.
I could explain why, but that in itself is a lot to mention, and mostly irrelevant. But while I was in that year, I kept remembering where I was before and thinking how to get back there.
I listened to my older playlists on Spotify and kept reminiscing in what I used to do, who I used to spend time with, how I, myself as a person used to be.
Unfortunately, I was looking for happiness in the place I lost it. I could never go back, I knew that, but it didn’t stop me from trying.
Escaping by remembering the good times made my current self more miserable.
I didn’t like thinking about the past because once it was over and I wanted to go back, I was blocked out and was beyond annoyed that it had to end before I could fully enjoy it.
What I learned during that atrocious year, was even though I couldn’t go back, I still had control of my future. That gave me some hope and happiness, but it gave me more fear for the trials to come.
Living In The Future Causes Anxiety
I knew I could never get the past back, so that created another problem for me. Now I was worrying about the future.
What if it’s never going to be as good as it was? What if I make the wrong steps and make it worse?
Living this way, in combination with wanting to return to the old, creates a pretty hefty load on someone. It’s a lot to take in, knowing you’re in a position you don’t currently like, and you might have to wait it out if there’s nothing you can do.
There’s always something you can do to make it better, but getting to that realization sometimes takes longer than when the circumstances finally do change.
When I was worrying about how the future would turn out, I was getting anxious to the point where I was losing my sense of self and lost respect for who I had become. I didn’t think I had what it takes to improve where I was in my life.
I had the will-power to keep looking for what I could do, but my anxiety kept me repressed from actually getting those proposals done.
I was on cloud nine before, so what can I do to make it like that again?
I knew the truth. That even if it did get better, it wasn’t going to be like it was before, so I had to create a new circumstance. Set up a new experience and use what I learned from the past to shape my future.
Accessing The Present
If living in the past causes depression, and living in the future causes anxiety, how would living in the present avoid both of those when they are oncoming and forever going?
I figured out that living in the present, is really just living in both at the same time. I had to take what I learned from my past, what I cared about and wanted to change in my future, and use that to help present me get to where I wanted to be.
Sometimes you have to learn and understand that you don’t always have to constantly please present you. Present you is just your experience and the creation of a memory or action taken for a plan in the future.
The present only exists to us and we need to understand, it hardly exists to other people who will just see us for the situations when we were there.
The present version of us has to be the most relaxed and ambitious in order to get anything done and to make use of the time we have. We have to constantly be willing to do something today that our future self will thank us for and have a good memory looking back on it.
Leaving problems in the past or future just causes more stress on the present you, the actual you that is experiencing it all.
When I initiated taking this all in for myself, I started to be comfortable living in the present knowing I was working to please my future and past self.
If I didn’t want to be at work one day, I imagined future me at home preparing food to sit and relax and look back on a day well spent of productive work.
Sure it can be hard during the experience, but you have that one and only chance each day to get done what you are attempting to do. If you try and avoid it and make it easier on yourself, you’re giving future you more problems, and making present you ashamed of the past you.
This might be getting a bit confusing so I’ll cut off that example and reiterate.
To live in the present, we have to live in the past and future and do what we can in the present to make a good memory to look back on, and make less problems for our future to hold.
The future comes and the past goes, but you’ll be there the whole time. Ground yourself to the present because sooner or later, your surroundings might change and what you were currently experiencing or going to experience has already become just a memory.