“The past cannot be changed. The future is yet in your power” (Unknown).
As with many people, I used to have a problem with being stuck living in the past.
There were things I wanted to try differently, regrets I had, and most of all, memories I wanted to experience again.
Thinking of the past became a frequent reflection on how I did most things right, but also what I missed out on. I kept thinking if I had taken that one opportunity that was offered to me, how different my life would be. Subconsciously, I had started to hope for a better past.
Hope of a better past is living it and not allowing yourself to move on.
Former Experiences Stay With Us
Whether it’s things we liked or things we didn’t like, we think about our past often. This is normal and expected of a person. It’s when it starts to consume how a person operates in the present that it becomes a problem.
Wanting to relive the past is an unhealthy thirst for nostalgia.
Instead, we should use the past as motivation to make the future even better, but with caution. The toll of trying to recreate the past will always negatively affect a person because it can never be the way it once was.
There is a difference between thinking about the past and living in the past.
Analyzing our prior experiences is normal and healthy, but living in it and wanting to make changes to it will only waste time.
Surrender to the past because your history has gotten you to where you are today. And some time in the future, what you do now will create your future.
So why else would we want to relive the past when it’s over?
It could be because we misunderstood that the journey is oftentimes better than the destination. And when that applies to our life, it cuts deep.
The past may have answers that can be uncovered by thinking about it. But reminiscing and losing your present self because the past was so much better will only make things so much worse.
It’s a lot easier to think about things you overcame in the past, than to try and focus on your current problems that take time to address.
Remembering the past and using it for insight are completely different. It can be healthy to remember the past to examine in and realize how we might have applicable situations now with similar solutions.
Maybe we did something a different way and thinking about the past helps us to uncover the circumstances that have since changed. We look for application in the past.
Looking at the past not for insight, but for happiness is where things go wrong.
The Present Isn’t Satisfying Enough
If you live in the past and can identify it as intrusive, you need to work at making the present better.
Living in the past will make you lose sight of the present.
Circumstances change, and oftentimes, those are greatly applicable to our happiness.
Maybe your personality as it is now prevents you from doing what you used to enjoy. Maybe where you currently live puts you in a great amount of distress for your lifestyle. Maybe the people you live with and around aren’t doing any good for your life and you want to escape.
If you believe the only way to get out of a bad situation is to try and go back, recreate the past but don’t make it repeat. Make it rhyme.
“Change is the law of life. And those who look only to the past or present are certain to miss the future” (John F. Kennedy).
Use the past as inspiration. Let yourself remember the past, but use it as a tool to better your life.
Look at what circumstances made you happy and pinpoint what makes your life worse right now.
Use your history as a way to see how you were, how you can be, and how you will be in the future.