Living In The Present

Hello Beautiful Humans!


If you are constantly dwelling on the shoulda, coulda, woulda's of the past or overwhelming yourself with the what ifs and might be's of the future, how can you truly appreciate and be at peace with where you are now in the present?



(Disclaimer: When reading this blog, please understand that there are certain traumas of our past that require professional help such as therapy and/or counseling. This blog article is not meant to advise or instruct you in areas where trauma plays a factor in your life. Seek professional help for instances such as these.)


The Past


I often hear people say that they would not be who they are today if it weren't for their past. My comment is usually that your past is who you were yesterday. The decisions, behaviors and actions of today are what make you who you are today. We all have lessons that we have learned and experiences that we have that dictate the decisions and actions that we take today. However, does our past really have to have that much control over our lives?



A prime example of living in the past from my own experiences is with my grandmother. When I was young, my grandmother would often give me sweets; like cookies or donuts, when I was sick or hurt. Even just feeling a little blue would result in a sweet treat. Fast forward to now... When I'm experiencing a negative mood I start craving sweets. It took me awhile to realize that this was a learned and habitual behavior from my past. By allowing my past to influence my decisions for the present so greatly, I was living in my past.



The same goes for dwelling on things of our past, such as things we say to hurt others or what they have said to hurt us. An example of this was when I was a child my grandmother (yep, she strikes again although her intentions were good!) took me to a hairdresser for a haircut that was very short. A few days later, I was playing tag at recess, girls against the boys. I tagged a boy and he turned and said, "You can't tag me, you're a boy!" I was devastated and every since then I have worn my hair long, with an irrational fear of cutting it.


We allow our history to impact our actions of the present. Sometimes using the information learned from our past can be a positive learning experience. It is up to us to determine when that information is beneficial and when it is a hinderance and base our decisions accordingly.


The Future


Living in the future is not the same as having a vision or goals for the future. Living in the future is allowing what 'could be' to consume what is. We've been conditioned to anticipate what might happen, what could go wrong, and what happens next. Frankly a great deal of the stress we put ourselves under is directly related to the anticipation of future events



A good example of this that most people can relate to is a first date. We worry about if we will be liked. Did we wear the right outfit and go to the right place? What if the date ends in disaster or what if it doesn't? What if we end up getting married and having kids? What if we then get divorced or if something happens to us before our time? We worry about all these things before we have even stepped out the door on our date. We are living in the future of what could be instead of enjoying the present.



Another example, might encompass our fears. I have an explicit fear of heights. Being up high does not bother me as much as the realization of what will happen to me if I fall. The anticipation of falling is simply terrifying. Have I ever fallen? No! Will I ever fall? It's unlikely, but the possibility is there and that fear of what could happen prevents me from being in high places.


Just as we allow our history to affect the present, we also allow the future to do the same.


The Present


How can we leave the past and future where it belongs and live in our present?


Accept that you cannot go back and spend the minutes that are already gone. They've already been spent. Accept the fact that you cannot go forward and spend time that isn't here yet. You can only spend the time you have right now and time is something that we don't want to waste a moment of.



Once we understand the past and future, their place in our lives, and how they affect our present, we can start making conscience decisions to stop allowing them to control our present. For instance, when I start to crave sweets, I first ask myself if I am in a negative mood? Is that why I'm craving the sweets? If I am, then I pass on the sweets to avoid re-enforcing the negative behaviors of my past. This is an example of living in my present.


Set goals for today. Make the most of your day today and commit to accomplishments that can be obtained today. Don't just say it, make it happen. What can you do right now to make the very most of your day? Stop procrastinating.



Appreciate what you have right now. Find your gratitude's for each day. Not just what you have or what is given to you, but the things you see and here. The people who are there. The opportunities that arise. Being in the present is knowing what is around you and being grateful that it is there and that you are apart of it.


Planting your feet firmly in the present and keeping them there is not an easy task. With awareness, acknowledgement and deliberate choices we can find that reality and find the peace and fulfillment that comes with it.


Challenge:

Practice letting go of the things that do not serve your present. Start with one thing at a time and when you have mastered one, move on to another.


Morals:

  1. Our past should be used to teach us lessons, but we should not dwell in the past nor allow it to make decisions for us.

  2. While setting goals and having a vision for our future is good, we should not become a victim to the 'what ifs' and 'might be's' that cause needless worries and stress.

  3. Living in the present means awareness, acceptance, understanding, and appreciation of your past and your future and how they influence your present.






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