One Eye on the Past and One on the Future
Many of us live our lives in a manner which could be described as having one eye on the past and one on the future – our minds constantly drift to the mistakes of the past whilst our fears are aligned with the worst case scenario of a future which doesn’t even exist yet. I know because despite the positives in my life I often end up doing the same thing – my mind drifts back to either hurtful or harmful memories whilst at the same time I end up fearing for an unknown, much like a mathematical formula where depending on the day and the mood X will represent a more depressing variable.
It’s interesting to consider that if we always have one eye on the past and one held firmly on the maybes of the future, what is there to accept, enjoy and throw ourselves into in the present? One of the core causes of unhappiness is an inability to accept and enjoy what we have in any given present moment – it’s about delving into the now with affection and acceptance as opposed to going to what we could have done better in the past to change the present or how this present may lead to a future of insecurity and unhappiness.
Nine times out of ten we can be found creating what-if goals for ourselves – we say if we have a particular something or if we a certain amount of money then we can and will be happy. This isn’t true. Yes, we feel that this level of security will change our current situation somewhat but if we aren’t content with the present then we’ll never allow ourselves to accept this security. Despite our lack of a valid crystal ball it’s interesting to try and accept that no matter what happens we will be okay – how can we know? Well using our past experiences as an anchor can be one way. Personally I’ve lost two people, one long before her time, I’ve also grown up with two parents who were ill and fought against the odds in a low-income family with their endless support to reach university and as an income in the process create two growing businesses. I’ve historically been through a lot of heartache for being only twenty-one but I realise that although some things may hurt and others are hard I’m okay. Use your own experiences to create a similar present moment attitude – what heartaches and difficulties have you come through only to be in this very moment and know that you are alright? There may be down moments and hours of struggle but the ultimate truth could be that we are fine.
Eventually there’s truth in the wisdom of mindfulness. Having one eye on the past and one on the future may be a valid way of thought for some cultures but it can have us miss out on the wonderful offerings of the present whilst also drawing us to the traumas of the past. It doesn’t do much for our being. So instead try to be as patient with the current moment as you can – accept your past for what it is and for how it has made you stronger whilst enjoying what you have now, it is here where contentment lies.
Laura O'Hanlon is a passionate freelance writer, the creator of the blogs Living Minimalist and Sweeter Business and the author of The Amazing Nine to Five. Laura is the Managing Director of Book Corner UK and blogs daily on health and wellbeing, simple living and women in business.