I notice many are beginning to explore the topic of mindfulness. Not that long ago, I realized that what makes me depressed is thinking of the past. But more than just thinking of the past, I was living in it. Thinking of the past is reflecting upon a memory or reminiscing on an experience. Living in the past is adding a feeling or an emotion to that memory or experience.
Something or someone would trigger a past memory in which I would mentally transport myself backwards through time. Some may say, “but what’s so wrong with the past?” It’s not as if anything is wrong with the past in itself, I have wonderful memories of opening gifts on Christmas, and birthdays at Disney World. The problem with thinking of the past is that I have completely connected my past to emotions/feelings of pain and trauma.
I cannot speak for everyone, but only myself. I have intertwined most of my past with the negative emotions of fear, anger, shame, guilt, sadness, and trauma. I cannot rewire my brain into thinking any differently for those moments that have happened. I was ignorant. I wasn’t aware of life, as I see it now. Life happens through you, not to you.
Most people are taught to live life through these negative and lacking emotions. We must hide who we are, we mustn’t give away too much nor too little, we must be as normal as possible, and so on. A truly fulfilling life cannot be lived by someone inauthentic, or someone who masks who they are in the world. A truly fulfilling life requires an individual to be honest with who and what they are. It requires being freely you.
Another problem with thinking of the past and even the future is that you are taking yourself out of the current experience. When so much of your time is given to events that have occurred and those not yet to come, we lose out on what it means to be actually alive. Being alive is being present.
The only powerful thing that was left for me to do was to begin again. Start over. It means I must forget the past, or at least try to.
Forgetting the past does not give me free reign to make foolish mistakes over and over again. Forgetting the past doesn’t absolve those who have harmed or hurt me in some way or capacity. The mistakes I’ve made and the experiences I’ve had, I’ve learned from them. Forgetting the past helps me move forward into the present time.
The present time is the most essential part of life that anyone has. Being in the present is being who I am. The present doesn’t depend on what I’ve done, who I’ve met, where I’ve been, etc… The present time is endless. I’m not sulking over the past, and I’m not obsessing over the future. I simply am conscious in being in the right here and right now.
The way I see life is from a place of optimism. My glass is half full, and nothing less. Because I have changed how I perceive the world and my experiences, I can look back at these coming years with fondness and pride. I don’t know exactly what’s to come, but I’m excited for what is to come.
The future doesn’t depend on our past, it depends on what you are doing right now. Apply for that position, talk to that cute guy/girl you’ve been crushing on, plan that trip that you’ve been meaning to take, and just get out of your own way.