Don’t let the Past Interfere With Your Future
Oscar Wilde once said “no man is rich enough to buy back his past” and I’ve got to say, the man has a point. Each of our pasts, however messy or full of mistakes they may be, will stay exactly as they are, forever.
When thinking about the past, it’s easy to create a nostalgic, rose-tinted view of moments that have passed. You always remember being slightly happier than you were, in a better place or even being more ‘yourself’, ironic since people find who they are as they get older and gain life experience.
Then of course, like a double headed coin, our bad memories and negative thoughts also become accentuated in retrospect. So the question we must ask ourselves, is how do we react when faced with these all-too familiar distant and quite possibly unwelcome memories? Do we leave them, where they belong, inside yesterday’s yesterday. Or do we allow them to affect our future?
Almost everything we experience, if not affected by external factors, is influenced by our thoughts, emotions, expectations and attitudes. And all of these things are influenced by what we’ve lived through – it is, after all, events that define us.
The struggle is, distinguishing between whether you’re using your past to better yourself or whether you’re using it as a reason to remain firmly within your comfort zone.
Living through distant memories is what ultimately makes you live in fear – fear of change, fear of rejection, fear of not living up to certain expectations… fear of life itself. So why is it that we allow ourselves to be governed by a moment in time that no longer exists?
Logic tells us, it’s because people gel to what they familiarise themselves with; if we have been hurt in the past, our minds tell us that it will happen again, because it is what we are used to. Some say it’s just ‘being cautious’ while others would argue that holding on to negative thoughts is bound to bring negative results.
Three fail-proof ways to get to grips with your future:
We’ll never be able to grow in any way, shape or form if we never take risks. We’re not talking jump-out-of-a-plane-without-a-parachute type risk, we’re talking small acts of personal bravery. Venture just slightly outside your comfort zone and who knows where you might end up.
And by the time you finish reading this sentence, you’ll already be in the future. With every blink the present becomes the past.
Categorising time isn’t necessary for us as individuals because it’s temporary. Age is just a number, tomorrow is just another today and yesterday was once right now. It’s not about when you live, but only about how.
In an illogical kind of way, I think everyone would be so much happier if they lived without memory – we’d have nothing to compare the present to and no differentiation between certain feelings. We’d just be happy. As opposed to constantly comparing our current happiness, to a time in the past when we were happier. Or worse, reflecting on past sadness and wondering when it will come knocking again.
So there it is. Your relationship with the future is monogamous and constantly thinking about your past won’t let you prosper. If ever there were four words to sum up how we should move forward in life, here they are:
Press play, never rewind.