How many of you struggle with living in the past?
Maybe you feel mentally stuck in old memories or emotionally stuck in old hurts.
Well, you’re not alone.
The other day I was entertaining an old friend I hadn’t seen in years from school. We did some reminiscing, which is normal, but I noticed that the majority of the conversation this person carried had to do with what happened when we were in school. Even though this person had made major moves since those days it seemed his heart was still in what could have been.
I felt sad for him and then I began to question my own behaviors and thoughts toward the past. I asked myself how much of my mental energy is spent living in the past instead of embracing today?
I think a place where we often get stuck in life is in our thinking. And a lot of that has to do with living in the past. Stuck in the good ol’ days or what could have been, you know, the shoulda, coulda, woulda’s.
- That old girlfriend or boyfriend that got away.
- That old hurt.
- When I looked like that.
- The time I did that great thing.
But what about today?
We can’t live for today if we are stuck in yesterday.
I think we all have a tendency to romanticize the past. If things had gone differently we’d be happier. If we had just gotten with that one person from college our lives would be great now.
Maybe we think if we hadn’t went through that one hurtful event we’d be better off, without scars.
It’s tempting to entertain those thoughts, but we really don’t have any proof that our lives would have ended up better had we gone another route. We don’t know what curve-balls the life we think we wanted would have thrown us.
I want to encourage you to live for today, not yesterday or what could have been.
I think the best way to live for today is to do a regular (preferably daily) purging of our accumulated baggage. The things that didn’t work out, the things we have to let go of. Whether that’s through prayer, journaling, therapy or some other method; because accumulated hurt and baggage just leads to more hurt and baggage for us and those we love. We have to consistently let our baggage go to live for today.
Living in the past prevents you from being present to receive the blessings today can bring. It’s OK to reminisce and use the past as a point of reference, but don’t stay stuck there.
Live for today not what could have been.