Live in the Present, Not the Past

November 30, 2016
While the past may be hard to accept and to move on from, you must do so in order to live in the present and be open to a future full of happiness.

Even though we don’t believe it, we are not the same person we were yesterday.  The past has taught us, through joy, sorrows, and hardships, to be wiser. The past cannot be changed. Nevertheless, what happened to us in the past affects who we are today and how we live in the present.

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How to Live in the Present

Sometimes it may difficult for people to come to terms with their own past. This is because they still have open wounds from the mistakes, failures, or hardships. This keeps them from being able to enjoy the here and now of today.

While it is good to accept the past, we also need to understand that one of the worst mistakes is to ruin the present by dwelling our past. We should put our past aside in spite of accepting each mistake made, everything or every person we have lost in our lives.

This is not easy to accomplish but it can be done and we suggest that you reflect on it.

The Past Has Nothing New to Offer You

At times, the past may come back to haunt us. This can occur when people trying to hurt us by asking us to go back to the person we were yesterday. Today you are a new and improved person and you should not revert back to the person you once were.

Do not allow this. Each time that the past comes knocking at your door, understand that it has nothing to offer you. True happiness occurs when you live in the present, so be mindful of the moment you’re living right now.

It’s time to move on

Living is being able to move forward by detaching yourself from things and people.

You have left friends who turned out to be fake and family members who didn’t appreciate you.  You have left places, jobs, traditions, and more in order to move on to new paths full of opportunities and happiness.

It’s time to start anew and close doors that hinder our growth, although it may be bittersweet.  However, when we “close doors” we should not harbor hate or frustration.

Understand that whoever truly would like to overcome their past should do it free of baggage. Hate is, without a doubt, the heaviest burden and makes us prisoners of those who did us harm, those who did not really love us.

Move forward towards a future free of resentment and negative emotions that sabotage your chance to be happy.

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Love and live your present, but integrate your past

You are a complete person. Each one of your past and present experiences makes you who you are.  Once you set hate, guilt, and anger free, you can truly live in the present and love yourself.

According to Gestalt therapy, a school of human psychology, we should be aware of the here and now, while combining the past and the present.

The person who only recalls the past and longs for it forgets to live in the present and forgets who they are now. When this happens, we tend to disconnect from reality and our own necessities.

Believe it or not, this can make us sick. Very often, depression originates from a hopeless fixation on the past. It is because of that weakness that we are unable to fully live in the present.

We should be capable of loving ourselves for who we are, including the mistakes we’ve made in the past. The mistakes have allowed us to learn and figure out who we are now.

You miss a thousand paths you could take by looking at the past

In spite of the fact that we have all lost and missed  many things in our past, the only way to repair those gaps is to create new opportunities and to focus on the here and now.  We can do this with more wisdom and bravery.

Something interesting that can help us reflect on this is to think about an ancestral Japanese technique that is used to repair broken pieces of China.

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  • The Japanese culture understands that when a cups breaks, for example, nothing can be like it was before. The past is gone and it defines who we are now.

Nevertheless, it also opens the door for us to be stronger and more beautiful than before.

  • Because of that, those fragments and broken pieces go back together using a technique called Kintsugi.  This method utilizes a type of glue that allows the repair to be covered with a gold or silver dust.
  • Each crack is decorated with the gold or silver paint which makes the piece more beautiful and tells a great story.
  • We should also put this technique into practice.  Far from avoiding or lamenting our past, we ought to integrate it into our present with strength and resilience.

Dare to paint your wounds with gold, don’t hide them, don’t be ashamed…

Also read: Dare to live the life that you want to tell about

You are not the same person who you were yesterday.  You are a braver, more capable person and someone who is respectable, moving ahead in search of more opportunities.

  • Fagan, J., & Shepherd, I. L. (1970). Gestalt therapy now: Theory, techniques, applications.
  • Kabat‐Zinn, J. (2003). Mindfulness‐based interventions in context: past, present, and future. Clinical psychology: Science and practice10(2), 144-156.