We’ve heard, over and over again, about how we need to be present. To not be engulfed by our past hurts and never worry about the future. We’ve all heard common trites about real-time reflection, mindfulness, journaling and meditation as powerful tools to keep the mind at rest and be present. All well and good, until you look back in time again and everything comes crashing down.
The reality of living is that no matter how much you try to be present, something always sends you back to the past or tries to fast forward you to the future, leaving you either depressed or anxious. But the “best-worst” part of looking back in time is realising how better certain things were then compared to now.
This nostalgic feeling plus admiration for the past always comes with its regrets. Regrets from not acknowledging what we had then or how we looked then or something great we missed then. And if such regret exists, it’s usually the heart-wrenching type because you can’t go back to being that person again. Since many studies have shown that as we grow and advance, we shed different parts of ourselves to better conform with the demands and expectations of our current times, whether personal or societal.
How does this regret look?
It looks like a snowball of resentment for yourself and sometimes people around you who couldn’t encourage you to be, or acknowledge some of the good things that were occurring in your life then.
We reminisce over physical attributes
One of the first few things people with weight issues or insecurities always notice about themselves when they look back in time is their weight. They use their eyes to measure whether they were more trimmed, bigger or remained the same.
Oftentimes, I discovered that I usually looked more trimmed in my old pictures (old could be a year), and I would kiss my teeth on how hard I was on myself during that period of time regarding my physique, and how I forgot to appreciate myself and my journey then. So when we fall in that loop of regret, it’s heart wrenching.
It’s important we disengage from things that are bound to make us deviate from seeing even the littlest good in ourselves now and as time goes on. This will help us minimise the regret and resentments that might follow in the future.
We appreciate our attitude to things then
Maybe when you were a bit younger you were bolder, tenacious and had the fortitude to bear a lot of things compared to now. Now, you’re overly reactive to almost everything that occurs to and around you and it’s distressing you.
It is still not too late to course-correct. Determine why you think you are reacting to things the way they are, embrace what needs to be embraced, appreciate the difficult journey, and redevelop the attitude you so much please. After all, you’re envying yourself and no one else. All you have to do is be yourself again.
Being in the here and now state is the state where all the reflection and introspection has to occur, otherwise, it’s futile as you’d end up replaying history all over again.
You appreciate your environment then
Not so many people are opportune to stay in a sane, supportive environment. So if you were among the lucky fellows who had one, and never truly relished those times, perhaps because you had too many people at your disposal to cater for you, now is the time to make amends by being present. Be present and start appreciating whatever is going on around and in your life now. Maybe, just maybe, you’d be lucky again to re-surround yourself with (maybe not exactly the people from your past) their likes.
You can start by evaluating some of the skills that may have allowed you to attract those sort of people in your life, the “good” social skills, and before you know it, you’re back to where you were/are.
Being here and now is the greatest mindful power we have to navigate things. It erodes painful regrets and resentments that come with looking back and relishing the good moments.
Our physique, attitude or our environment are powerful aspects that make us up and could easily mar us if we don’t inculcate the habit of appreciating who we are or where we are now. Truth is, we will still look back in time to this time years later, and appreciate the littlest things (or big things) we are currently taking for granted.
So since we have the wisdom and power now to course-correct, why don’t we begin to implore the ways by which we can be mindful of where our minds drift and utilise the efficacy of being here and now?
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