The Past

Change is ESSENTIAL for growth, most people believe that every condition that they’re in right now is going to last forever. That the situation they’re in defines who they are and what they will become but this is not the case.

In fact, those who believe that good times will last forever are the ones that will be disappointed most.

Let’s start here:

  • The reason why people who believe that good times will last forever will be disappointed the most is that: They’re living in the past.
  1. They are comparing the present to the good times in the past ~ this will lead to an endless cycle of negative thoughts because we know that we can never get back the past.
  2. The past is a mirror of the future because we base our current and future expectations on what we’ve already experienced. Many times, when we say that someone is living in the past, they are also thinking about what could happen rather than what is happening already.
  3. One can become more susceptible to anxiety when overthinking about what could happen rather than what is happening in the present moment.
  • When one reminisces about the past, it can help them in different ways, looking back at what helped them during the time. However, to have the constant desire to go back to how things were may be an unhealthy attitude to adopt.

As one may discover, the past is gone, it is relative to an abstract concept we call time. The only memories one may have about events that have happened in the past could be from photos/videos, pieces of writing, and of course our memories. However, a large part of this depends on the person’s willingness to remember phenomena and to do this, one can not afford to waste time thinking about the past or future. Therefore, a popular opinion one may suggest is: to live in the present moment and cherish the times you have with your friends/parents/families. It is a reminder that, at any point in time, we could lose our loved ones and everything around us that we cherished. When we spend too much time thinking about what can’t be changed, we lose sight of what is happening around us.

Think about it this way, if you’re always thinking about what could have been rather than what could be, you may lose opportunities to make more good memories. As you have control over your time, during the day, you get to decide what you spend time thinking about. Personally, I think it would be a waste of time to think about how to change things that I don’t have control over. For example, if I plan a picnic knowing that there is no possible way to change whether it rains or not, I wouldn’t think about why it is like this or what I could do to change the weather. I’d rather spend my time thinking about ways to move around it, like bring an umbrella or go another day. It would be a shame, but it isn’t what will keep me thinking all day.

  • To think about why something is a way it is, is an association we have made with morality. This association made with morality is a product of humanity, as we choose to identify something as good or bad. To place a value on an event, or a phenomenon can, however, work in our favor to prioritize or organize things.
    • When one thinks about why the weather is the way it is, is just like asking why someone is the way they are, or even why they are not fitting moral expectations. Just like when we talk about the weather as being ‘good’ or a person being ‘good’, we place our own expectations on distinctions of good and bad behavior.
  • However, many times, morality in itself is just an illusion which we have created to create order in an irrational world. This may lead to one’s dissatisfaction in life when valued too highly, because one may restrict themselves to fit expectations of society.
    • This may not always be the case, however, many experts have questioned why we know what we know or how we know what we know. This is a thought process that I would encourage as certainty itself is not attainable in the field of knowledge. These may also encourage new discoveries and even paradigm shifts (massive changes to previously accepted knowledge) to occur.
      • But, if we are speaking about daily processes that we (laypeople) are not in control about, to me it would be a waste of time to think about why it would rain or rather blaming nature for raining (a phenomenon beyond non-expert control)

To reminisce about the past isn’t a bad thing, it only becomes harmful when it becomes a constant reminder of what you can not have.

Another problem one may encounter is to ‘live in the future’, where one thinks too much about the future. This may cause more problems in life as one may not be happy with what they have in the present. 

  1. Thinks too much about what may happen in the future (things we can not control)
  2. Thinks too much about losing what you have now.

In this case, the best thing to do is to get your anxiety levels down, this can be done by reading a book and focusing on yourself. I like to meditate and put my hand to my heart as it is the deepest connection I have to myself.

When one changes, it is difficult to notice during the process. This is why many can fall victim to the vicious cycle of anxiety. For example, when one tries to lose weight, it is easy to see the difference between before losing a few pounds and after losing a few pounds, however, it is much more difficult to see the change during the process. This analogy is exactly what your body is doing every day, it is changing. As humans, we must evolve to adapt to new environments and therefore, so do our bodies and minds.

The point is, to survive in a constantly evolving planet, humans must evolve as well. To do this, our bodies regenerate cells, express different genes, produce different quantities of neurotransmitters… These are changes that we may not notice or choose not to notice. Whether they are good or bad is up to us to decide it, but an acknowledgment and consideration of the changes that exist may help us discover factors affecting our health/wellbeing.

If you are ever stressed, think about what you can control and do better rather than what you can not. This will help you prevent yourself from thinking too much on the past or the future.

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