Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How much time do you spend thinking about the future?

I recently read that one out of every eight thoughts we have is about the future. I'm not sure how true that is but it actually seems low to me! I think something I struggle with is thinking about the future too much. One of my yoga instructors always tells us to practice being in the moment. The past, she says, is gone and no longer exists. The future has not happened and therefore does not yet exist. What does exist is the present and therefore that is where we should be.

I find it hard. I see the importance of being in the moment and especially as a parent that is where I try to be when I'm with my little one. But I can't discount the importance of the past or the future. I want to be aware of the past. Learning from history is something I put value in. I want to learn from my past mistakes and successes. I want to evolve as a person. And having my past as an integrated part of my life is an important part of that. And when it comes to the future, don't we need to have goals and direction? I want to have an idea of what I want and where I want to be both personally and professionally. Having a picture of my future helps me make decisions in the present. I don't want to give that up entirely.

But I think it's about balance and not getting mired in either. Getting stuck in the past can mean holding onto guilt or resentment. I know I have been known to hold a grudge and I'm working to be better at letting the past go. I want certain people in my life to accept changes I've made or forgive me for wrongs I've done. And I want to do the same for others. I want to be aware of the past but not hindered by it. But the big one for me is not getting caught up my ideas of the future. I can certainly get anxious about things: events coming up, getting someplace on-time, accomplishing something, making sure something else will be ok. In addition to the anxiety that comes with thinking about all of life's logistics, there is also the trap of emotional projection. In some of the relationships in my life that are challenging one thing both sides do it make assumptions. We think we know what will happen, and then have an emotional response based on that projection. This is the biggest thing I try to watch out for because this really is spending time on something that is not real. Even if I feel it is likely to happen, even if I'm sure of it, if it hasn't happened yet I shouldn't spend time getting upset. I'm working on it.

Do you guys have trouble dwelling in the past or worrying about the future?

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