Don’t dwell on the past

There is an amazing italian saying that goes something like this “don’t cry on spilled milk”…basically, whatever happened has happened, and wasting your time crying about it, will not change anything. On the contrary, it will only make you feel worse.

I can bet right now that a lot of people wish that a time machine would be discovered so that we could go back in time and change some decisions we have made, that we regret today…but if you did, you wouldn’t be where you are today. And back than, the decisions you have taken sounded like the right ones to you in that point of time. Even if you would go back, you would probably make them again ( as the time machine doesn’t guarantee that you could go back in the past with your mind of today ). “Dwelling on the past can be self-destructive, preventing you from enjoying the present and planning for the future”. You are living in the here and now, not in your past. And the future is still to be written…so this is where you should focus your energy on.

“Lingering guilt, shame and anger are just few of the feelings that can keep you stuck in the past”. And even worse, doing so is often a way to distract us from the present, in an attempt to escape what is happening to us in this very moment, dodging responsibilities and blaming the past for everything we do.

Dwelling on the past can only lead to more problems in the future:

  • you miss out on the present
  • makes it impossible to adequately prepare for the future
  • interferes with your decision making skills
  • doesn’t solve anything
  • can lead to depression
  • it is bad for your physical health
  • it influences your emotions and behavior

The only way to turn this around is to focus on the present first and foremost and look towards the future which is still for you to be written:

  • when you catch yourself thinking negatively about a past event, switch your mind to gratitude, something that you are thankful for today
  • establish goals for he future, both short and long term
  • focus on the lesson that you have learned
  • think about the situation differently, and how it helped you reach where you are today, focusing on facts instead of emotions
  • make peace with the past, forgive yourself

“Refusing to dwell on the past doesn’t mean you pretend the past didn’t happen. In fact, it often means embracing and accepting your experiences so you can live in the present. Doing so frees up your mental energy and allows you to plan for your future based on who you want to become, not who you used to be”.

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