This is my version of Throwback Thursday – posting blogs from years gone by.
Originally posted September 1, 2006
Most modern day psychological trends are based on the premise that you should spend a lot of time examining your past to find answers to your current situation. This makes sense for many reasons, especially when we realize, upon reflection, we often repeat actions without taking note of the outcome.
It’s also part of human nature to think about the future. As children, we dream of when we will grow up. As adults, we think about our future life partner, future house, the dream job.
With so much time spent on examining the past and dreaming of the future…how much time do we really spend thinking about right now?
It’s important to examine the past to become aware of who you were. But I think it’s difficult to move into a future, either real or imagined, without truly acknowledging where you are at the moment. Sometimes that’s really hard. Like it is for me right now. I’m nowhere near where I want to be in my career. Sure, I can find many reasons based on past actions as to why that is…but the truth is…I’m not where I want to be.
I need to stop and notice that I’m currently not successful in my career. I think there’s a tendency to gloss over that point. My well meaning friends…and me…immediately go into cheerleader mode: “But you WILL be successful! Hang in there! Don’t give up!” All of which may be absolutely true.
But in acknowledging the present, I have to say, I’m currently not successful.
This doesn’t mean just focusing on the negative, of course. It’s imperative to take note of the good in your life as well. I’m healthy, I live on my own, I run my own business…I’m pursuing my dreams. I should spend time to embrace that.
I’m about to embark on a major life change. It’s something I’ve been thinking about doing for ten years…and now I’m ready to do it. I’ve been reading several books that are full of suggestions on how to deal with this new endeavor. One of the big things is mourning the dream of the life I thought I would have right now. In order to mourn that dream, I had to remind myself of what that dream was…and to embrace the one I have now.
The surprising part of this process is realizing what I really wanted then…and what I want now…and the discovery of what has changed.
Examining the present does not mean you deny your past or negate the future. It just means that you take a moment in time to reflect on your journey in the here and now. It’s more than ‘stopping to smell the roses’. It’s an active participation and examination of the space and time you currently are inhabiting.
Acknowledging the present means checking in with yourself and asking, “how are you?”…and then really listening to the answer.