Enjoy Your Life Now Don’t Live In The Past Or Wait For The Future
The beginning of a new year is often a good time to examine the way you are looking at the past, present and future.
Are you dwelling too much on the past and spending a large part of your time thinking about how you could have been happy if only life had treated you differently? Or are you spending all or most of your thinking on how you will be happy if or when something happens in the future?
Learning from the past, planning for the future while enjoying the present are pillars of good mental health.
Let’s examine the person who thinks to himself, “My life would have been much happier if I could have been more popular in high school;” or “If my parents had been wealthy I would have had a lot better chance in life; or “My first husband should have come from a better family for us to be happy.”
People that judge their present and future happiness on what has occurred in their past are choosing to believe that life’s die was cast for them by what has already transpired. This thinking often leads them to believe that because of these situations, happiness is impossible now or in the future.
Next, let’s look at the person who believes that happiness is just over the next hill. For example, he says to himself, “I am going to be happy when the economy improves;” or “I will be happy when my kids are out of school and on their own.”
Other patterns of self-talk may include such thoughts as “If I ever meet the right person then I will be happy;” or “My future happiness is going to depend on how my employer evaluates me after I have been with the company for several years;” or “Happiness will only come for me when I find someone who really appreciates my skills and talents.”
If you are a prisoner of the past or are always living for the future, you are missing the very essence of life, the here and now. In this new year, regularly look at and appreciate your life every day so that you are not living only before the sun rises or after it sets.
You can choose to see the new year as a glass that is half-full or half-empty. Choose wisely and have a happy new year.
Harold H. LeCrone, Jr., Ph.D. Copyright © 2011