Wise men say that whenever you find yourself in trouble (and not only), it is better to take it one day at a time.
I was just thinking… you should be careful which day you choose; re-living yesterday or pre-living tomorrow may make you unfit for maybe the most important – which is today.
On the one hand, no matter whether it is because of wonderful memories or painful moments, if you linger in the past for too long, you may not see the good (or bad) things that lie ahead. You may also gradually start to see the past more and more distorted. Time works in mysterious ways. It can make good things seem better than they actually were; can reduce pain but can also amplify fears. Just by its passing by. It can make you answer in your mind many questions that were actually left unanswered in your past, and then judge yourself and others according to this distorted perception. I believe you know what I am talking about. Re-visiting untied ends makes you create imaginary alternatives, and then even start to believe in one of them, as the only possible explanation. This trap of time, reaching false closure for unfinished sensitive chapters in your live is dangerous and may very well influence your today and tomorrow.
On the other hand, when you think about the future, you see it according to what you are and what you know today, your state of mind, your past experience. If you see it too grim, it means you fuel your fears and… die a thousand deaths before something actually happens. If you see it too positive, it means you either do not prepare properly for what can go wrong, or that you set expectations too high and pave the road for disappointment. If you see it exactly as it actually will happen, it means you are either psychic or excessively organized, or plain lucky. Because usually, as Woody Allen said, ‘If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans’.
Depression is usually connected to both your perception of the past and expectations about the future. You do not live today to the fullest but are divided between the past and the future, overwhelmed about one and worried about the other. Sometimes you can only get out of this stage after others help you revisit the past, eliminate the distortions you created around it, and then reshape your attitude towards your future.
That is also why I do not say: forget your past and do not worry at all about the future. You should remember and learn from yesterday, plan and prepare for tomorrow. But have reasonable measure in everything. And, of course, do not forget to go and live TODAY - universally known as the first day of the rest of your life.
I will end this post by sharing with you one of my favorite short poems, actually a prayer. You do not have to be a religious person to see the wisdom in these words.
Have a nice day – yesterday, today and tomorrow!
God, grant me the serenity
To accept the things I cannot change;
Courage to change the things I can;
And wisdom to know the difference.
This is the short form I was familiar with, however I just found out now on Wikipedia that it has also an ‘extended’ form. As this is really interesting for the content above, I share also the extended part with you:
Living one day at a time;
Enjoying one moment at a time;
Accepting hardships as the pathway to peace;
Taking, as He did, this sinful world
As it is, not as I would have it;
Trusting that He will make all things right
If I surrender to His Will;
So that I may be reasonably happy in this life
And supremely happy with Him
Forever and ever in the next.
Very good advice Gina, thank you for this beautiful post.ReplyDelete
On the exact same note, I recommend Phillip Zimbardo’s book The Time Paradox. It is a fascinating read and gives you the tools to create your own time perspective profile; it opens up your understanding of different time orientations and helps explain different life attitudes. He suggests that anyone can alter their time orientation if enough attention is paid to it.
Here is an RSA Animate on the subject… (RSA short for Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce). It distills the essence of the book... for the ‘time constrained’ ;-) individuals of today’s world…
Being and Time…