Originally posted 3/20/2014
A couple of years ago I cut out a quote from a magazine ad that said “History is not made looking in the rearview mirror.” The advertisement is long forgotten but the words have stayed with me.
How easy is it for all of us to focus on what was, or could have been? When we are in the middle of our daily problems or challenges – illnesses, divorce, separations, money troubles, kid worries – a hundred other issues that can descend upon us – we just have a human tendency to look at our past life.
We then either wish for happier times, or want to blame ourselves or others for prior decisions that we feel have come back to haunt us. I don’t know why that is – is it a habit, conditioning, our culture? No matter- we easily fall into the Past which then takes up our Present.
We each get to create our own history and to have one that is powerful and fulfilling will NEVER happen if we are stuck in the past. Never! Think of the people whom you admire – either those close to you or true historical figures. Each of these women in history have had an impact on all of us, one way or another: Susan B. Anthony, Amelia Earhart, Katherine Hepburn, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, Mother Teresa, Margaret Mead, Oprah. None of them would have been able to make a such a difference if they had only focused on what was behind them, their failures and pain, and had not moved forward to get the most out of each day of their present lives.
My own story is one that I have to be aware of each day – with my husband’s continuing critical illness I can quickly find myself wishing we had done things differently before his heart attack – seen a specialist, been more forceful about his losing weight, and on and on. When I find myself in the past, I have to sit up straight and say STOP IT! It doesn’t matter now what I didn’t do. All that matters is what I am doing now to make the story of my life one that I love each day.
If you are faced with the same challenges, I want to offer you somethings that I do to help me move on and re-emerge as a happier person:
1. Pay attention – be aware of when you are drifting into the past and how it is weighing you down and preventing you from enjoying each day. This is a very powerful first step.
2. Stop blaming yourself or others for what happened. Nothing good comes from blame or recriminations. Accept what happened and really know that people (including ourselves) do make the best decisions they can for themselves in that moment. I know that this is an arguable and really hard concept to embrace, but once you do, so much anxiety and bad feelings immediately fall from your shoulders. Try it!
3. Get a feeling of excitement about today and tomorrow. Feelings are the strongest forces driving our decisions . Our emotions really are big clues from inside us – don’t ignore them – but rather, wake up and figure out if this feeling is one that will really allow you to make the best choices.
You get to choose what feeling you want to have – no one else. So why not choose, happy and excited about your NOW rather than being upset or wistful about what was?
It has taken me quite a while to be able to understand and accept these simple ideas, and I am honored to be able to share them with you so that you can use them to as you need to help you create your own history – one that is joyful, fulfilled and truly focused on today and tomorrow.
For support and more ideas on how to create the story and future that you truly want, please go to http://www.icwop.com/program-options.html
New: Personal, customized coaching services are also available for individuals. Specializing in executive women looking for a life transition. Connect with me directly for a free Discovery Call. 732 245-4931