Savor the Good and Let Go of the Bad
Don’t wait until it no longer is to appreciate it and don’t hold onto to what no longer serves you
Just yesterday it hit me how often I fondly reflect on old times and things that once were. Now, in essence, there’s nothing wrong with doing so. It’s good to have good memories. Except here’s the thing — when I truly reflect and look back, I wasn’t even happy during these times in my life and moments I supposedly cherish.
It’s a deadly combination of not being able to appreciate what I have until it’s gone, over-romanticizing the past and holding onto what was. Somewhere deep inside me resides a miser who believes if only things could go back to how they were or if I could only have that again, I’d be happy.
The first step to putting an end to this bad habit of mine is realizing what the problem is in the first place, which I did fairly quickly — I’m rarely ever present enough to get joy out of those moments when they’re taking place. I spend too much time in my head thinking about what was or worrying about what might be to truly appreciate them.
Bestselling author James Altucher refers to this “time-traveling”. When we spend too much time thinking about the past or worrying about the future, we rob ourselves of being able to enjoy the present moment as it’s happening. When we do this, we’re setting ourselves up for the same vicious cycle of remorse. It doesn’t matter how good what’s in front of us is — if we’re always busy thinking about what once was or what we once had, what good is the good in front of us?
What’s the point of even living a good life if we can’t appreciate it while it’s happening?
To try and combat this cycle and break this bad habit of mine, as soon as I opened my eyes this morning, before even getting out of bed, I thought of ten things I was grateful for. Not things or people from days of old, but those in the here and now — today. I need to learn to appreciate the moment right in front of me if I ever truly want to be happy.
Otherwise, I’ll always fall victim to time-traveling. How foolish it is to not appreciate what you have when it’s right in front of you, only to do so years later when the moment is long gone. It’s like the perfect operating system for combating potential happiness. However, it’s one none of us have to operate off of. All we have to do to avoid such a cycle is do our best to live in, and appreciate the present. Easier said than done for some of us maybe, but certainly not impossible.
The Art of Letting Go
I’ve made a million mistakes and I’ll probably make another million of them before my time is up. We all will, I’m not unique. We’re all human and it’s simply a part of life.
It’s not the mistakes that haunt us though, it’s holding onto them that hinders our progress. We can learn from mistakes. However, there’s nothing to be learned from never moving past them. You need to learn to let go and move forward. I can honestly say, I’ve gotten pretty good at this over the years. Unfortunately, I’ve had a lot of practice. While I hold myself responsible and accountable for my actions, I also don’t dwell on all of my wrong actions. There’s no point in letting our pasts control our futures. It’s a recipe for disaster. You can’t do anything to change what’s behind you, but if you’re not careful, it’ll ruin both your present and your future.
Gratitude and Appreciation Breed Blessings and Happiness
I’m determined to live well. I refuse to let my past, or future, ruin the present moment. Why worry about a future I’m not sure will even exist for me?
I’ve seen far too many people pass before their time to believe tomorrow is promised to any of us. I assure you, it’s not. So enjoy today and whatever it may bring.
I could get hit by a truck crossing the street later. What a waste it is to worry about things outside our control, like tomorrow. All we can do is prepare ourselves for it as best as possible, before moving forward towards it.
There’s nothing wrong with looking back fondly on yesterday, as long as you appreciated and enjoyed it while it was right there in front of you.
Learning to appreciate the present moment and be present in it is the ultimate formula for finding happiness and combating regret. Today is a gift, that’s why it’s called the present. Not everyone who woke up yesterday will get to enjoy the gift of today.