Yesterday is a great name for a song but the worst thing for you to dwell on. Whether successful or a total failure, yesterday is over, but we often spend a lot of our time thinking about it.
There is no going back. The reason people love time travel movies and stories is because it allows us to live out our fantasies, it postulates the impossible, the only thing that can't be cheated: time.
High school, your last job, even emotional events such as a car wreck or a family member dying can make you wonder what you could have done differently to change the outcome.
Arguments long over and confrontations from yesterday play through our minds, we often come up with things we'd like to say, or things we felt we should have said, the courage that sometimes fails us in the heat of the moment can never be resurrected.
Thomas Wolfe said, "You can't go home again." Often times the attempts to relive youth-full memories fail. There is no going back.
So why do we do it? Our emotional, and sometimes intellectual needs can get in the way of our progress. Life is all about decision-making in a world with limited resources, and the most precious resource is your time.
Private jets, overnight packages, and expressway passes all allow people to trade money for more time. Steve Jobs' multibillion dollar fortune couldn't save him from cancer. I wonder how much of his wealth he would have traded away in exchange for more time. My guess would be all of it.
Winston Churchill said that in history lay all the secrets, and while that certainly is a great quote, thinking about what you have done or what you should have done will do more to fog your future than save it.
1. Don't wish. When you get to the part where you say or think "I wish," stop. If you are going to wish, wish big, and wish for the future, there is a 100 percent better chance of getting your wish in the future than the past no matter how ridiculous. The past is past.
When you say the words "I wish," you have officially resigned from reality, which is never a good place to be if you want to accomplish anything in life.
The past is over. It's worth repeating. If you struggle with this aspect of your life, write it down and hang it up somewhere, or make it your screen saver and read it aloud every time you catch your self "wishing."
2. Learn to let go. Recognize what's standing between you and dealing with it is tough. Some things are harder to give up than others. Guilt is a complicated thing; sometimes its self-inflicted other times its used against us as a weapon. Either way, guilt is the meter by which we judge our selves.
The level of guilt we feel often dictates the length of time we take to get over what ever it is we have done. Some people, even though forgiven by those they have wronged, never forgive themselves, making every tomorrow a yesterday before it even happens.
While its good to remember the past and retain the lessons learned, dwelling in them is far more destructive than most of us realize. When we go over and over a scenario, reliving each moment, we are negating our selves the future. Forgiving our selves is the key to letting go of the past.
3. Live in the now. We are all guilty of daydreaming about the past. It's a lot harder to face reality. Having the courage to get up each day and face the problems and challenges each day presents is a daunting task at times. Good memories are almost as dangerous as the bad ones. We tend to cling to the person we once were, or at least thought we were.
Some people facing disease, a lengthy legal battle, or a painful divorce find themselves spending every conscious minute reliving the past. It's natural. Protect your most valuable resource. Memories are powerful, don't let them run your life, you'll never progress.
As I live my life, I recognize that I can never truly amend my past. I have lived an imperfect life and have made many mistakes. Some of which I still think about. I'd like to say that I don't, but like so many things it's often easier said than done. Living for today is a process and will take you all your life to accomplish. Forget yesterday, apologize where applicable and move on with your life. Yesterday is officially over; your future starts now.
For more by Nate Holzapfel, click here.
For more on emotional wellness, click here.