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Misery is certain, misery can be controlled and misery is familiar.


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Not only that, but many people use self-imposed misery to distract themselves from the present moment; from the emptiness of their lives , from their fear of living courageously, from their fear of failure, from the fear of being responsible for the outcome of their existence. Living in the past can give us a key to avoiding self-responsibility in the present.

It is the highest form of avoidance. This question takes a lot of honest self-inquiry. As we have seen in the previous point, it is common for us to gain something from dwelling in the past, something very powerful. Am I ready to move on? The next step in the process of present living is finding something to be consumed in, right here, right now in the present moment.

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This most likely involves fulfilling a long-held dream, like attempting to write a book, or create a flower garden, or even cleaning out the whole house. No matter how romantic or homely your interest is, do it. Even the act of researching is a form of being consumed. Being thankful for what you have is a wonderful way of breaking the habit of living in the past. The truth is that life is uncertain, unstable and unpredictable. We all experience loss, but the important thing to remember is that all bad and good things in life provide us opportunities to grow, to become deeper, wiser and stronger.

You are what you believe after all.


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Being consumed in the past is not as simple as people make it out to be. It is not simply about recognizing that the past is dead and gone, but actively questioning and replacing old sabotaging mindsets and behaviors with alternatives. It is true that many things can be gained from living in the past, and once we become aware of these unhealthy rewards, and the ways in which they sabotage our relationships with others, we can open ourselves to change.

What have your experiences been with living in the past? Please share for the benefit of others! Aletheia Luna is an influential psychospiritual writer whose work has changed the lives of thousands of people worldwide, she is currently based in Perth, Australia.

After escaping the religious sect she was raised in, Luna experienced a profound existential crisis that led to her spiritual awakening. As a spiritual counselor and author, Luna's mission is to help others become conscious of their entrapment and find joy, empowerment, and liberation in any circumstance. We spend hundreds of hours every month writing, editing and managing this website. If you have found any comfort, support or guidance in our work, please consider donating:. We would love to hear from you:.

To customize your avatar, you can upload an image to gravatar. Receive our latest posts in your inbox! I have had problems with this several times with people. It was okay at first, reminiscing about college. But long story short: It soon became apparent that he had not moved past ish.

So 20 years passes, a lot of time. I had changed a lot. He had not. I soon saw that he was the exact same irresponsible, aimless individual he had been in college and basically refused to grow up.

I was in a stable relationship of nearly 10 years by the time we reunited. One day, out of the blue, he snapped because he felt like I was not paying enough attention to him. He called me selfish, told me I had anger management problems where did that come from?! I have been reading your articles and they help me a lot, thanks!

How Living in the Past Fractures Your Relationships

I am wondering that if commitment-phobia could be considered as a form of living in the past. What do you think? I prefer my past because time were so much happier. My husband has been disabled for all but 2 of the 15 years we have been together. I miss the days of seeing him happy and pain free. For 13 years, it has been endless rounds of doctor visits, medications, hospital stays, assisting him with bathing, dressing, meals, being the primary driver in the family. It gets old. His medications and sunlight are a bad combination, non-stop fatigue, PTSD, depression, and a rare incurable spinal cord disease.

It would take a miracle for our life to return to normal, not going to happen unfortunately. When the past was really good, you can live there because just thinking back on it gives you a feeling of comfort and happiness. I spent eight years in the Army and am proud to have served my country. I have a friend who also served and although he has been separated from the military for many, many years, he still lives there. Every story he tells is about his days in the military; every situation or scenario that is currently happening is compared to the "good old days" being in the service.

Think of the middle-aged guy you know that always talks about his days as a high school football player; the mom with three kids that talks incessantly about her days as a college gymnast; the retired executive that relives over and over again her days as the head of a Fortune company. Are you living in the past? You can ask yourself the following questions to help you figure it out:.

The importance of living in the present and not the past — Exploring your mind

Is there one particular period from the past that you find yourself clinging on to? Are you frustrated with where you currently are in life? Are you fearful of the future? Does thinking about the past actually make you sad? If you find that you are clinging to a specific period from your past because you don't feel there is anything in the present or future that could possibly better, and if thinking about the past in that way actually makes you sad, you may be stuck in the past.

Living in the past is a problem because it robs you of the opportunity to enjoy the present. Not enjoying the present? If you aren't happy where you are, living in the past won't help! Living in the past allows you to avoid dealing with issues in the present. Think about this; it's much easier to reminisce about your high school sweetheart than it is to deal with the troubles you are currently having in your marriage.

It's nicer to daydream about when you were a star athlete, than it is to look at yourself in the mirror and deal with the extra 60, 70, 80 pounds you're currently carrying around. If you're currently unemployed or underemployed, it feels better to go back to a time when you were the boss, when people were depending on you, and when they respected and looked up to you. Looking back to a time when we were able to figure out a challenge can point us to that part of ourselves that can do it again.

Excellent insights. Thank you. Beautiful memories are wonderful, and remembering WHO we were in those moments can be very inspiring as we live in the present. A great way to view the past, Alli. Through our senses, we can craft a new path forward by leveraging what we awaken from our past.

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Great advice! I love the way you put things, Jon. When I was in college… I thought anything was possible. I got a job in a Big 6 Consulting Firm as a sociology major and kept on going. Something to be said for tapping into that energy again! You are SO right Alli! That we are told so often to stop looking back. But you know what? I thank you for this post!

Jethro Tull - Living In The Past 1969

Sometimes the memories of the past can help us get back to some awesome stuff we enjoyed back then! Thank you for making me smile Alli — as I imagned you and your stories and was reminded of my own. But oh the power of smell! Bounce Dryer Sheets were never used in my home growing up, but my first roomate used them. Each time I smell them I am in our tiny dorm room and completely happy! Popcorn and Russian Tea — take me back to my parents home on a winter weekends as we gathered around the fire and watched television.

Love that, Chery!

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Amazing how a smell can bring us back to another place and time in an instant. Smiling as I read your memories here. Thank you! Thank you for this great post Ali. I was working with a client this week who needs to shift his life forward.