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The Past Has No Present

There is little doubt the past is relevant. However, no one wants to recycle the past if it does not add value to our present functioning. If we must reclaim the past, we should consider using the past sparingly if it does not add depth to something we want to accomplish in the present.

Real life is beautifully complex. Life sometimes reminds us of the saying, “The same thing that makes you laugh will make you cry.” We attach meaning to our many experiences with others and our environment. Some of these experiences are better than others; with cognitive distortions, we tend to discount excellent memories. We recall the ones we cannot realistically change.


Fortunately, as humans, we are constantly transitioning from one experience to another; at times, with purpose, we want to fix the things we find most concerning.


Sometimes, we seem stuck in the past, but that is not always true as we are aware of the present. We are displeased with our present and searching for the origination of our displeasure, so we journey back to our past. The idea of revisiting the past for clarification may seem counterintuitive, but that is where we experienced what we experienced.


Consequently, we do our best to self-reflect on our past by examining our character, actions, and motivations for how we are in the present. We want to find that exact moment when things changed for us.


Since we cannot visit the future and the present is concerning, the next best destination is our past. The challenge is when we marry the past to the present and continue to relive the past without adapting to new ways of living. Therefore, to meaningfully separate from our history, we can consider the following:

  • We cannot compensate for the past in the present.

  • Practice radical acceptance of the things we cannot change.

  • Should we struggle to create an identity of our own, we will live to please others.

  • We all have imperfections, and self-acceptance is crucial to our overall well-being.

  • To live fully in the present, we cannot carry the burden of our past with us.

  • Recognize that thinking about our present life based on our past is one way to stay stuck.

  • One reality is to recognize no one owes us anything, and we are responsible for how we interact with the world.

Luckily, as humans, we are constantly growing and evolving. Our growth sets us on a path to recovery from our negative emotions. Our lightbulb moment usually comes from our realization that the deeper we dig into our past, the further away we get from the present.


Empowering Minds. Inspiring Lives.

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