Psychology Addict # 41 | Leaving the Past Behind

in psychology •  3 months ago

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Everything that has left the present moment can basically remain exactly as it was, because the past will not change anyway

@erh.germany

As of late I have been approached by an increasing number of people who in their 30’s, 40’s and 50’s find themselves disturbed, for example, by the bulling they underwent in their school years, a divorce that happened 12 years-ago, or the pain caused by not being loved by their parents as much as a sibling. For some of these people, such past memories are distressing to the point that just the thought of them bring up tears as well as deep sadness, which makes me think that some wounds are resistant to the restorative agency of time.

On the other end of the scale, I have also seen individuals whose past were so filled with happiness and joy that they refuse to let it go. I once saw a man in his mid 40’s who on becoming so attached to his eventful, thrilling 20’s rejected any other form of living life. Existing out of that sphere was so unbearable for him that he constantly tried to emulate those exciting years by wearing the same hat, similar clothes, listening to the same songs and so forth. Sadly, when he realised that he was on his own in that endeavour - because everyone else had long moved on - he sought for refuge in drinking.

Why so Deterministic?

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But, while learning to live with a hard-to-let-go past is an art that not everybody masters, I believe this is something that anyone can do. After all, what is the reason for adopting such a rigid deterministic approach to life?

Early behaviourist, B.F. Skinner believed that we are not in charge of our own choices. Through this view he suggested that environmental circumstances, and our personal history are the factors that drive us to behave the way we do, giving us the impression that we are acting under ‘our own free-will’ (this is what I mean by deterministic approach). Indeed, if you stop to think about the role the environment and the past play in influencing your choices and behaviour you might be surprised to realise the extent of it.

Nevertheless, we, human beings, are a little bit more complex than that. We are not just at the receiving end of what happens around us. Quite the contrary, humans actively shape the context in which they exist as a result of personal agency (with some thinkers going as far as to argue that even not making a choice is a choice). So, if you imagine that your life is a car, a sense of agency would be the driving seat ref..

Now, you tell me, who is going to be at the wheel: you or that/those past event(s)?

Put Your Abilities into Practice

Human beings have the capacity of strategizing, of imagining a future, and setting goals. Lots and lots of people decide to put this ability into practice not despite of what they went through in the past; but, because of it. They take a stance of seeing their past as a teacher, as an inspiration, not as a dictator. This is an empowering decision to make and the path for a rewarding future. As they take charge of the wheel as well as of the direction the car will take. As they come to understand that is it more fruitful to venture new destinations than to keep on revisiting the same old places that did nothing for them other than delay their journey forward.

It then, becomes a matter of understanding that while your past will never go away, it does not have to mute your sense of agency either. So, here you might ask me, if it is never going to go away how can I move on?

By, making the present moment better.

Who controls the present, controls the past

(George Orwell - 1984)

One of the aspects that get people ‘stuck’ is the powerlessness they feel towards the immutability of the past. But, while bygone events are unchangeable per se your views and feelings towards them are not. Hence, the more proactive you are about making the present a better time to be in, the less disturbed you will feel about those bad times. The longer you sustain this strategy the greater the number of good moments will be lined up in your memory lane, pushing those bad ones further and further away. Of course, the fact that those distressing events are now a far, hard-to-see sight doesn’t mean they are not there. One soon realises this when one encounters a trigger (a smell, a song, an image). I think of triggers as a fast-track ticket to those distance sights.

And this is why it is important to develop courage, because only courage will enable you to not be intimidated by that troubling bygone event. And I believe that this courage is directly proportional to one’s level of satisfaction with the present moment: the more content you are with your current life, the braver you will feel when confronting those memories. For example, if the divorced 50 year old woman is currently pleased with her present moment, and a song that reminds her of her ex-husband plays on the radio, she is more likely to just take a deep breath and get on with her day, than to start crying and have her morning ruined. In the same way that if the 40 year-old man had embraced the responsibilities required by adulthood and built a productive life upon it, the thought of his young-adult years would have become something to smile at, rather than a crippling longing.

How to Make the Present a Better Place to be In?

By having and executing a plan.

A plan motivates you to look ahead, it brings purpose to your existence, it reassures you of your ability of being in charge, and rescues you from the pleasures of self-pity. Personally, I believe in plans that aim at the development of potentials and character, because as they are achieved, everything else tends to falls in place. What is more, those very achievements help you to stand tall once again, providing you with a new mindset, as new behaviour yields a new rewired brain ref.. Then, those around you look and treat you more meaningfully, boosting your self-esteem and giving you confidence to face new challenges. A new cycle begins. One that leaves the torment of bygone days right where it belongs: behind you.

It is true that distress impedes clarity of thought. So, how to think of a plan?

Step-by-step.

A Letter from Your Improved-Self

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Five years ago I stumbled upon the works of psychologist Kelly McGonigal's, which seeks to boost people’s willpower in order to rid them of unhealthy habits that range from: overspending to smoking cigarettes. To strengthen willpower, among things such as exercise, good sleep and mindful meditation, McGonigal proposes that writing a letter to oneself from one’s future-self helps to wake people up to a possible gloomy future should they continue to nurture such habits. Her studies demonstrated this to be a real eye opener.

My own way of doing this is to first ask people to envision not only a future-self, but an improved-self. You know, a ‘turbo version’ of yourself. This is a useful way to shift attention from distressing past events, to the present and the future. Anything can be included in here, from ‘my improved-self has a beautiful vegetable garden’ to ‘my improved self doesn’t spend so much time watching bad TV’. Then I say; good, now that your improved-self has been personified, get it to write that letter to the present self.

What does the present-self needs to do to make the vegetable-garden real, or to watch less TV?

Some of these people feel compelled to share their letters with me, and while some of them just come back with a list of things to do, others come with a 2-page letter with the most insightful encouragement from themselves to themselves. It is beautiful. I have found that those who manage to get on with this ‘homework’ manage to overcome the dread they feel from troubling past memory sooner than those who don’t cooperate. And when I say cooperate, I don’t mean with me, I mean with themselves.

Why it Works

One of the reasons why this works for most people is because writing is a less abstract form of thinking as it translates emotions into language, it organizes feelings, structure rationalizations and relieves upsetting feelings. Research shows that putting distressing events down in words improves biological, psychological, social and behavioural measures. Consequently, giving rise to an improved physical and mental health ref.. Here, the ‘secret’ really is in not being afraid of revisiting those deep feelings and thoughts provoked by painful life events ref.. It is in having the courage of being expressive about them.

Personally, I see the action of taking this challenge in itself (writing the letter) a great sign of bravery. For me, those who are bold enough to scourer their difficult memories like this are already halfway there. Halfway through the journey which destination is an enjoyable, purposeful present moment, and a foreseeable, exciting future.


Reference List:

McGonigal, K. (2012) The Willpower Instinct: How self-control works, why it matters, and what you can do to get more of it, New York, Avery.

Moore J. W. (2016). What is the sense of agency and why does it matter. Front. Psychol. 7:1272. 10.3389/fpsyg.2016.01272

Orwell, G. (1949), 1984, London: Secker and Warburg,

Pennebaker & Chung (2007), Expressive Writing, Emotional Upheavals, and Health, In Handbook of Health Psychology, pp. 263-284.

Skinner, B. F. (1971). Beyond freedom and dignity. New York, NY, US: Knopf/Random House.

Image source: 1,2,3,4.


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Dear Reader,

Whether you are at total peace with your past or not, I believe in leading an existence that moves towards the fulfilment of one’s potentials. Have you ever had the opportunity to stop and think of your ‘future improved-self’? What is she/he like? Is the difference between she/he and your present-self big or small? 😊

I thank you once again for taking some of your time to read my writings.
Much love to you 🎔

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Oh, what a surprise to see me quoted at the beginning of your article! Thank you very much for honoring the idea behind the statement.

The proposal to write ourselves a letter of the future "I" is extraordinarily creative and strengthens the narrative side that also constitutes us as human beings. You are right, it empowers you in another way and through the letter thoughts and intentions become concrete.

I liked your examples, they made the abstract plastic - listening to a song and thinking about the ex as well as the achievements and thinking about the younger self.

One of my teachers once asked me what my life film would look like if I were a film director and I found this question very inspiring. This question is especially helpful when you are plagued by the past as well as worried about the future.

Fear of the future is, so to speak, the evil sister of the obsession of the past :)

It's nice that writing a letter to yourself applies to both directions.

One could push the idea even further. Now, if the letter is dated August 11, 2025 and one would open it only then: How would that affect you? A really exciting question.

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Hello Erika,

Thank you for this wonderful feedback! 😊

Your teacher's question is a fascinating one, for sure. It follows the whole concept of 'try to be the protagonist of your own life, rather than a secondary actor in someone else's'

Your observation about the fear of the future is a truthful one. This is something that indeed invades the mind of many, many people to the point of incapacitating them through extreme levels of anxiety.

Dating the letter is definitely the way to go, as it helps people to look further ad further ahead. To begin with a letter from your future-self in 2 weeks time. After all, the idea is in avoiding a far-fetched improved-future-self. The more concrete it becomes, the more distant the past feels; hence, less frightening :)

It is beautiful isn't' it?

Much love to you 😘

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Indeed, it is beautiful.

😘

hello my friend @abigail-dantes good the truth if I have stopped to think about my improved future, one full of success keeping my super family but with a better venezuela and where obtaining a university degree will help me progress in a professional way, my future and I imagine that of my family very full of goals achieved. Greetings my friend and thanks for your publicacones.

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@abigail-dantes Sorry, that was a warning to the guy who told you about the vote there. I just read the comment I'm sorry.

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This is REALLY not nice to look at @mythologyupvote.

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Let's hope none of your readers is an epileptic...!

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There are two who are 😕
They are the only reason why I bothered to comment on this visual pollution!

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I appreciate your apology very much. Thank you :)
Have a nice day.

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Excellent @derekdamian.

You have described a beautiful future for you and your family. Now it is all about taking action to have this envisioned future materialized :)

Only posted 8 minutes ago , and I've read a full post of oyur! amazing! (normally it's a two day event).

The reason being, that I agree with everything you said. (or close to).

which makes me think that some wounds are resistant to the restorative agency of time.

I think past wounds are perceived as wounds by choice (conciously or otherwise.
Start to perceive your wounds as battle scars o flife, and show them proudly, is a much healthier way to see them..
...At the end of the day it's the past -and only about your perception.
Don't deny your wounds - is as equally important - accept them.
They are part of who you are, and never be apologetic for that - ever.

I see life as a train journey. We are in the carriage and the train is only going in one direction.

Whether you choose to take a seat looking where you've come from, or whether you choose to look forwards, is, ultimately - your choice.

One thing is for certain, the train only has one destination, and none of us know which platform we have to get off.

Might just as well enjoy the oncoming scenery, and the wind in yer face!

Do I get bonus points for first reply?
(whispers :good of you to make btw. I'm impressed! 😂😂)

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You get a star for first reply : 🌟 + a heart 💛 for how beautiful your comment is! Your words are inspirational and truthful! Thank you for writing them down here :D

Now, what do I get for making it today? I would like to order one of those delicious loaves of bread you make, please!

Take care :*

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Awww , I feel special now...(sorry for all the typos, even more than usual - I was all excited! lol)

I would send you one straight away, senhora - but unfortunately it's pointless - There are no preservatives or additives in my loaves..
If you were thinking of starting a penicillin farm, it could act as good starter culture, I suppose...

(I think 2 consecutive weeks is most commendable ...but it hardly merits a loaf delivery - penicillin riddled, or otherwise..
We will discuss it again in 10 posts, and 10 weeks, time..)
😂😂

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What don't I do for a fresh loaf of bread!

Tis my weakness to.
When I was on my non carb diet - bread was the flirty tease that had me falling off my discipline wagon...every...single...time...
Not sweets, or pasta, or soft drinks...

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Luckily for me, I don't beat myself up for my weaknesses...

( I wonder If I could vacuum pack it, and send you a loaf....😂)

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10 weeks in a row?? 😦 Ok, maybe that should be a goal my future-improved-self can write about in the letter 😏 What don't I do for a fresh loaf of bread!

The courage is all that matters in order to move ahead in whatever difficulty we meet. Sometimes the courage fails us at when we needed it most. I like that George Orwell's quote, that 1984 is a classic. After sitting in our shelves for close to 10 years, one day I got bored and decided to read it after reading Animal Farm and I was hooked :D

Interesting read, I would've asked you do this biweekly, but then I recall making interesting posts takes time :)
Thank you.

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Green! 😊

1984 is definitely among my top 10 books. It is a magnificent masterpiece. Orwell's insights about memory, life, fear, hopelessness are stunning. Not to mention his views on social order and hierarchy! 😍

Ow Green, you are so very encouraging. Thank you for suggesting the biweekly posts :*

You take care and have a wonderful weekend!

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I got to know the author through the more famous work of Animal Farm. He sure is a master of satire.

The weekend is over and I'm a bit sad that it finished in like a second :)
Here is wishing you an amazing week.

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My dear, dear Green :)

How nice to receive a happy week message from you. Thank you so much!

Yes, my first Orwell book was Animal Farm too (another masterpiece).

I wish you a week filled with prosperity and peace :*

Much love to you from Portugal.

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I read Animal Farm so many times that I think I can still recite the first sentence of the book even though I last read it like 8 or so years ago.

Mr Jones of the Manor Farm had just locked the hen houses. But was too drunk to remember to shut the popholes.

Or something of that nature as I just typed above from memory :)

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The leopard sailed effortlessly, landing noiselessly as if teleguided by the omu nkwu advanced stealthily, eyes sparking in the pitch dark.

I have that crazy habit of somewhat memorising the first sentence of my favorite books. Above was from the opening sentence of a book from a Nigerian author, Chukwuemeka Ike from his book The Bottled Leopard

If you like a good African story with a touch of mystery, magic, culture, and the people's fight for the tradition which clashes with the missionary's religion. Then you'd probably like the book.

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Ha! Thank you for the recommendation Green :)

A great quote by Erica!

some wounds are resistant to the restorative agency of time

That's because the restorative medicine called revenge (see all Shakespeare plays and Tarantino movies :D) has been denied them!

I enjoyed the point that it's not just Negative Nancies that don't let go of their past sometimes, but also Positive Paulies.

Something similar to the letter-writing technique was recommended by the author of Unf*ckology in that video: she said she found it useful to think of 'what would X do in this case?', X being a person she admires or wants to be like. I guess it's the equivalent of 'What would Jesus do?' In the letter-writing case, that idealized persona is embodied by our own future version of ourselves.

EDIT: I read some of the comments, and for some reason Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind came to mind when reading all those experiences and exhortations about moving on from our past. I guess that movie is something like a counterargument. Do you think there is something special about the past that we shouldn't let go of? What would your stance be if the technology from the movie became available in the future, and people deleted memories in order to live mentally healthier and less painful lives? (Note that scientists have already succeeded in deleting memories from mice! I googled and found an article that even mentions the movie!) I know your position is that the past is valuable but that we shouldn't cling excessively to it in a navel-gazing way, but still some people would rather run away from the past completely, and I think that could also denote a psychopathology of sorts.

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I know your position is that the past is valuable but that we shouldn't cling excessively to it in a navel-gazing way

You are absolutely correct :)

I think that could also denote a psychopathology of sorts.

Please see Mnemophobia

Memories is one of my favourite topics in psychology! 😍 Thank you for the article. I have skimmed it, but will properly read it tomorrow at the hairdresser's 😅

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I think that's the most constructive way of spending time at the hairdresser's that I ever heard!

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@alexander.alexis: Leave it to you to make a comment that will stick and send me down paths of speculation. That mouse article raises horrifying possibilities....

I liked what you said, we have to be in leadership and do not let the past lead us.
Your words motivate me a lot and I will try to forget the past and control the present but sometimes the process will be difficult because sometimes the past attracts you strongly.
Thank you for this wonderful article @abigail-dantes :) wish you a nice day

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I think it is ineviteble to be strongly pulled by the past as you put it here @benainouna :) This is why I believe it is important to build a solid, enjoyable present moment. One that prevents us from being disturbed by troubling memories, and also, that prevents us from spending too long reminiscing.

Thank you for your kind comment.
All the best to you :)

Another righteous post from Abbey.

Just like what I normally tell people; no matter how we sulk over or dwell on the past, we can't change the past (Well, that's why it is called "past", because it has passed), but we can do something today that can change the future; and by that we would still be in control.

More often than not, our pasts don't define us if we don't allow it to. But one thing is certain; we are absolutely responsible for our tomorrow.

After all, the past that didn't kill us has just made us stronger.

I enjoyed this post Abbey. Thanks for sharing

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Great comment Sammi :D

Yep, this is exactly it: the people who get stuck in the past, in general, think their entire lives will be defined by it. They loose perspective and forget they have the potential to change things from now on :)

Thank you for sharing your views here with us once again my dear :*
Much love to you.

Hello miss Abi , sorry was late for the comment , since Friday we were really focused on our father's condition , but all is well wi/ him now and he's just recovering , that's why i also have just posted today again , 3 days none hehe.

in regards to your blog , i agree about how writing a letter or simply writing can help us , i was not into it before steemit , but it has definitely brought me changes , mentally , physically , psychologically and socially.

It is in having the courage of being expressive about them.

That is so true , courage really is the key to let go of the past , if you are open and happy to talk about it , definitely you are okay and done with it .

with your question , i can see my future self as still a fulltume-mom but! will be having my homebased work fulltime or business maybe? not really much difference but more of i can go out with my kids easily , maybe the change would be more of physically , since i feel ugly now hahaha , like since i am breastfeeding i think all my energy and nutrients are on my kids already haha, so physically improved in the future miss Abi 😀

Thanks again miss @abigail-dantes for your support and always remember that we love you always

take care po and Godbless you more and more and your family ❤️❤️❤️

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So good to hear about your future self my dear: a beautiful future self that is still a dedicated, loving mum who is strong and physically healthy! Feeling ugly? Uhhh, when I feel like that a good night's sleep + a few days of eating healthy, nutritious foods really changes that! :D

I am sorry to hear about your father. It is great to hear he is already improving!! Please tell him I wish him lots of love and good health ❤️ :)

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i think that's what i lack , good sleep or enough sleep miss Abi , hehe , kiddos are still little , have to wake up not sure if that's every hour while we sleep my 2 girls breastfeed, sometimes one after the other so i think im not sleeping at all, LOL, and that's so true more nutritious foods and lotsa water

Thanks for your well wishes for my papa , it meansa lot to me , i'll tell him tomorrow he's sleeping now for sure , hehe. you havea lovely day ahead miss @abigail-dantes , good night from PH
thank you very much , love you!!! 😘

This is why everyone advises that people focus on themselves and their own self-growth after a break-up! Because feeling good with the present makes one better at dealing with the past!

I've been there, trying to deal with past breakups, trying to deal with past hardships, and I always find strength in the present! Developing good eating habits, fitness, reading more, creating new things... makes me happy and better able to deal with the past!

Steemit actually helps me a lot with making myself feel better about the present, it makes me, not only create content but actually earn something for the things I create! These 2 facts make me feel better about the present me, makes me feel fulfilled!

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I always appreciate and am grateful for the people who share their real life experiences and achievements here @teutonio. You have attested that focusing one’s energy on the present moment and on what is to come is an effective way to overcome painful past events and memories.

Using steemit as an example of what keeps you creative and productive is very pertinent in this discussion :)

It is nice seeing you around.
All the best.

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I'm on holidays, finally some time to write, to think, to do my own thing!

Dwelling on the past makes on stop in time... The past serves as lessons for the present and future, we should always keep moving on, because to stop is to be dead, I see plenty of zombies moving around still dwelling on the past, living but not living at the same time...

It is nice seeing you too!
All the best too :D

Another amazing article from your part dear Abi!

I think this is the topic everyone can relate to, because there's no person in this world who didn't have a struggle with his/her own past.

Hence, the more proactive you are about making the present a better time to be in, the less disturbed you will feel about those bad times.

This is something I can personally relate to, because I use to cling on to my past for so long, to all the bad times and disappointments I've been through, allowing all that negative thoughts and feelings to influence my present and decisions I was making.

Once I decided to put focus on improving my present, and on the goals I have for the future, all of the sudden those events from the past started to fade away, being replaced with love towards others, myself and most importantly - love towards life.

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@scienceangel 😃

Oh! Thank you SO much for taking the time to share your experience with shifting your attitude/views about the present; changing, in turn, the ways the past presented itself to you! This is an encouraging message for those who perhaps lack the motivation to adopt such approach :)

Lots of love to you from Portugal always.
You are very dear to me 🌹 :)

As someone who was abused as a kid, I would say that being haunted by the past can be truly distasteful. It made me think like people who are so hung up with their own past, have something which they need to clarify on. They aren't satisfied with a specific event and seeking for an answer of why is it happen and how can we change it. Do you think it is us who are so clingy to the past or the past who keep comes back, haunting and doesn't want to be left behind?

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Hello @conficker 😊

I am sorry to hear about what you went through as a child.

You said something interesting here:

seeking for an answer of why is it happen and how can we change it.

I have observed that people go through different stages, when it comes to dealing with a hard-to-let go past. Looking for an answer is, without a doubt, the most common one. Some people actually succeed in finding an answer - which is normally - not satisfactory. Then, some of them fall in great despair, because nothing has really changed.

I find that the first step forward in this journey is grasping the understanding that the past will not change. When that notion seeks in the question "how can we change it" stops being asked. Because one realizes it is a loosing battle. Now, with a clearer mind, one thinks more objectively about whether it is really worth seeking for an answer.

Do I still want the answer even knowing that nothing will change what happened? Would it be more productive to my own subjective well-being work on my feelings towards that immutable event(s), or look for explanations?

Of course, the answers to this questions highly depend on one's current circumstances, personality, future ambitions and so forth.

You see @conficker, the past is not a 'being' with its own wants and not wants. Those desires, really, are ours. And with understanding, patience and time they can be worked on in a way that allows the past to stay where it belongs: behind us.

All the best to you :*

hmm the idea of writing down to our future self our goals or in general what we want to accomplish is quite the idea and i will definitely try it. Maybe that way i'll end up going to gym :P

Also i think that anyone should embrace their past,learn from their mistakes or keep the good parts and march towards the future living the present to its fullest.

I keep hearing from people of my age that did a lot of stupid things 1 to 5 years ago the common phrase "the past is the past don't pay attention to it" and i tend to have a different point of view. I will always want to know the past of people that i associate cause i believe the past and our whole process through now tell us a lot of things about that person's mindset, beliefs, personality and we can even predict some of his/her future ''moves"

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Hello @filotasriza3 :)

People’s past indeed tell a lot about them. Although, it doesn’t have to determine who they can be. And I suppose that this is what some individuals get confused about sometimes.

Great comment, as usual, now just get that stronger and healthier future-self of yours writing a letter motivating your present self to be more physically active :p

Hello there! @abigail-dantes

Recently followed you but never took the chance to leave a comment. I’ve read a couple of your articles so far and I am amazed at the detailed analysis of yours. I didn’t expect anything less actually!!

Nevertheless, we, human beings, are a little bit more complex than that. We are not just at the receiving end of what happens around us. Quite the contrary, humans actively shape the context in which they exist as a result of personal agency (with some thinkers going as far as to argue that even not making a choice is a choice)

I just couldn’t agree more with this. You see, people can always adapt to their environment and even though the way someone is raised or even the memories he may have, are usually the most important factors, as you said, there will always be an alternative.

Have a great day

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Hello @mindtrap 😊

First of all, thank you for taking the time to read, comment and for reesteming this post.

That is correct, the alternatives are always the key in overcoming distress. Unfortunately they sometimes get clouded by our current circustances and personal history. However, the understanding that they are there is already a great step towards a clearer vision of what life can be :)

I wish you a wonderful weekend.
All the best.

Wow! Needed this I’m glad @mindtrap resteemed this. Dealing with PTSD and other crap I dealt with in the past. fighting it is draining. What you asked at the about looking a your future improved self is one of the main things I do to keep moving forward. I’m going to have to saw this post to some of my veteran battle buddies and read it at our next meeting.

Posted using Partiko iOS

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Hello there @batman0916 :)

Your comment is truly humbling! Thank you for taking the time to write it. It is good to hear that you already have the mindset of envisioning the future, in place :) I am sure that with your kindness and support your buddies are also on that same track: one that heads forward!

I wish you all the best!

Hi abigail, what a clever idea. I might give it a go, maybe I can get the kids to try as well! Here is another ☄️for you :)

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Oh, another comet! Thank you Terry :)

Whenever you're in the mood and have the time a good way of approaching the letter is not to have a too distant future-self to write it. For example, one can start with a letter from an improved-future-self from two weeks from now, then put it in the drawer. At the end of the month you open the letter and see how well you did, how your thoughts changed as well as your feelings. It is a good way to self-evaluate.

I hope the girls find it a good idea too, and have the opportunity to do it.

It is nice to see you around :) Please accept this bright star 🌟 😊
Much love to you all.

As always Abbyyy, fantastic, motivating, and inspiring content ! :)
I am thankful that I get to read your words. Inciting self-improvement and self-empowerment is not an easy task, but I believe you did it in such an amazing way.
Enjoy the rest of your weekend :) :)

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Oww ... I am so glad to hear you liked this post my dear @mcfarhat. Thank you for taking the time to leave me such a kind, encouraging comment! :*

I wish you a week filled with prosperity and good health.
Much love to you and to your family always :)

Hi Abigail

I just want to thank you for putting this piece together. From our previous discussions you are probably aware of how close this subject is to me, and I feel the message within striking so many chords.

In the same way that if the 40 year-old man had embraced the responsibilities required by adulthood and built a productive life upon it, the thought of his young-adult years would have become something to smile at, rather than a crippling longing.

I'm 40 in December, and concede I've work to do with regards to not longing for a 2nd go at my youth, the answer being moving forward step-by-step with a plan in hand, creating good moments to fill today that can be proudly looked back on in future.

Thank you again for these life instructions, I really appreciate them and they help me greatly.

Asher

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Ow Asher, your words are truly moving and humbling.

Thank you for taking the time to let me know about all this as it is incredibly motivating and encouraging for me :) May your present moment be filled with good-health, prosperity and peace-of-mind always. And your future continuously inhabited by a goal which you passionately look forward to.

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Thank you very much, I wish the same for you and all :)

I had an "opposite" problem, I was constantly living in the future.

My damn math/chess mind wanted to calculate 5 moves ahead for every decision.

Should I buy something? No, there will be a better or cheaper model in a month. Should I have something with that girl? No, we would split in 3-6 months. Should I stay awake the whole night? Of course not, it would ruin my next day.

Luckily for me, I've never managed to build the past that would strangle me :D

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Luckily for me, I've never managed to build the past that would strangle me :D

Only very, very few people have this privilege in life dear @alexs1320, and I am pleased to hear you are one of them. Of course, there are so many factors at play here (right environment, personality etc...), and one of them is, indeed, your 'mind/chess' mind :)

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and leave a nice comment.
All the best to you !

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I'm your regular reader, but I rarely comment :)

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Oh! How nice :) thank you

@abigail-dantes, Yes, whoever currently have an feeling that they are facing the Uncontrollable situations or phase, then first thing which they have to understand is, no matter what, we are left with the present situation and as you said we have to control our present to control our past, and to effectively plan for our future.

We all are Behavioural Beings and our behaviours develops from our environment and there is an reason behind it, and that is, whatever we see over and over that becomes an world for us and we start living that life by putting the context of Good and Bad aside.

And sometimes people hold false thoughts and that is, they live an illusionary life and they think that no situation can break them but actually internally they hold all suppressing thoughts and in outer World they are acting, but today or tomorrow it will going to come out like an disaster.

And as you said, expression is important and writing is most effective habit, and that is because whatever thoughts we hold, if we try to convert into them in writing form then that gives sense of relief because, when we write out our thoughts then these thoughts takes form of alphabets, words, lines, sentences and paragraph and this way our expressive story develops and it gives the sense of relief and sense of belongingness.

Wishing you an great day and stay blessed. 🙂

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It is truly about gathering the courage to face the past and see who is in control, isn't it @chireerocks? :)

Thank you for taking the time to write such an insightful comment.
I wish you a great, blessed week ahead!

All the best.

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Yes, courage can transform our life for sure. Thank you so much and stay blessed. 🙂

This is something very similar to what my psychiatrist told me when I seeked help for quitting smoking. It did work to some extent. However, I had one doubt always. Majorly rooting from experiments I conducted on rats. Let's say even if somehow a person overcomes the memory that created wreck in his/her life; what happens to psysiological changes in brain that were caused by that memory. Do they reverse? Can specific deletion of a past traumatic memory also repair the damage it has caused over the years? In these people that you meet do you see that if they overcome a bad past experience, they show an overall improvement in mental and physical health?

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Hello @scienceblocks 😃

what happens to psysiological changes in brain that were caused by that memory
Do they reverse?

It is important to understand that here we are not talking about memories being deleted or forgotten (also, this post does not cover trauma, dissociation etc..). We are talking about adopting strategies (e.g. having a plan) that might help people change their negative feelings/low mood towards their troubling memories. It is the change in their mood that, in turn, changes their brain activity (related to the limbic system, neurotransmitters etc..).

For example, is not this one of the reasons why it is recommended that people living with depression engage in some form of exercise (endorphin, dopamine = mood boost). It is because of this very 'mood boost' that people begin to present improvement in both mental and physical health :)

It is a beautiful process.

Amazing! Abi
Definitely true, focusing on making the present and future better, would set one free from dwelling in the past. Alsi, when a bad thing occurs to someone, he or she should face it at that moment, just the way we react to the good events, like celebrating an inauguration or the likes.

Supposedly, a loved one is lost(dies), or something, I feel the emotional pain should be allowed to overwhelm the person, and not ran from with the thought of having no reason to mourn. Because it will definitely catch up, and then it may be worse.

Thus, making the feeling in rememberance soft and easy.

Everything must be accepted the way it comes.

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Hello dear @synick :)

You have raised two interesting points here in this wonderful comment:

  1. Being proactive about making the present moment a good time to be in allows not only a more objective view of troubling past events; but also, present ones.

  2. Not running away from whatever distresses us is a good way of not accumulating suffering for the future.

It is so nice seeing you here. Thank you very much for stopping by 😊

Estoy de acuerdo con todo tu escrito, y la forma en cómo redactaste, que cualquiera podría leer el post de abajo hacia arriba, de arriba hacia abajo y encontrarle sentido a cada párrafo. Me encantaron los ejemplos que colocas, sobretodo los que se explican detrás del subtitulo:

Quien controla el presente controla el pasado.

Realmente te felicito, me ha encantado tu post!!! 🤓

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Ow ... your comment is so nice and kind @alanasteemit :) Thank you very much!

Yes, that sentence you highlighted here is truly a powerful one! But, it is also something that most of us either forget or seem not to understand.

I wish you a great day :D



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Thank you very much @steemstem 😊

letting go the past is something very hard especially when it i negative. Yea, humans seems to forgt good things easily.
There was a South African girl who killed herself after 3-months of being a rape victim....maybe she struggled to forget the rape case but couldnt

Do you think that a lady impregnated by a rapist would ever let go?
Whenever she sees the fruit of the rape, she would remember afresh the incident

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I am so sorry to hear about this girl you mentioned here @ikchris. It is a very sad story, and you raised a difficult question from it. I don't think it is possible to forget something like that. Particularly in the scenario you proposed here: pregnancy as a result. A child from that incident would be what in this post is discussed as a trigger. If such event happened; than, the victim would need support, love and guidance in order to learn to leave with happened to her.

How to forget a painful past is very difficult, but sometimes for some people the dark past can be easily forgotten. No one's life knows what the way it will be.

Sometimes happiness always surrounds life, but not infrequently sorrow also occurs in our lives. These two things are like the wheel rotation in life. We always expect happiness to be present in the journey of life, but life without problems will actually make happiness more meaningful.

Even though we know that the past that we experience is bad and difficult to forget, but be sure that everything that happens in our lives has been outlined by God. Whatever bad events or memories are the trials he gave. Stay confident that God will plan something better for you later. Let life go on, make that past to raise your level to become a better person.

You must have seen a child who fell while practicing riding a bicycle. Even if it falls a number of times, if the child is brave then he will return to learning to ride a bicycle so that he gradually uses fluent bicycles. So is your life. When you feel fallen and sick if you remember your past, you must immediately get up. Don't give up and rise to look at the future more. By continuing to focus on the past, you will indirectly ignore your life in the future. You can remember the past, but only to make it a learning to deal with the future so that later you will not be someone who is weak.

If the past that you can't forget is pain caused by other people, then forgive the person who has hurt you. Forget the mistakes he has made for you. Every human being has made a mistake, so forgiving is the right step. Or maybe you have a hard time forgetting the past because you made the mistake instead? Stay the same as the explanation above, that forgiveness is the best way. Forgive yourself and start to improve yourself.

Never regret any problems or decisions that make you disappointed. Know that regret is an act that is not professional at all. All the decisions that exist in our lives, we determine ourselves. We are also not able to repeat the time and control all problems so that everything goes as we want. Regret is wrong thinking. Know and be sure that in every event there will always be wisdom in it.

If you can't forget the past because of being hurt by someone, then don't feel inferior. Know that everyone has advantages. Sometimes, being hurt by someone makes us feel like people who are full of shortcomings. We always prejudice that other people hurt us because of the weaknesses we have. Love yourself. Look at the people around you who always care about you. Look at what you can do for people around you, then you will be able to see what advantages you have so that you will love yourself as you are.

Wow abigail I don't have to tell you how fascinated I am over and over again about your lyrics and efforts. It used to help me to do exercises in which I speak loudly and repeat certain sentences again and again. "I cut the line to the past and don't expect her to bother me anymore"... something like that. once you do it once a day, it gives you a kind of self-worth feeling and awareness about yourself. I just wanted to say that! Have a good time Abigail and a nice week to you mysterious smart writer!

Hi @abigail-dantes. It is extremely gratificate to read this material. The strategy of writing past events to understand the present and plan the future, is essential for any person. As you say it, there are those who have a past full of sorrow and calamities, others have had the fortune to take a heart full of rewarding emotions and blessings. Personally, I think that if someone has impediment to cope with present situations and plan a future of happiness, it is because it has not revised its past and has much less forgiven their perpetrators and the same. Forgiveness is essential to open the gates of happiness.

I really liked your post; first time that I read. I'm starting to post on Steemstem and I wanted to review articles that attract my attention.

Thanks for sharing your knowledge and good recommendations... Happy day

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Hello there @arac :)

Thank you for your comment.

Yes, forgiveness indeed plays an important role in increasing levels of subjective well-being. Although, it is not something that comes easy for most people. I believe that forgiveness comes as a result of being able to face troubling past memories without feeling disturbed.

Welcome to Steemit. I wish you a very successful journey here! :)
All the best to you.

About this one:

How to Make the Present a Better Place to be In?
By having and executing a plan.

I'm always thinking that it may backfire by putting yourself into a prison.
Although living means constantly negotiating with yourself, so...
By pure coincidence this sentence also applies to that "A Letter from Your Improved-Self". What a surprise! :)

My opinion about past: if you didn’t put something behind you (still feeling emotions when talking/remembering about it) then it means you still have something to learn from it.
There is more, but I don't wanna spoil everything at once :P

Ahh, life, never fails to entertain.

Cheers Erika.

Warm hug Abi! :)

The good thing about the past is the memories and we can learn from them but if there is something from the past that we don't want to look back again is another issue, I am a kind of person that can't le go of the past so easily, I can move on but I won't forget....

I can see myself in the future as a career woman and one of the witnesses here in steemit 😁😁😁(hopefully)....

Thank you again ms. Abi... Sorry for the very late message been busy with our father... Hope you do have a grea great day....

Love lots,

AVHY😘

really nice article about the past, but the past it's part of your ego so it's hard let it go...

Events like these keep happening in this world and we have to learn to let go off things that have already happened ,whatever we are in now we would have to adopt ourselves according to that and live to our full potential ...

Nicely written buddy

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Yes @obaidb2 :) living a life in which we aim at reaching our full potential leads to a fruitful future.
Thank you for commenting.

To listen to the audio version of this article click on the play image.

Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

Thanks for the very valuable post. but is it only not a post it is to way how serviev your life and what can i do and dont do. also a way of success and this is the key wording to achive our destination. heartly thanks (abigail-dantes (63))

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Thank you for the heart-warming words @nikhil12 :) You are correct, our lives and how we take control of what surrounds us is also about the things we don't do!

All the best to you.

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heartly thanks abigail-dantes (63) pls support me and upvote and advise also

Strangely connected...(well not so strangely connected, actually - but an interesting insight, non-the- less)

https://steemit.com/blog/@lucylin/wargaming-and-an-interesting-change-within-my-own-psychology

WOW! You never stop suprising us with AMAZING content.🌹🌹👌
❤ Much love to @abigail-dantes 🎔

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most welcome!! Keep up the great work ^^, i'm new your blog just today join you :)

For me, time is elastic. The past and future are, in some ways, concepts of the present. I mean the present is where we are right now, right? I mean I can see it, but the past and future, they could be heaven, or hell or a dream or a day dream. We say we were there or are going there, but we KNOW we are here.

So, to me, I use them as tools. The past has good and bad in it and if we can remove the emotional repsonse to those then they become tools. And as the future is not writ (though in some ways I feel the past is actually not writ either , but I digress) we can use these tools to formulate that supposed time frame out of the remembered time frame from the cockpit of right Now. Well, at least that is what I tell myself ;)

@abigail-dantes Really loved this post :) and wish many more read it. Can't wait to write to my future turbo self <3

Too late to upvote! I was just perusing the latest issue of SteemStem Distilled when I came across this. Wanted to add something even though it's past payout. The letter writing is wonderful, especially writing one with a date far in the future as a way of being forward thinking. Putting the past behind is essential, while at the same time acknowledging its influence on the present. And, finally, finding pleasure in the present is the best way to put the past to rest.
I think there is one more piece to finding happiness, or at least satisfaction in life, in the present. Stop focusing on yourself. Look outward. Reach out and find someone or something you can help. This gives a sense of control, because you have affected someone's life positively, and it is very rewarding to be helpful. By reaching out you make the present a dynamic experience. I remember a quote from Rabindranath Tagore: "I acted, and behold service was joy." . There is more to the quote--it's worth following the link.
Anyway, I wouldn't be the first, and certainly not the wisest, person to suggest that being useful brings satisfaction. Don't have to be useful in a big dramatic way...little things that make a difference to someone or something, will actually make a positive difference in your own life.
Good post. Hope you don't mind the late response.