When the new year rolls around, many people take time to reflect on their lives. They look back on the past year and look forward to a fresh start in the new year.
Sometimes we are unable to get over things in our past. They prevent us from moving forward.
Check out this interesting excerpt from Finding Your Ruby Slippers: Transformative Life Lessons From the Therapist’s Couch by Lisa Ferentz, LCSW-C DAPA.
Women make important life choices every day either from the past or the future rather than accurately assessing what the current realities are in their life. Sometimes this is conscious behavior, and sometimes it is not. This is a dynamic that often relates to decisions about relationships. Despite the fact that many people express unhappiness about their partner’s behavior or the current state of their relationship they still choose to stay. This is because they’re remembering how satisfying it was in the past and holding on to those memories becomes a way to justify not leaving.
If you relate to this you might find yourself wistfully reminiscing about the good times you used to have or the upbeat and loving ways your partner used to behave. Rather than being in the present you may be traveling back in time to the earliest stages of your relationship. As you cling to those recollections you hope those positive feelings and experiences return so the relationship can start to feel like it felt in the past.
If you’re not dwelling on the past you may be looking to the future, holding out hope that at some point your partner will “see the light” or make the significant changes that would allow the relationship to reach a new level of fulfillment. It’s not unusual to focus on a partner’s “potential” and assume that whatever qualities you presume to be hidden within will eventually show themselves and dramatically alter their personality, emotions, or behaviors.
In both cases tremendous weight is either given to what used to be or the promise of what could be. When you’re not living in the present moment you’re not taking into consideration the current circumstances that dictate your partner’s moods and behaviors and the impact they have on the quality of your relationship and your life. Whatever is happening in the present is your best indicator of how things are and will continue to be.
It’s understandable that some people revert to and focus on the past or the future so they don’t have to feel the discomfort of the present. It takes courage to see your present reality for what it really is. But whatever is happening in the present can’t be ignored forever.
It’s a wonderful thing to dream, to have future-oriented goals, and even to reminisce about past experiences. Hold onto those memories and future dreams. And when it comes to the big decisions, the life lesson is to take an honest and realistic look at where you are and what’s currently happening in your life because those will be the determining factors in how your choices play out.
*This excerpt was shared with permission. The opinions expressed are that of the author’s and do not necessarily reflect my own.