If you want to be everywhere, you’re nowhere. Do you know what I mean? This feeling of being physically present while your mind is elsewhere. Far, far away. 😵 Yet we all know that thinking about the past and the future cuts us off from the present. That’s how we miss out on beautiful moments. Man is supposed to be intelligent and wishes for his own happiness, so why do we keep denying ourselves? Why can’t we enjoy the present moment?
1. When the past haunts us...
It may be far away or just behind us (by the way: every second that passes belongs to the past!), simple or complicated, the past always leaves its mark. It’s not by being stuck in memories that we move forward in life, but we can’t help comparing or thinking about them.
“It was better before.”
This is certainly one of the most uttered phrases. We remember with much emotion that time when everything was so nice and rosy. We evoke beautiful memories, as if those times were over, whereas the passing of time changes our perception. And we change too without necessarily realizing it. We can’t sit on our mum’s lap forever, that’s the way life is!
Let us ask you a question: When everything was supposedly perfect, did you realize it? Or were you already regretting the past of the past?
Did you know?
Nostalgia is part of the culture, look at all those reports on periods of history or all those artists who cover the songs of deceased singers. (Who hasn’t had Georges Brassens in their head?) What’s more, we’re one of the few countries that like to keep our memories in an old photo album!
Some weights are too heavy to carry
🧠 The past can be made up of painful events that we haven’t yet digested. Traumas such as an accident, the death of a loved one, or an abrupt break-up make us see life through the filter of fear. In each situation, we believe we’re reliving a difficult period, seeing signs, for fear that the scenario will be repeated.
We rewrite the world with “ifs”
Everything we did or didn’t do in our past has consequences on our present. This is also why we’re not satisfied with our life at the moment. We would have liked to study law to become a lawyer instead of a nurse, we should never have let our first love go… So many regrets that make us melancholic.
2. When we’re obsessed with the future…
Once you stop looking back, you have to look forward, but with a calm eye. Otherwise, you’re dealing with another type of problem.
Specialist of the worst-case scenario
Just like the unknown, the future scares us. Especially when we don’t know what it’s made up of and, the pessimists we are, we think the worst. 😨 “What if I lost my job? What if the sky falls?” We often tend to think of ourselves as a screenwriter, except that for us there’s never a happy ending! There are certain moments in our life that we obsess over, and like an animal that knows that it’s going to the slaughterhouse on such and such a day and time, we wait for that dreaded moment to come (if it comes, because sometimes we worry about nothing…).
Do you have an important meeting coming up? Are you dreading the results of a medical test? The wait is unbearable because the stakes are high. While waiting for the fateful moment, your throat becomes knotted, you lose sleep… You let the stress overcome you instead of focusing on the present. And yet, it’s the only way to distract yourself!
Goals as ends in themselves
You have an exciting move coming up, your professional project is about to come to fruition… You’d like to speed up time! Achieving a goal makes us happy, no one will argue with that. But what do we do in the meantime? Enjoying the present allows us to fill those moments when we stop living in order to wait. Might as well make the journey as pleasant as the destination, right? 🙂
3. When it’s the present that gets in the way...
Where is happiness?
Unfortunately, not everyone has the same notion of happiness. Some are able to find it in what they have, while others tire themselves out chasing what they don’t have. And because their expectations constantly change or are out of reach, they’re never satisfied. Unsurprisingly, they’re the ones who don’t enjoy the present.
Where is my place?
Even though things are good for you, and you’re surrounded by good people, there’s always something wrong. Like a feeling of not being in the present, of not fitting in. But nobody has sidelined you, so why do you do it? This is a self-confidence issue. If you’re the type of person who thinks too much or analyses your every move, you probably lack it.
5 tips for living fully in the present
Enjoying the present isn’t as complicated as it seems. We’ll let you try it out!
1. Give yourself breaks:
Days, months, well, life, everything passes by at a crazy speed. There’s nothing like taking a moment for yourself to escape all your worries. Breathe and think about yourself, even if it’s just for an hour, and you’ll be reconnected to the present.
2. Keep your childlike eyes:
Those little ones know how to appreciate simple things and be amazed. A sunny day, your favorite song on the radio, a good cup of coffee… Savor these small victories!
3. Open up to others:
They’re right in front of you in the PRESENT. Talking about everything and nothing will bring you back to Earth. At the very least, you’ll get away from your worries. At the most, you’ll meet beautiful and enriching people.
4. Put down your smartphone:
It, too, cuts you off from the present and those in it. Too many people post pictures of landscapes on their social media instead of enjoying what’s in front of them. And that’s without mentioning couples or groups of friends who tap away instead of enjoying the moment they’re missing out on without realizing…
5. Find yourself an activity:
Coloring mandalas, keeping a mood journal, if you have an artistic soul, there are many activities that cultivate the present moment while having fun!
The editor's opinion: Where are you if you’re not in the present?
If you’re unable to be in the present, i.e. in direct contact with reality, aware of your environment with your body and mind, you need to ask yourself where you are? In which direction are your thoughts going? To the past? The future? Are you denying yourself the present because it’s not as you’d like it to be? All these questions will help you to identify the causes of your block to better anchor yourself in the present. 👉 This work and self-reflection isn’t so easy to do alone, which is why we advise you to make an appointment with a coach to put in place new behaviors to help you flourish.
🤗 Understanding yourself, accepting yourself, being happy… It’s here and now!
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