“Don’t dwell on the past”
“You’re living in the past, man!”
“Live in the NOWWWW”

You’ve heard these before. And there is a lot of truth to them. The past can be a snare. Like a cozy blanket, the mental trap of ‘the past’ is always hovering within our reach, reminding us of how good it used to be.

If you’re looking for the skills and understanding for living in the present, check out our section on Mindfulness or our section on Presence.

But it’s not all a trap. Remembering the past can also be an empowering perspective tool.

What’s important is how we relate to the past.

Though our past doesn’t define us, it sets stories on course, which we habitually repeat. With rumination as an extreme example, remembering the past can be risky business. So it’s important to remember our many perspective tools when we reflect on the past: scaling, 10-10-10, etc.

To put your recent past into perspective, consider how little of our lives we can actually remember.

Try This:

  • Think of 10 significant memories from 1 year ago.
  • 5 years ago: come up with 5 memories from each month.
  • 10 years ago: 3 memories from each month.
  • Two weeks ago exactly: what was memorable about those 24 hours, 1440 Minutes, and 86400 seconds.

Strangely difficult, huh? Maybe impossible for many.

Our lives pass us by and we get caught up as it’s happening. We stew and foster limiting narratives, even if we’re unlikely to remember any of it in 10 years.

As you remember the past, consider detachment as your traumas and triggers scream out to you, inflating themselves for attention.

1970 was only 50 years ago. That’s less than a human lifetime, which is less than a cosmic blink. And look how much was different.