Day 49: The perspective of your past.

A reflection on the influence of past events on current perspectives.

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Too often, we allow our past circumstances to affect our present experiences.

Having become jaded by the people who mistreated us, the job we didn’t get, or the opportunity we missed, we fall into the mental trap that tells us the way things were once is the way they’ll always be. We tell ourselves that we shouldn’t bother opening up to that lovely person we just met, because the last time we did, we got hurt. Or we stop reaching for our dreams because they haven’t come true yet.

Emotionally, this seems to make sense to us. We feel that we’re protecting ourselves by not letting the next person/job/opportunity catch us off guard, so we put up our walls to ensure that the next one won’t even have a chance to. But when you approach this type of behaviour from a rational standpoint, how could it possibly make any sense?

Consider the following passage:

“We don’t realize it, but we often don’t perceive our own best interests.
Why is that? When you go into any situation in your life, know this: however you’re thinking about it is based on what has occurred in your past.
We often bring thoughts, attitudes and energies from the past into the present and then behave in a way that reflects our attitudes of the past. That wouldn’t be a problem if your past was perfect, but if it wasn’t (and I assume none of us [has] had a perfect past), know that in this present moment you do not perceive your own best interests because your mind interprets this present situation according to your past.
The mind that is guiding you to interpret your present situation based on what happened to you in the past is the ego. The ego wants you to act in the present based upon your past experiences to ensure that your future will be just like your past.”
— Elisa Lionne

If you’ve been having trouble coping with a difficult situation, take a moment to consider whether or not you’ve been approaching it from the perspective of your past. After all, as Jon Sinclair so eloquently expressed, “Failure is a bruise, not a tattoo” — and it is incredibly important that we not get the two confused.

Jana Marie is a Croatian-born writer living amidst the restorative embrace of the Canadian prairies. Through her writing, she examines the interplay between self and society as she works to both illuminate and explore the power of contemplative thinking. She hopes that 100 Mindful Days, a 100-day project combining teachings from the worlds of personal development, psychology, and spirituality, will soon be her first book.

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