It seems like we spend more time in the future than in the present moment. This is predictable considering we tend to obsess over goals and future plans to be happy. But when you’re constantly trying to accomplish goals, you’ll never feel like you’ve accomplished enough. You’ll distract yourself from now to worry about the future, but you can’t live in the future. It’s uncontrollable and unmanageable. Just as guilt lives in the past, anxiety lives in the future. We worry so much about our futures that when it becomes uncertain, we panic. If your future is cut short from disease or injury, you’ll feel cheated and bitter. It seems easier to identify with what we will be than what we are now.
Of course, thought about the future is necessary. When we think of someone making wise and mature decisions, we think of someone that thinks about themselves both now and later. There’s always a need for future planning, but realize that the future is a concept. It is not promised. There are no guarantees of one’s future or one’s future plans. It’s not realistic to think we have control over all that will happen to us.
The paradox here is this: focusing on the present drives us to be the best we can be right now, and the future seems to fall into place. Once we accept that we cannot control the future, it seems to work in our favor. Even if it doesn’t, we’re able to accept it and cope more effectively. The future is never as bad as your fears. Notice that worrying about the future isn’t something you tend to do if you’re content with who you are now. Simply acknowledging our anxiety and fears about the future can help us to breath and deal with it. Time isn’t replaceable. Living in the moment is the best thing we can do for ourselves.
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