How JustAnswer Works:
  • Ask an Expert
    Experts are full of valuable knowledge and are ready to help with any question. Credentials confirmed by a Fortune 500 verification firm.
  • Get a Professional Answer
    Via email, text message, or notification as you wait on our site.
    Ask follow up questions if you need to.
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee
    Rate the answer you receive.
Ask Dr-A-Greene Your Own Question
Dr-A-Greene
Dr-A-Greene, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 309
Experience:  Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
60381331
Type Your Mental Health Question Here...
Dr-A-Greene is online now
A new question is answered every 9 seconds

"Dr-A-Greene" What is the best way to let go of the past

This answer was rated:

"Dr-A-Greene"

What is the best way to let go of the past and forget about the future, and only live in the present?

I've read the power of now by Tolle, but I still have trouble. What would you recommend?

Hi, I am a Moderator with Just Answer, I have Emailed your Expert so that when she comes back on line she will see your response and will return to assist you. If I can help further, please let me know. Thank you for your continued patience:-)

Hello again -

 

This is a great question - a question for the ages, really. Many many people have sought to do just that and aside from Monks stashed away in the Himalayas, I have yet to meet someone who does it successfully all the time. Indeed, Tolle's book is a spiritual one, focused on meditation and other similar techniques to engage one's mind with the present (just like those aforementioned Monks).

 

However, I would also question why a person would like to do this? Is it because there is something holding them back or is it just that having a integrated orientation (thinking of past, present, and future) is the most adaptive way to live? To consider ourselves only in the present is not natural or evolutionarily wise for the human species. We have survived as long as we have not through strength and prowess (two things used in "the now," like a lion), but in our ability to learn from the past and project into our future. Most our our collective decisions as a race have come from our unique ability to reflect upon the past and innovate for the future. It is the reason that things like preventative medicine, solar panels, and genetic testing exist. It is the singular reason that we continue to dominate the planet at the top of the food chain, as it were.

Thus, I guess I would want to know why an individual person would want to let go of the past and forget about the future for themselves. The past, though possibly quite painful, is informative as to how and why we are the way we are. And, looking toward the future is what enables us to set goals for ourselves and achieve them. As a psychologist I often discuss a person's past with them in order to plan for their future. When we do this together it helps to reconcile the hurts of the past into achievable dreams for what is to come. This, in turn, makes the present better. SO - maybe I'm at a handicap as far as answering this question. Would you like me to open it up to others who might be more spiritually oriented?

(Again, great query!)

 

Customer: replied 4 years ago.
Hello and Thank you!

Well, maybe I should of been more specific with my initial question. I am not intending to completely let go of the past and future. Of course, I will look back in the past for reference and look into the future for a brighter tomorrow.

I would like to live in the present more because this would allow me to actually do what I really want to do. (for example) If in the moment, I want to truly express myself, I may worry that tomorrow someone will be making fun of me or that yesterday may repeat itself today.

I just want to enjoy what's going on around me. I don't want to look back and say "I could of done this, that, or whatever". I will say that I have become better living in the moment.

In a way, I know what I must do to stay present. I just sometimes forget and my mind start to go back in time or into the future.

(Don't opt out! :-) I hope that with the above my question becomes more clear)

Oh, got it. Thanks for the clarification. That makes more sense (I get too caught up in the hypothetical otherwise!).

Well, there are several things that you can do. It sounds like some of it consists of pushing past some of your fears (willing yourself to express yourself in the moment) and then trying to get over the second-guessing afterword. If you know what you need to do, then it could be as simple as reminding yourself by doing something simple (I knew one man who wore a rubber band around his wrist - every time he thought about smoking, he gave himself a small snap!) You could develop a similar distractor task to take your mind off the worry that happens in the moment.

 

As far as the worrying about being ridiculed afterword - I would personally rather be teased for something that I did say rather than not having my input considered. Some of the best minds in the history of the world were ridiculed for their words (Galileo, Pasteur, Henry Ford, etc) - just think where we'd be now without them because they feared the rejection (traveling an earth that the sun revolves around on horseback while dying of random infections)? Lol. Will yourself to speak up and when you are past that moment, allow yourself only a certain amount of time to dwell on it ("I'm going to worry about this for 10 minutes and then be done!"). Worry as much as you want for those ten minutes. After they're up - no more. Distract yourself again.

Finally, when you get rewarded for your input (and you will), keep a log of it. Journal the good things that people tell you in response to what you said and did. Then, in the future, when you get scared to speak up again, you will have a bunch of entries to look back on that remind you that you are valued in a positive way. Eventually, the positive will far outweigh the negative. :)

Dr-A-Greene, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 309
Experience: Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
Dr-A-Greene and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 4 years ago.
WOW! It's like you can read my mind! I was just looking into a customized bracelets. A specific message to remind me to stay present.

What a coincidence! Yes, that would be perfect! Just something that you could look at that reminded you to distract you for a minute. Enjoy the bracelets - it sounds like a great idea!

Dr-A-Greene, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 309
Experience: Clinical and Forensic Psychologist
Dr-A-Greene and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

Related Mental Health Questions