I had a client last week who I’ll call Marie. She was focused on issues from her past as she prepared to meet with an old client who she had problems with years ago and was freaking out. Marie has a lot of work to do on the project this client may get involved in but couldn’t focus because her thoughts were overwhelmed with memories of her dealings with this client—10 years ago!
You’re a different person than you were in the past and so is everyone you encounter today.
That’s why it’s so important to only deal each situation when it’s happening. Today is all that matters and your interactions with everyone is contingent on today only. Tomorrow isn’t here yet. Yesterday is over. When I interviewed my inspiration—Louise Hay—she said something that I found profound. I asked how she feels about her career so far and she said she could tell me how she feels right now since she doesn’t look back, or forward, since now is all that’s real. she said she barely remembered what has happened since it’s over and doesn’t know what will happen in the future, no less tomorrow.
Right now is all that matters. And right now, this minute, you’re fine!
You can let old memories bring you down like they did Marie or leave them in the past. If you failed at something before, it doesn’t mean you’ll fail again. But, you have a bigger chance to fail if you focus on your past failure. Remembering negatives fosters insecurity where confidence should be. Marie was spinning old experiences and expecting trouble the next day at the meeting. It made her anxious. I asked if she had any reason to believe that the client would hold a grudge or cause her a problem. She didn’t, but worried about “what ifs”.
What happened in the past is over, unless you keep it alive.
Marie projected things that might happen based on an experience 10 years before. Yet she was in a very different place than she was when she dealt with the client and the client was also in a different place. Instead of looking forward to a good, new interaction, she got worked up with worry—lamenting about the past and expecting negatives in the future based on the past. At that moment she was fine and had no current reason to expect trouble from the client, who might not even remember her.
An Eskimo proverb says, “Yesterday is ashes; tomorrow is wood. Only today does the fire burn brightly.”
Yesterday is in ashes—gone, history, over. Tomorrow is wood. Not alive or burning, not here yet, a clean slate for you to color on in happy bright experiences or smear it with negatives from the ashes. Your fire is burning brightly right now. I worked with Marie to see the folly of her constant laments about her 10-year old experiences and to focus on where she is right now, how good she is at her job, and why she will be an asset to this client. Slowly she relaxed.
When you feel the past creeping into your present, write down all the good things about you and your life and focus on it.
Marie’s meeting ended up going very well. The client barely remembered her and her proposal impressed enough to wipe out the past. She got the deal signed but more importantly, learned to stop bringing old experiences into her present moment. All that energy stressing over the old memories was wasted and just hurt her. Had she not let go of it before her meeting she might have let it taint what developed.
If you have unhappy memories that haunt you, write them down, read them aloud, forgive yourself for anything you feel you did wrong and forgive others who did you wrong. Then burn the paper and let it go. Keep giving thanks for a wonderful today! I used to worry about what would happen the next day at an important meeting or who would give me a book deal or even would he call? Now I focus on now, and now I’m okay. When I leave the future in God’s hands, I no longer have to worry about it. Faith keeps the positive fires burning brightly!