Learn to Live in the Present

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One of the things that often keeps people from being happy in life and free from repeated episodes of depression is their inability to live life in the moment. So often people carry around the weights and regrets of their past, struggle daily with their present battles, and fight constant  fears about their future. Combined together, all of this constant emotional turmoil results in a person living life feeling completely overwhelmed most of the time. I think one of the big factors that enables individuals to go through life with a sense of stability and purpose is having the ability to live one day at a time.

Arguably the most famous sermon that was ever preached and documented was the sermon that is recorded in the Bible in Matthew chapter 6. This is a sermon that was preached by Jesus that has become known as “The Sermon on the Mount”.  In this sermon, Jesus was preaching  to a very large audience when he told them “Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” ( Matthew 6:34 KJV)  To paraphrase what Jesus was saying, He simply meant that the people should not worry about tomorrow because it would have it’s own set of challenges and problems. He was saying that there would be enough challenges they would face today, and that they should worry about tomorrow’s challenges tomorrow. Any way you slice it, that is great advice! Sometimes in life implementing that advice is easier said than done.

Hanging on to regrets from the past keeps us from living in the present. If we allow ourselves to, we can spend time beating ourselves up over our failures of the past and the mistakes that we have made. What we sometimes fail to remember is that some of the failures and mistakes we have made in the past have taught us valuable lessons that we would not have learned any other way. We however have to keep in mind the fact that what is done is done, and it can’t be changed. We can’t undo our past. We can only strive to make a better today and tomorrow for ourselves. When we combine the grief of holding onto past regrets with the struggles of the bumps in the road that may come on way on a daily basis, then add in fears about what our future may hold……it’s a recipe for a life of turmoil, stress, and defeat.

Something else I have  seen is that  sadly people often consciously or unconsciously  postpone their happiness for a later date, convincing themselves that “someday when this happens”…..or “someday when that happens….I’ll be happy.” The sad truth is, more times then not that day never comes. The reason it never comes is that if we are unable to be happy at the present moment, we will likewise be unable to be happy in the future. Many people go through life like it is a dress rehearsal for a later performance! It’s not! This one life we have been given is the big show! Nobody has a guarantee of a tomorrow. Today and the here and now is the only time we have control over.  At the risk of sounding like a broken record, I must repeat one of the greatest concepts that my Mother taught me. That concept is that happiness is a choice. Unless we can learn to choose to be happy today, the likelihood that we will be happy tomorrow is remote. Happiness can not be dependent on what is happening around us because the events around us are constantly changing. Because of that, our level of happiness will be constantly changing if it is governed by the events around us. Happiness has to come from within. It has to be based on a peace within yourself, and a knowledge that there is a God that created us and loves us that is in control of everything, even when it seems like things are out of control. The Apostle Paul said ” I have learned in whatsoever state I am to be content.”  That’s the place we need to get to in order to achieve happiness on a consistent basis. That’s not to say that we have to settle and not seek to grow and improve ourselves, but it says that we should CHOOSE to be happy regardless of our circumstances. It sure beats the heck out of the alternative of being miserable. I’ll take happy over miserable every day all day long!

The bottom line is this……..we have to live one day at a time and not get weighed down by our past mistakes, or paralyzed by fear of the things to come in our future. The music legend John Lennon was once quoted as saying, ” Life is what’s  happening while we’re busy making other plans.”  When we allow ourselves to become “busy making other plans”, our kids and grand kids are growing up, we’re getting older, life is marching on, and are dreams are slipping through our fingers. In essence, we are missing out on life. Don’t allow this to happen to you. And if it has been happening to you, it’s never too late to change. As the old saying goes, today can be the first day of the rest of your life. If the book of your life has not read like you would have liked, keep your chin up. Until the day that we leave this world, there are still chapters in our book to be written. We have the power to change our story anytime we want. How is the rest of your story going to read?

 

Thanks for reading!

Until Next Time,

Mark

 

 

 

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