This is a picture of a very young me. Appropriate for a post with the title of ‘Throw Back Thursday’. In case you are not aware of the premise of such a day, allow me to explain it in a nutshell. Often, on a Thursday, people on social media post pictures of them from some time in the past. This can be a fun exercise to engage in. A brief window into the past or some happy memories. On occasion it can contain a little solemn nature to it. Perhaps you remember someone who has passed on, or a business that has closed, people who have moved away or the like. In general, despite the mention of this, the memories are usually focused on the good times. You are reflecting on the way things used to be and celebrating the good about them.
Here is the thing about throw back Thursday, by Friday things are usually focused back on the present and/or the future. How on earth can some fun activity we engage in on social media teach us about life and self-improvement? I find there are lessons to be found almost anywhere if we look hard enough. As for the lesson of throw back Thursday, it can teach us a very important lesson. It can certainly be fun to reflect on the past, but we should do so on a limited basis. Once a week might not be a bad plan. It is also helpful when we look back at things and even people we have lost it can be painful. I think looking at and sharing those pictures with an accent on the fun memories we shared while sharing our sadness of missing them can be quite healing.
The best thing I think about throw back Thursday is the fact that on Friday we return to the present. The past can be a great teacher, but a merciless jailer. How many times have you let the sting of regret from something you did in the past ruin several days of your present? I know I have thought a million times over things I should have done better and wished I would have done differently. Do you know what I got out of that? A focus and motivation to do things better. A good reminder of how important it is to be the best version of yourself. Do you know how long that took me to get out of my past memory? About 5 minutes give or take. The rest of my time I just spent beating myself up and making myself feel terrible which did absolutely no good. If I would have just visited that memory, gotten the lesson and returned to the present that would have served me.
Living your life in the present while focused on the past is akin to driving a car looking exclusively through the rear-view mirror. You will be focused on everything that is behind you. How will you think this will affect your immediate future? I think the results could be very costly in terms of pain, finances and the impact of where you are going. The same can be true in life. Much like driving, it is advised to glance in your rear-view mirror and see if there might be anything coming to affect you from behind, but keep your focus on where you are going.
Much like ‘Throw Back Thursday’, limit the time you spend focusing on your past. If you can try to focus on the positive aspects of even the saddest aspects of your past. Maybe even use one day of the week to reflect. We can gain wonderful lessons from our past. What succeeded, what did not work and who was there for us. Being jailed by the past will prevent us from creating an exciting and rewarding future. Just as you wouldn’t drive your car looking through the rear-view mirror, don’t determine your future through the lens of your past. Glance at it every now and again, but keep your focus straight ahead.