October 17th 2019
Everything self-help tells us we need to live in the moment and be present.
Lao Tzu is often quoted:
“If you are depressed you are living in the past.
If you are anxious you are living in the future.
If you are at peace you are living in the present.”
Although I agree with this, there is something to be said about thinking of your future self. We can use the "live in the moment" motto interchangeably with the YOLO (you only live once) mentality and, in this sense, it can be destructive.
You know how it goes... you've had a few drinks at the bar and are contemplating ending the night or keeping the party going. Your friend says "YOLO! Let's do some shots! We never go out. We deserve it!" Or...Maybe you're out shopping and after already having told yourself you were going to be frugal, you see something you really want to buy and tell yourself to "live for today" and get that cute sweater that's actually a really good deal because it's 50% off and it's TOTALLY your color.
These are the moments I say: Think of your future self. What are they going to think, feel, regret or be proud of tomorrow? That's the person you'll look at in the mirror, sobered up and feeling the effects from your decisions made the day before. Do you want to make their (your) day better or worse? Do you want to feel proud that you said "no" to that purchase, that cigarette, that drink? Maybe it will give that tomorrow self a better chance at success and self-worth.
These are the moments we dig deep and make those changes. What are some habits you want to change? Where do the moments of weakness pop up and how do you set yourself up for success? Find those moments and ask yourself: Am I helping my future self? Would my future self be proud of this decision? This moment of pause and visualization could be the catalyst for change! So yes... please be present and live fully in the moment, but acknowledge that your future self is on the other side of the decisions you make. Be kind to that person. Be kind to yourself.