Some who are on the other side of divorce wish they didn’t have to deal with the stress and emotions that come from it. But in order to begin planning for a happy future, you have to work on moving on. When you move out of the past, you make space for yourself to allow for the present and what is possible for the future. By doing that, you are not totally consumed with what was, so that you can focus on what is right now. You begin to recover and heal from the inside out.
How To Live Fully In the Present and Plan for a Happy Future
Part of living in the present is acknowledging thoughts and feelings of the past when they show up. You must then recognize that these feelings no longer serve you.
Your thoughts are not who you are. When you have these thoughts, you are not even thinking. It is just your mind chattering along and getting caught up in it.
Learning to become aware of words or situations that push your emotional buttons will help you begin to learn how to control them. The words and situations bring up overbearing and uncomfortable emotions and feelings. The uncomfortable feeling or emotion is the “thought trigger”.
How you react or respond to the thought trigger gives you the results you are getting in your life.
Here’s An Example
Drew was watching a movie. The wife ended up cheating on the husband. Surprisingly, it was a similar situation that he went through in his own marriage. So, by association, the situation caused a thought that created an uncomfortable feeling.
He has a choice. He can grovel around in the past and dredge up the situation, or he can replace the triggering thought with a positive one focusing on his present life.
By replacing the triggering thought, he chooses to think of something good that is presently going on in his life. He gets rid of the negative, uncomfortable feeling that would cause him to act in ways that aren’t good for his mind, body, and soul. He chooses to stay in a positive vibration of thought. He continues to feel good.
What Does Being Present Mean?
By making it a practice to become aware and mindful of what is happening in this moment, you are not distracted by thoughts of the past or the future. The past is gone and the future is yet to come. We only ever have the present moment.
Start to become aware of your thoughts. How you physically feel is a good indicator of what you are thinking about. Notice if you start feeling uptight, anxious, etc.
What are you thinking?
When your thoughts gravitate to the past, you want to learn to observe them or acknowledge they are there. You then push them away and add space to replace them with pleasing thoughts in the NOW.
As a result, you feel less anxiety, worry, and stress about things you have no control over anymore.
Does This Sound Like You?
Adrian married her co-worker, Adam. They were married for a very long time. Adam had been cheating on her for years with one of Adrian’s best friends. Once she discovered this, she started to piece together other questionable situations that nagged at the back of her mind but dismissed as unthinkable.
As a result, Adrian is so humiliated and hurt, she feels deep anger and betrayal after all those years of thinking she has an amazingly trustworthy marriage.
Every day, even years after the divorce, she has moments of shame and humiliation cropping up. These feelings lead to resentment and anger. Even when spending time with friends or her grandchildren, she would be so distracted and self-absorbed in these terrible feelings. Adrian was unable to experience joy and happiness with those closest to her.
She threw a “pity party” for anyone who would come. She had two choices. She could play the victim, spew anger, and blame everyone else and be miserable for the rest of her life, or she could rebuild the life she wants.
Asking Tough Questions
- What was her display of negative emotions at Adam or those who were in her line of fire, really serving any useful purpose?
- Was it going to change her life as she knows it?
- Was it affecting her mind, body, and spirit in a healthy, positive way?
She was acting like a wounded person; and in the end, it was keeping her stuck in these bad feelings.
By learning to be present whenever her feelings of anger and humiliation overtake her, she learns how to be present. Consequently, when she is with her friends, she is able to nurture her friendships and truly enjoy and listen to what they want to share with her.
When she is with her grandchildren, she is able to focus and get caught up in the moment’s pleasure of truly appreciating the bond they have.
Simple Goals For a Happy Future
Adrian started with some simple goals that would help her move forward one step at a time. Here’s an example of some actions she can take. Notice how each action begins with an action verb.
- Learn the practice of mindfulness (breathing) so that she can reconnect to the present moment. Start with practicing a few minutes a day eventually using the technique when her mind gets triggered back into the past. Concentrating on her breathing takes her concentration away from the uncomfortable thoughts.
- Develop an awareness of thoughts words, or situations that signal “victim”, and change those thoughts to “new thinking” or remove herself from the triggering situation. For example, as soon as she notices herself feeling uncomfortable or badly, she would try to figure out what she was “thinking” when the feeling would come up. Then she would pull herself back to the present whether she was chopping onions, putting on makeup, driving the car, or whatever she was doing.
- Practice the power of gratitude and forgiveness. Write three things every morning that she’s grateful for before starting her new day. She could write, “I am so happy and grateful now that I nurture my mind by reading a good book about developing a positive self-image. When I feel good about myself, I have positive thoughts flow to and through me.”
Living in the past takes away the potential for the future. Living in the present allows you to let go of the past. This is so important for every area of your life.