I am especially excited to talk about this topic as it is something that I have been struggling with for a long time.
As I gain more hobbies, I try really hard to open up my time during the week. I advise you to do this because you won’t believe how much time gets wasted on absolutely nothing. Wasted time is not to be confused with Me Time. I fully recognize and support scheduling weekly time when you are completely unproductive and just ‘there’. I feel like that is a very important part of life – to fully immerse yourself in your current surroundings and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
I know a lot of minimalism blogs focus on being in the moment. However, I am a proponent of giving equal focus to your past, present, and future. The past reminds you of where you’ve been, what you’ve had to get past, and your general background – being able to objectively look back is the start of a true healthy mind. By objective, I mean fully realizing your faults, bad history, and past personalities. If you can sit and admit to everything you’ve experienced, it will help you see the world in a more understanding manner. For example, someone that came from a broken home sees little value in marriage and commitment. You understand this. You (maybe) feel this. So next time you come across someone who is adamantly against your personal views, you can accept that everyone’s past shapes their current self.
Of course, the present keeps you grounded. The present sets the tone for your life. Do you like yourself, your current life, your current situation? No? Then what can you change so your future does not stay the same? The present prepares you for the future. I understand some people do not care about their future. Who am I to say that they are in the wrong? For me, I know that my future is uncertain and best case scenario if I don’t start planning is that I end up homeless. Well, that is enough for me to care. 1. I do not want to be on the streets in my old age; and 2. I do not want to be a burden on my family because of my own poor planning. I still enjoy my present – that’s for sure – but I keep Future Tania in the back of my mind.
However, there is a fine line with planning for your future and having control issues. Letting things go is the way to differentiate.
Have you ever cared about something so much – for no good reason – and could not figure out a way to shake it? It can be jealousy of someone who is happy while you are miserable. Or seeing someone lose weight while you stay the same – even when you’re in your ideal weight! It could even be seeing someone get a promotion that you never even went after. I am talking about things that have zero effect on your life.
While you are busy thinking about your frenemy and stalking their pages, you are wasting valuable brain space for better things. So let’s get over this, shall we?
First, recognize that you are comparing yourself to others.
This is the most common problem that most people do not realize. Social media warped our definitions of progress and ideal. Hate forms when you compare your single status to an old classmate that is getting married tomorrow. Maybe that girl always dreamt of being a stay-at-home mom, while you have plans to travel the world and could not care less about getting married. This is not an even comparison. Your hopes and dreams are completely different. She is working towards her goals, while you are working towards yours. Those two paths do not cross, so the emotion is wasted.
Second, realize that they are on a different timeline.
Everyone’s growth rate is different. Sadly, we judge each other based on what WE have gone through and how WE have moved past it. That’s not fair. Some of us had to grow up at an earlier age than others – and kept that momentum. Additionally, there are some topics you’ve never even come across that others had to handle. Everyone is on a different timeline. Remember that.
Third, focus on your future.
The first two steps nicely segue into the final step. If you notice, both steps remind you to compare yourself to your past. Now you know why I think equal focus to all three (past, present, future) is so important. You have your own goals. You are on your own timeline. The only future that affects you is yours. Why worry what other people are doing? While you’re too busy getting mad that someone is having their second child and you’re single, remember that you planned to go after your Master’s at this time. Have you progressed in that goal?
Once you fully grasp this idea, letting go becomes natural.