Reflecting Not Dwelling
Updated: Jul 22, 2019
Sometimes we find ourselves dwelling on things which happened years ago. Other times our thinking space is full of things that occurred yesterday. Both can lead to unhealthy thinking - we may wish we could turn the clock back and relive our past - only differently. Perhaps we feel that our best days are behind us. We may feel old before our time. The future seems futile. Living in the past feel safer yet hard too. In therapy reflection, reflection and reflection is often the key to moving on in a way which helps us put our past to rest. We learn lessons, we learn to think about things rationally and come to see things very differently.
Dwelling rather than reflecting suggests we have got stuck in the past. It can be self defeating in that it prevents us from moving on.
Negative self talk about what we should' have done rarely helps. It keeps us locked up in the past. Memories are unreliable. We find ourselves catastrophising as we exaggerate how awful things are. This can quickly develop into 'facts' - or beliefs.
The truth is that we have no idea what life has in store for us. We make the choices we do at the time with the information we have at hand. Dwelling on the past can lead to depression and anxiety. It can also put us at greater risk of physical illness.
How can we come to terms with our past? Allocate a time to reflect. Move on to think about about something else. Start making goals for the future. Try writing down a plan of what you want to do. This helps build a future. Or just sit and be mindful We can learn from the past, but we don't have to live in it.
The past is our story and we have many many ways of telling it. It need not hold us back. It can serve us well. And some of the best lesson in our lives can be learned from the toughest times we have experienced.