11 Quotes to Remember When You’re Stuck In The Past

11 Quotes to Remember When You’re Stuck In The Past

quotesQuotes

“Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – The Buddha

This quote by Buddha is this writer’s favorite regarding the past, present, and future – it’s actually one of my favorite quotes, period. Let’s break down quickly what The Buddha was saying here:

“Do not dwell in the past” is to resist the mind’s attempts to define ourselves by mistakes we’ve made. “Do not dream of the future,” as this takes away the joy described in Buddha’s final point, to “concentrate the mind on the present moment.”

To not dwell on the past is much easier said than done. We all have an innate negativity bias, which is (unfortunately) the brain’s natural, default state.

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Negativity bias (also known as the negativity effect) can be defined as “Things of a more negative nature (e.g. unpleasant thoughts, emotions, or social interactions; harmful/traumatic events) have a greater effect on one’s psychological state and processes than do neutral or positive things.”

We’re also prone to remembering negative events than positive ones. This is one of the reasons why psychological illnesses like depression, anxiety, PTSD, and others can be tough to overcome.

Do you feel stuck? Nobody wants to live in the past, certainly not those who have experienced a degree of harm and trauma that eludes most of us.

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Why are quotes so powerful?

When things get tough, many people will turn to a motivational quote for encouragement. Why is this? Simply put, human beings are aspirational; we desire to become better versions of ourselves. Importantly, this truth holds whether the circumstances surrounding our need for aspiration are positive or negative.

To illustrate the above point, let’s use a fictional story of two people going through a set of two very different circumstances.

Kim, a successful and driven businesswoman, one day aspires to be the head of her company. She knows this is not an easy path, particularly for women, who are still woefully underrepresented in corporate leadership positions. Kim always seems to find inspiration from quotes by Mary Barra, the CEO of General Motors. One of Kim’s favorites:

“I never want to get a job because I’m female. I want to get it because I’ve earned it and I deserve it…Whether my hair is (blue or purple), people should be judged on how well they do their job.”

Larry is a victim of clinical depression and finds it difficult to get out of bed. His illness seems to have deprived him of his natural disposition as a proud and vigorous man. But Larry knows there’s something still there – and this quote by Helen Keller gives hope and strength:

“Character cannot be developed in ease and quiet. Only through experience of trial and suffering can the soul be strengthened, ambition inspired, and success achieved.”

Indeed, quotes can be beautiful and inspirational. Kim and Larry, though fictional in this story, represent two very real types of individuals in today’s society.

Perhaps the best thing to do at this juncture is to drop my “writer’s pen” and speak to you all from the heart.

I, like so many of our readers, have experienced a good deal of hardship.

I’ve been poor, divorced, addicted, hungry, homeless, abused, and even jailed.

I find quotes about the past particularly heartening, even as my life has gotten better. As such, we’ve chosen 11 of our favorite quotes about the past.

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Maybe you’re stuck in the past; maybe you’re now living what you desire to be your past. Our hope (my hope) is that that you take one or more of these quotes and carry them with you, dear reader.

11 Quotes to Remember When You’re Stuck In The Past

1. “Do not dwell in the past, do not dream of the future, concentrate the mind on the present moment.” – Buddha

2. “Gratitude makes sense of our past, brings peace for today, and creates a vision for tomorrow.” – Melody Beattie

3. “Yesterday’s the past, tomorrow’s the future, but today is a gift. That why it’s called the present.” – Bil Keane

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