Find out what a mosquito bite can teach you about dealing with your past in today’s guide. Audio version available here.
We all do it, agonise over past negative events and experiences, but it can do us more harm than good, so it is important to know how to deal with your past experiences. Turns out a mosquito bite can teach you something very valuable about this, i.e. about dealing with your past.
Want to learn more?
Then keep reading because that’s what today’s guide is all about.
Mosquito bites and dealing with your past
So let’s get started on today’s talk, about mosquito bites and dealing with your past. You’re probably wondering by now what a mosquito bite has to teach you about life.
I’m getting to that.
Do you remember the last time you were bitten by a mosquito? Those pesky buggers bite you without any prior notice of any sort. One moment you are sitting there enjoying your time and the next you get bitten out of the blue.
Sometimes the bite itches like crazy.
Life is like that sometimes, especially the bad unwanted past experiences. They can blindside you, and sometimes the unpleasant discomfort, that painful itch, stays with you long after the actual experience. But in the same way thinking about the bite doesn’t make the itch and discomfort go away, wallowing in your past negative experiences does not somehow change things.
If anything, it only intensifies the bad memory, and the unpleasantness.How life can be like a mosquito bite #lifeadvice #negativethinking #selfcare Click To Tweet
When you get bitten by a mosquito, sometimes the itch takes a bit of time to go away, especially if you are sensitive to them like I am. But if you distract yourself, and/or move your focus on to other things, the discomfort doesn’t last long. It’s not that the bite somehow goes away, it doesn’t.
The bite stays, it doesn’t magically disappear, but when you stop focusing on that pesky irritating itching mosquito bite and turn your focus on other things, the intensity of the experience sort of dissipates.
And then over time it’ll just pass, it won’t bother you as much, and eventually not at all.
The irony is, it can be hard not to focus on the discomfort, but the longer you focus on that bite and how it feels, the longer and more intensely you will experience it.
Even though this might seem like contrarian advice, but the fastest way to stop feeling the discomfort from that pesky mosquito bite is to stop focusing on it.
The sooner you stop focusing on the bite and how it itches and feels, the sooner you will stop being bothered by it. It will take a bit of work initially as the bite is too fresh and the memory of it is too fresh, but it gets easier to move your focus away from, especially when you keep working at it.
It works pretty much the same way for our past unpleasant and negative experiences too. When they are too recent, too fresh, it can be really hard to move your focus away from and focus on other things.
But it gets easier to move past them, especially when you keep trying.
It is really important that you need to keep trying, because wallowing in the past does not help you. Not at all. But it can harm you. In fact, most cases of depression is a result of focusing on past negative experiences.What a mosquito bite can teach you about dealing with your past #selfcare #mentalhealth #happiness Click To Tweet
Changing the past
What’s done is done. What’s happened has happened, and no amount of worrying and agonising over it will change that. So what’s the point? All you are doing is causing yourself stress and unhappiness over something you can do absolutely nothing about since it’s already happened!
It does not help you at all, being focused on the past.
But you know what it does do?
It holds you back.
You can keep focusing on the past, but that will only hold you back. The only thing you can do for a better life is to look ahead, and keep moving forward. Being held back gets you stuck, and that makes your life suck. Looking behind holds you back, so you need to look in front.Why you need to stop focusing on the past #selfcare #mentalhealth #negativity Click To Tweet
The good news
At the end of the day, what has happened has happened. No amount of thinking about it will change what has happened. No matter how much you think about it or relive the experience, it won’t somehow change. Maybe something bad happened – happens to most, if not all of us – but reliving the negative events and experiences does not change anything. Time does not reverse and will not reverse (unless you happen to get your hands on a time machine, but maybe not even then!).
What has happened does not change, but – and here is the good news – how you feel does change.
You see, whether an experience is positive or negative, good or bad, is always down to our perspective. It’s the whole glass half full half empty thing at play – where one person will see a glass half empty, another will see a glass that is half full. Same exact glass, same amount of water, but two very different perspectives.
Guess which perspective leads to a better life…
Yes, you guessed it right, the glass half full one.
There is power in positivity.
Focusing on the positive makes a difference which is one of the reasons why I am so passionate about empowering people to think better and create a better mindset.
Because how we think impacts everything in our lives.
What to do with situations you can’t put a positive spin on
Some experiences or memories are beyond any positive spin – no matter how much you try you just might not be possible to put a positive on some situations.
Are they just experiences that you can’t do anything about?
When an experience is absolutely and irrevocably negative, even when there is absolutely no way you can put a positive spin on a past negative experience, you can still do something about it.
You can decide not to spend your time and energy focusing on it.
You can decide not to wallow in it.
Will it be easy?
Not always. Sometimes it might be really hard to move your focus away from a past negative experience, but it is doable. It might take some effort, and persistence, but you can shift your focus away from the negative.
You can decide where your focus goes.
The decision you need to make
Where your focus goes is something you can decide.
It’s always a decision.
You can decide to focus on the past, or you can decide to focus on the present, and the future.
You can decide to focus on the bad, or you can decide to focus on the good.
Here’s what it really comes down to when you wallow in the past – when you wallow, you basically make a decision to choose to feel unhappy, and get stuck.
Why would you want to deliberately choose unhappiness? Because that’s what being stuck in the past does for you – it prioritises unhappiness over happiness.
That’s definitely not good for you, I’m sure you’ll agree.
Life has a tendency to throw curveballs, and sometimes things happen that are very very hard to forget. Things that are unpleasant, challenging, sad and so on – shit happens. I’m not saying you must forget them. No, that might actually be impossible short of some sort of brain damage. But forgetting isn’t the point either.
In fact, forgetting can actually be bad for you since you would have learned nothing for all the pain you experienced. That would be a huge waste, because you would have gotten absolutely nothing from the hardship.
So no, I’m not saying you need to forget what happened, especially since forgetting isn’t really possible. What I am saying is that you need to stop spending a lot of your mental energy focusing on the past unpleasant events.
What I am suggesting is that you need to choose not to wallow in the past.
Yes, shit happens, but that’s just life and you can’t do much about that – life is unpredictable… But what you can do is move on, because you wallowing over the past won’t change anything.
Not a thing.
The one thing you can with your past unpleasant experiences
There’s really only one thing you can do with your past unpleasant experiences, only one way it can benefit you – you can learn from them.
You can learn from them so that:
- You can do things better in the future
- More importantly, so that you do not make the same mistake again. Our past can be a great teacher. Failure really can be the pillar of success.
What your focus has in common with a parking space
Deciding not to focus on the negative isn’t just important for your happiness, it is important for a whole host of other reasons too.
Here’s a big reason why:
Our mental energy, our focus, has limits. We can either focus on the good things, or we can focus on the bad. It’s like a supermarket with only one available empty parking space with 2 cars competing for it – no matter how hard you try, only one car will fit, you can’t park both cars in that same space.
There is only room for one car.
It works pretty much the same way for your focus too – if you’re focusing on the bad, the unpleasant, the unwanted, the negative things or memories that happened in the past, you won’t really have room for the good experiences.
When you focus on the negative and you won’t be able to focus on what you need to do to create better memories and a better life.
You have to make room for one: you can either wallow in the past, or you can focus on the present.
Decide where your focus goes
Make an active decision, rather than being a passive bystander, simply letting your mind replay the negative experiences. That does you no good. Take hold of the reins of your life. Take charge and decide where you want your focus and energy to go.
At the end of the day, there are only 24 hours in a day. On the face of it it might seem like a lot of time, but it really is not.
Life really is short.
So you can let your mind decide where your focus goes and spend your time and energy on things that make you unhappy, or you can take the reins of your life and decide what to focus on.
The latter, by the way, is how you create a good life.
As for today’s guide on dealing with your past, if there is only one thing you take away today here’s what I want you to remember – worrying over the past does you more harm than good, so don’t cry over spilt milk.
Let bygones be bygones, because that really is one of the best (if not the best) way for dealing with your past.
Next time you are feeling down or anxious because of something that happened in the past, take note of what you are thinking, and just how reminiscing is negatively affecting you, and remind yourself of the fact that no amount of reminiscing will change what happened. Focusing on your past negative experiences does you more harm than good.
Actively choose where your focus goes, and decide to focus on the good, rather than the bad because that is essential for a good life.
It will not be easy, but it is worth it.What a mosquito bite can teach you about dealing with your past #selfcare #mentalhealth #happiness Click To Tweet
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