“Worry does not empty tomorrow of its sorrows, it empties today of its strength.” – C. Ten Boom
Robert J. Burdette, an early 20th century American humorist and clergyman, once said that it isn't the experience of today that drives men mad, but the remorse for something that happened yesterday, and the dread of what tomorrow might bring.
Although the past clings to life in our minds, it is but a ghost of times gone by. It is easy to identify with because of the emotional triggers it evokes through the aid of our five senses. Past experiences can be triggered into present feelings by a smell, a sound, or by the mere sight of an object connected to a specific moment; all it takes is a song, or a token, to blow life back into the memory.
There are different reasons why some choose the past over the present. The first, most obvious explanation revolves around the fact that our past may be more comfortable than our present, and may be seen as a refuge of sorts. The second reason, which runs a little deeper into the pool of feelings, denotes the need of reliving a particular moment to feed an inner need. It is not uncommon to internally replay a situation which undermines our self-security to justify our feelings of low self-worth.
Similarly, some are obsessed with the future, and live their lives in a forward mode. Everything they do today is done to prepare for tomorrow; everything they can achieve tomorrow is better in their minds than anything they have today; who they will become some day down the road is more important than the person they are now. In reality, the future is little more than an illusion; it is a conjecture of the mind produced to avoid facing the reality of today.
We may never see the light of tomorrow, and there is no reason of being unduly worried about something that may never come to pass. Driving ourselves mad with worry in advance will not discount the pain we will feel if and when our worries will materialize. We can be proactive toward minimizing the impact of an upcoming disaster, but we can’t consume our entire supply of energy with something which has yet to solidify.
What prompts our thoughts toward fearful images is often nothing more than a projection of our inner feelings of guilt or inadequacy. If we feel insecure about ourselves, or unsatisfied with about our own conduct, we may feel sure that our spouse will cheat when the thought of doing so never crossed that person’s mind. In reality, we are only projecting our own inability of seeing we are worthy to be loved. Generally speaking, we see the future through the colors of our past experiences and internal triggers.
Ultimately, the future – if we ever get to it – remains a mystery, and nobody can accurately predict how it will unfold. Worrying about future dreads will only bring that which we fear one step closer for us to embrace.