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Dealing with fears created by past problems April 22, 2014

Posted by Dennis Mellersh in Overcoming Fear, Solving Problems.
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From ancient times to today, teachers of personal development techniques have advised us to avoid dwelling on the past.

Instead, they urge us to concentrate our thinking on the present, particularly the present moment (the Now) and perhaps the future.

Confucius, for example, in one of his discussions, commented:

“Never speak of what has already happened. Never criticize what has already run its course. Never condemn what is already done and gone.” (1)

Good advice; but what about an event, or series of events in the past, which is impacting on our lives in the present moment, particularly if this past circumstance is causing us a lot of emotional torment and fear?

The first thing we should do is to decide:

(a) Is the past-created present problem something on which I can take corrective action? or;
(b) Are the present manifestations resulting from the past situation totally un-fixable?

Because the present effects of the past situation are resulting in our being fearful and stressed, we may procrastinate taking needed action. Our constant re-creation of the past in our minds is resulting in mental paralysis.

In this case, one strategy recommended by experts today is to take a one-bite-at-a-time approach to corrective measures. The act of doing something, even if in small steps, can go a long way to helping relieve our mental distress.

If the current situation is absolutely not correctable, then we need to put effort into our personal growth goal of developing the quality of acceptance in our emotional and mental outlook.

(1) As translated/interpreted by David Hinton in his book, The Four Chinese Classics