I spend my days as a therapist teaching people to be more present. To get their head out of the fears of the future, out of the depths and pains of their past - to be able to feel the peace in the now.
That makes this article a slight contradiction, but I felt to write it because it is something that I found helps, in particular, your future and the anxieties that our future can bring.
I was always a bit lazy, a bit sloppy and really had a rebel streak through my whole life. That has of course died down as I grew as a person but it still didn’t feel natural. I am somebody that naturally is planning miles ahead and have to bring my mind and energy back into the now.
It was not until I was inspired by my partner, who is someone that would always go the extra mile to make sure the household chores are done. I started watching him to figure out what motivates him to do that versus just leaving things to do later or ‘tomorrow’.
I started to do things in the now that my future self would thank me for.
Now I am in the future of doing these things and I am now thanking my past self for doing that - sometimes so surprised and happy that I find myself being thrilled by my past self and so grateful. The following may seem menial but as I say to people, small daily things accumulate and build up in interest over time (and not just your savings account).
So here are the top 5 things that your future self will thank you for;
1. Processing your emotions.
The majority of people grew up with parents and grandparents who made expressing certain emotions a bad thing. This then filtered through school and then finally the workplace.
The majority of people who have trouble with relationships, addictions, stress, anger and mental health issues in general usually are dealing with some sort of baggage, trauma and negative emotions.
Because of this, we feel the need to suppress any emotion other than happiness and not communicate to people how we really feel, what our opinion is or express that we feel hurt or are scared. This build up can make it super hard for your future self to deal as the snowball effect can create an unbearable feeling of anxiety, of being the victim and generally anything but peaceful.
Do your future self a favour and speak your truth without fear. When you feel sad let yourself cry and learn from it (instead of reaching for the bottle).
2. Look after yourself and your space like your future self is the love of your life.
When you are totally head over heals with someone, you do anything for them. You clean your home until it’s spotless before they come over, you cook amazing food, you wear your nicest clothes around them and make sure you look good in general.
What if we did this kind of thing for our future self? Let’s be honest, it’s not like it will ever be a waste of time as you can’t really break up with yourself or feel used or resentful. You will always be in a relationship with you (whether it is a good relationship or bad), and no matter who comes and goes in your life, you will always be with you - so may as well treat yourself as the love of your life!
Put your dishes away for your future self so it’s nicer for them when they walk into the kitchen.
Make the bed for future you so they can come home and jump into a nicely made bed when they get home that night.
Make a little extra effort with your hair so the future you can be comfortable with what they see in the mirror.
Eat the piece of fruit and have an extra glass of water everyday, so future you can see your skin glow and experience comfortable digestion.
Wash the clothes from the last few days so future you has nice fresh clothes that they can choose from when they want to go out.
3. Come home to a warm, home-made dinner.
Isn’t it nice when a loved one cooks a nice meal or when a loved one has put food in the fridge for you? What about having yummy left overs from the day before so you don’t have to worry about thinking about and going out to get something for lunch that day?
Make yourself something nutritious and yummy on a certain day or if daily make a little extra so you can have some later or the next day. That little bit of extra effort in the now can make a significant difference - just like the gratitude you feel when someone else gives you something to eat.
If you know a food that makes your future self feel bloated and low in energy then think about it before you take a bite. Are you eating it too stifle and not deal with some emotions? Are you eating it because you want some momentary mouth pleasure?
Would you give your soul mate food that makes them feel sick?
4. Turn off the TV and learn something useful.
It’s almost like school taught us that we have to learn and absorb whatever is presented in front of us. Has this translated into us sitting there for hours watching mind numbing television? If you had a partner who didn’t work on themselves, didn’t read or learn or want to be the best version of themselves to reach their potential, yet you know that they have it in them. Then wouldn’t you, out of love and care, encourage them to reach that potential?
5. Relax and don’t take things so seriously.
Listening to many interviews and podcasts over time, many people have been asked - what would you tell your younger self? - relax and don’t take life so seriously.
People can be really worried about if they are good enough, successful enough, saving each dollar and working extra hours in jobs they don’t like to keep up appearances - only to find when they get to certain milestones they immediately think ‘whats next?’.
Enjoy life a little bit more, see it more as a game and others as actors in a movie. We are all having a different reality and have different interests and quirks for a reason - otherwise life would be boring.
If the love of your life was serious, unhappy and overworked in a job that they hate - wouldn’t you encourage them to maybe try a few things that make them happy? Or look for and take the steps to do their passion? Maybe you would put a comedy show on for them or take them out to brunch? Remember this when you are feeling burnt out and feeling stuck in life, remember that it's just a game where we learn and grow and try and be a good person for us to benefit in the end.
These are just some examples that you can start to implement in other areas of your life which can benefit the love of your life… which is really you!
Time is precious and if we are constantly creating our future by what we are thinking and doing in the now, then the more that you put in the positive bank now the better return on life you will get.
If you liked this article, you might also like: 6 Steps to a Happier Life.
Specialists in Addiction Recovery (including Ice Addiction) and Mental Health at our Outpatient Addiction Rehab Centre in Melbourne, Australia