who's afraid of the big, bad past?
happiness (is not) for sale!

love, love, love who you are now



It's four AM
the paperboy's at it again
and I can't get no sleep
I mean what's the point when I can't even
dream up a dream that's worth the keep
And so there's no need in even going
'cause I'm better off never knowing
You know the media's getting really good at lyin'
This time around, well, I'm not buying

'Cause this life is a beautiful one
And though I've seen it comin' undone
I know most definitely
It's gonna be you; It's gonna be me
So, baby, keep your head up
Keep it on the up and up

Love love love...

We're all just lovers and takers
Breaking hearts to make the papers
She wants love; I told her stop trying
'Cause the reasons for your tears aren't worth crying

When summer's here the waves are crashing
No time for thinking; don't even ask me
Gonna let it all roll right past me
'Cause when I'm here I'm always happy

'Cause this life is a beautiful one
And though I've seen it comin' undone
I know most definitely it works out
the way it's meant to be
So, baby, keep your head up
Keep it on the up and up
'Cause you got all my
love love love

  

Before you read this post, I ask a favor of you -- yes, YOU! Visit You-Tube to watch the video of this song, "Love Love Love" by Tristan Prettyman. I really believe it will make you happy so I'm asking you do a favor for yourself really. Check out the song and take time for a little happiness. I'll wait right here while you check it out. Go on now... I'll still be here when you get back. Promise.  

 

....... [You, listening to the song and loving it] .......

 

Great little tune, isn't it? For whatever reason, that song has been an amazing inspiration to me. Every time I'm feeling down and I put it on, I find myself smiling and dancing around my room, once again assuring myself that "when I'm here, I'm always happy." Tristan is also one of my top girl crushes (beating out Sienna and Angelina!). She just seems so cool and...well...happy. I saw her perform once and she was fabulous. If you enjoy the song and have a chance to check her out live, I would highly recommend it.

Though I listen to this tune quite frequently for inspiration, I was reminded of it yesterday after one of my favorite commenters, Megan Bord of It's All About Joy! wrote this on my last post, "You made a wonderful point about judging yourself -- you recognized how judgmental you were being in that situation. Love, love and more love -- for ourselves and others. That's freedom." Love is freedom and I think it's something I often forget (especially when it comes to myself). Thank you for reminding me of that, Megan! It was just what I needed to read after a long weekend filled with lots of sunshine and drama.(Thank you, also, to all of those who wrote supportive, encouraging, wonderful comments yesterday and to those friends (and mom!) in the "real world" who were so amazingly there for me over the past few days. I love and thank you all.)

Over the weekend I got to thinking about loving who I am now (as opposed to the person I used to be) and I realized that I really do love myself. I'm not being cocky here (okay, maybe just a bit), but I'm pretty awesome. I've been through a lot of tough things and I've come out of all of them stronger. Certainly, I struggled at first, but I've really managed to get it together lately and I am proud of that. This weekend I faced big reminder that focusing on the old me really doesn't do me (or anyone else) any good. In order to be happy right now, I need to focus on who I am right now and love that person right now. And how am I going to do that? Well, you guessed it, I made some lists! (Dani = lover of lists.)

First, I thought about how I needed to go about identifying who I am now. I know who I am... right? I thought of some ways to sort through this since it wasn't as crystal clear as I would have liked it to be. Next, I got to the good stuff -- loving who I am right now. So here are the two things you need to do to really love who you are now: (1) Identify the Present You, and (2) Love Who You Are Now. How do you do these things, you ask? Read on...

 

Identifying the Present You

Understand who you were. Yes, I know, I know. I don't want to do this one either. I want to crawl into my little hole of the present and pretend some of my past never happened. But it's important to understand who you were in order to know who you are now so take a time out and give it some thought. Think about what you've done, what you've learned, who has been a part of your life. If you're lucky enough to have old journals, go through them and re-read your life story. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • Who did I spend time with in the past?
  • What were my relationships like back then?
  • How did I deal with conflicts?
  • What did I like to do for fun? Why?
  • What are some of the lessons you learned?
  • Which experiences were good? Bad?
  • What are your favorite memories? Why?

Know who you are now. Now, think about what's changed. In some areas, probably a lot. In others, maybe not as much. We are always changing (or, at least, I always am). We don't typically like the same things at age fifteen that we like at age thirty. We change likes/dislikes. We change partners. We change jobs and homes. And, most importantly, we change ourselves. So take a moment to ponder the questions I've been asking myself lately:

  • How is today different than last year?
  • How is today different than ten years ago? Or fifteen?
  • Do you love who you are right now? Why or why not?
  • What is important to you in life?
  • Who do you spend time with? What do you do?
  • What activities do you enjoy the most?
  • How has the past impacted your present?

Think about who you want to be. I know I stress focusing on the present so this seems as thought it might be unnecessary to think about, but remember this: the moment you're living in right now will soon become your past. You will be in the future, living in what will then be your now. (Got that?) So it's important to consider what you want to be so that you can work on becoming that person today. Here are some questions to ask yourself about your future self:

  • Who do you admire and how can you be more like him/her?
  • What values do you want to be important to you long-term?
  • How can you change what you don't like in your life?
  • Do you have an ideal lifestyle? What is it?
  • Who would you like still in your life in ten years?
  • What can you do now to promote a healthy self later?
  • How happy do you envision your future? 
     

Love Who You Are Now 

Look for your good. You know it's there. C'mon. Just be open to it. We all love certain things about ourselves, though we might not admit this to anyone else. Think about the great things you have going for you. Think about the compliments you've received. Did you blow them off or realize that, hey, maybe that person had a point? You are -- we all are -- incredibly unique and awesome in our own ways. We all have something (and usually many somethings!) to offer the world. Identify what your good is and focus on that. I'm sure you're just fabulous... I mean, you must be if you're reading this right now, right? ;)

Understand your bad. Ah, the downside of loving who you are now. You might have changed for the better, but you might have also changed for the worse. Are there things you do now that you didn't used to do and you don't like doing? Be brave and identify these things. Look at the parts of your past you examined earlier and think about what you would like to have back. Were you more friendly as a child? Were you blissfully happy during your twenties? (If you were, I want to know who you are because I'm not even sure that's possible!) You might have lost some of your good traits. Go find them. Likewise, work on the ones you don't like. It's not easy, but you will be happier without them.

Believe no one is perfect. You might say you know no one is perfect, but do you believe it? Sometimes I don't know if I do. I want to believe that perfection can be attained, but, deep down, I know that's not true. No one -- NO ONE -- is perfect. So stop trying. You are you and the you you are is great. So be happy with that. You've come a long way from the person you used to be and you still probably have a great deal of growing to do. Every day is a new chance for a new start, so don't worry about everything being perfect. Love yourself. It's okay to be less than perfect. In fact, it's the only way you can be.



Lately I've been doing a lot of soul-searching and one of the most important things I'm realizing is that I have to love, love, love myself in order to be better at loving those around me.I have to accept myself -- all of me. I have to accept my past (and let it R.I.P.). I have to accept the person I am growing into -- not flawless, but filled with interesting things to say and ideas on the world that other people genuinely care about. And I have to accept the person I will become and realize that everything I'm doing right now is affecting that soon-to-be person. I have the ability to make choices now so that one day I'm not looking back on my past with eyes lowered, filled with shame and embarrassment. It's up to me to live in such a way now that my future will be filled not only with more futures and a wonderful present, but a past that I can be proud of.

Now that you've taken the time to think about this, tell me, what can you do now to make the future you happy with your past? (Think about that!)

Comments

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There's something compelling about setting your sites on where you want to be, while appreciating what you've got right now, and using your past as input.

Very powerful questions, thanks for posting them and giving me something special to reflect on today.

J.D. - You're right. It's important to use all that you have (your past, present, and future) to figure out who you want to be. Thanks for the comment!

John - You're welcome. I've been spending some time thinking about them lately. It's not an easy "yes" or "no" type exercise, but it really is helpful. Thanks for stopping by!

I don't know if I can truly anwer that question...it is not the past I have an issue with...

I think you posted this for me...so thank you. I have been feeling very down lately because of my marriage...and I realized that maybe I was giving too much away, and not giving enough to myself. I love who I am...I value my strenghths and acknowledge my weaknesses...what I cannot do...is give that to another person.

I will go back to loving myself, embracing my whole self...and giving to myself, so that I can be a better mother, partner, daughter and friend....

Thank you

Love,love, love! Great song, great thoughts! Yes, it all begins with loving ourselves. Great question at the end, comes down to living a life of no regrets! Doing it moment by moment.

Dawn - You're welcome! Thank you for sharing your story in the comments. The more you love yourself, the more you'll be able to love other people. I've found that when I'm unhappy that it's always best to start by looking at me. If you're really unhappy in your marriage you should re-evaluate that too. Life's too short to be unhappy!

Mark - Thank you! :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the song and the post. It's not always easy to live in the moment, but it's very important.

"...but I'm pretty awesome." Yes, you most certainly are!

Thank you so much for your incredibly kind words. It's an honor knowing you - truly - and I *bow* to the Universe for connecting us.

As for my future self loving my past self, I have to believe she already does because she recognizes that the good, bad and the ugly are all part of the perfection of her being alive. God doesn't make mistakes, so in essence, neither do we!

You've got me thinking about judgment lately, and I ran across this great quote from another blogger. Talking about her father, Lindsey says,

He says that judgment is any time a person looks at another person’s choices and says “if I were given the same set of circumstances, I’d do better.”

I think it can also powerfully apply to how we judge ourselves in the stead of loving ourselves.

Great song! This is another wonderful post from you. You are a very talented writer. I always enjoy your work.
We have to know who we are first. Then we must love ourselves. If we can't love ourself, how are others going to be able to love us.
Thanks for sharing.
Giovanna Garcia
Imperfect Action is better than No Action

Megan - Thank you! :) You made me smile. I'm so glad that we've connected too and I love what you wrote about your future self accepting all of you. I do believe that everything happens for a reason!

Hayden - That's a great quote from Lindsay's father. Thank you for sharing it with me. It's so interesting to think about our judgments of others (and ourselves) in that light!

Giovanna - Thank you! What a nice compliment! :) And I completely agree -- if we don't love ourselves, how can anyone else be expected to love us?

ahhh...who do i want to be. what if i just don't know. i'm at a crossroads in one area of my life now...trying to figure out if i'm jumping from the frying pan into the fire or vice versa. sometimes it's hard for me to think so far into the future...but i know it's sneaking up on me one day at a time.

i loved this post--you gave me soooo much to think about and digest. cheers!

When we ask ourselves these questions we bring more awareness to our lives, which allows for more happiness. There are days that I need to love myself more. I get down on myself and I know that this habit feeds into more negative feelings.

By bringing more compassion to myself I'm bringing more compassion to the rest of the people in my life.

Natalie - I'm so glad you liked the post! It's very hard to figure out who you are when you're at the crossroads (as I am too right now), but it's important to give it some thought at least. :) Thanks for the comment!

Karl - It's definitely so important to be compassionate with ourselves. The more we do this, the happier we'll be and the happier we'll make those around us. Great point!

Great post. Definitely a good way to conduct some serious self-exploration.

A great blog, thanks for stopping by too!

Ever since I left the corporate world I have engaged in the search for who I am. 10 years "hiding" behind someone else's company name makes for a long search! And I've dug deep, starting from my heart (no coincidence that my logo is a heart!). In recent years I've taken a look through my high school yearbook and realized my quote then was "Before you can love others, you must first learn to love yourself." I don't know why I chose that, subconsciously I must have known more than I thought about myself. Who knew it would take me close to 18 years to actually realize that.

Srinivas - Thank you! It's definitely important to do a little soul-searching every once and awhile.

Sharon - So glad you liked it. Yours is great too! :)

Stacey - Wow, that's great that was your quote...it's such a powerful one and your younger self must have know the importance of loving yourself (even if it was subconsciously). Thanks for sharing a little bit of yourself here.

The only power in the past is what you give it. The past has the same weight whether it was last week or last year. It is our own perceptions of an event that gives it a presence in our lives. By understanding this concept, I rationalize away any need to give the past a second thought because in the end I decide what matters.

Nicole - You make a GREAT point here. I've written about perception before, but I didn't really put that into good use here. The past is what we perceive it as. I see this all the time within myself. Sometimes I focus on the bad. Sometimes I focus on the good. What I need to remember is that it's all up to me. I control how I see and react to the past. Great comment. Thank you!

perfect post for me to read today!!!Thank you!!

Cat - So glad you liked it! :) That makes me happy that it was very fitting for you to read today!

Hi Dani .. you do write so well .. thank you! I like the idea of thinking clearly who and where I want to be .. as that future will be my now ..

I couldn't listen to the song .. n/a in this 'great' country of ours?! .. I'll have to have a look around to hear something by Tristran ..

Wonderful post and wonderful input to explain it all ..
Thanks - Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters

Hilary - Thank you! :) I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. And you should definitely search for Tristan Prettyman -- she's wonderful and inspiring!

Hi! I love your blog and am wondering if I could have permission to link this site to my own blog that I've started. I would really like to offer readers the opportunity to read your posts and benefit from your advice!

Thanks,

Nicole

Chauntee - Thank you so much! Of course you can link to Positively Present. Feel free to link to the site any time you'd like! :)

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