We often hear learned people saying, “The past is gone, and cannot be undone. Therefore, it is no point thinking about it and wasting time.” While living in the present is the ideal way to be, it is not such a bad idea to look back at the past. Here are four reasons:
1. It helps us learn from our experiences
When we are in the moment, we may be impulsive and emotional. Once the situation is over and done with, we are better equipped to analyse what we did, and how we could have acted in a better way.
2. It helps us track our progress
Progress means forward or onward movement towards a destination. In order to be able to track progress, there has to be a starting point against which comparisons can be drawn. This starting point is available only in the past. Looking back helps us identify not just how far we have come, but also the pace at which we have made progress.
3. It helps us stay on track
We all have goals that we wish to achieve and dreams that we wish to accomplish. In our day-to-day life struggles, we might find it difficult to stay focused on our goals. When we look back at the past, we can see what has been amiss, and take corrective action so that we can stay on track. This will help us be more objective about reaching our goals.
4. It helps us identify our beliefs and thought patterns, and make necessary changes and modifications
A pattern is defined as a repetition of a design or form. Speaking of behaviour, a pattern is construed as a recurrent way of acting by an individual towards another individual, object or situation. For us to be able to identify any pattern, it is inevitable that we look into the past. Only then is it possible to see a consistent repetition. Thus, patterns of thoughts and behaviours that are helpful can be strengthened and those that are harmful can be broken, only by looking into the past.
It is said very correctly that we can do wonders if we use our past as our teacher, and not as our guide into the future. The latter would mean driving a car forward by only looking into the rear view mirror. However, looking into the rear view mirror once in a while helps us ensure that we are driving safe, and protect us from hindrances like sudden speeding vehicles.
So, let’s remember, revisit and rejoice our past, not regret it!