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I have to admit that one of the best therapies I’ve ever encountered is one that has never cost me a single cent. And good news—this free therapy is available to everyone reading this. One need only visit their nearest shopping mall and find the mall map. Then locate the portion of the display that says, “You are here.” Because guess what? You are here. Period.

Often, we linger in the past (at least mentally)—replaying past decisions, past circumstances and even past failures (or at least incidents that we classify as failures). But spending too much time looking into the rearview mirror can inhibit not only our present state, but also our state of mind.

It all comes down to clear thinking. And that often starts with accepting what was—along with accepting that there’s no going backwards and changing it. So to debate or belabor what happened is really a mute exercise.

Sounds simple, right? But many of us (myself included) spend too much time wondering why things happened the way they did… And why we responded or reacted certain ways (often wanting to change everything that's already transpired—and, therefore, cannot be altered). Even though there’s no time machine that we know of, we often live life as if we’ve lost the keys to one—as if we might have the capability to un-do something or somehow make it right.

But no matter how many times we replay past events or decisions in our heads, they are never going to be undone. So the sooner we swallow hard and move on, the better. And yes, this theory can apply when we’re the (so-called) victims of circumstance as well.

Recently my spouse was laid off for no apparent reason (other than the new go-to word for being laid off, "rightsizing")—despite being one of the company’s top performers. Boy, have I wrestled with this situation in my head… Wanting to know why it happened—or if there was someway we could have played things differently so that it wouldn't have happened. But guess what? None of this mental clutter changes anything. Time to look for a new job. And any kind of “Woe is me” or refusal to let go (AKA “accept”) simply hurts our family and us. We are here. Like it or not.

And speaking of the “like it” part, you don’t necessarily have to like it. But still, you are here. You’re not anywhere but here. So no matter what you’re facing (whether a medical issue, breakup, job-related or financial issue or the 1,000th time you might be committing to losing some excess weight and getting healthier), the sooner you accept that you are here, the sooner you can take the first step into what can be the next great chapter of your life.

Again, I know this all sounds very simple. Some might suggest it’s even trite. But I promise that carrying around this mental reminder that the past is in the past and the future is in the future and that staying present offers us the clearest mindset (and, therefore, the clearest decision making capabilities) can be helpful. No matter what’s transpired… No matter what you’re facing… No matter how unfair… No matter if it was self-sabotage… Repeat after me: We. Are. Here.

And with a mental state of acceptance, here can be full of as many opportunities and possibilities as we allow it to be. 

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