These past two weeks have been spectacular. The olympics were being held in Sochi, Russia which provided the backdrop for the top athletes, to come together, to compete on the world’s largest stage. Most of the athletes had been preparing most of their lives for this chance. The sacrifices made by the athletes and their families have been tremendous. While some of the events I did not understand (e.g. curling) and others I watched in amazement (e.g. slope style), it was clear that a lot of time and effort had gone into preparing for the games and there were many dreams realized.
However, with all of the excitement and grander of the games, what struck me was something that happened when the athletes spoke to the media. After the reporter asked about the event, the next question was “will you be at the next games” or “what is the next step for you”. I really felt bad for the athletes because they were really not able to bask in the glory of the moment, that they had worked so hard for.
Unfortunately I think that this is the culture that we live in. When the president was elected to his first term, the next question was, will he seek a second term. When you are in a serious relationship, the next question is, are you getting married. When you get married, the next question is, when are you going to have children. Are we obsessed with the future?
By looking to the future, we are sending the message that what you have just done is not good enough or important. This mentality can lead to feelings of worthlessness and low self esteem. This can cause people to put too much pressure on themselves to go to the next level in search of more recognition. So what can be done, BE MORE MINDFUL.
Mindfulness or present moment living is paying attention or being aware of the current moment without judgement. This means that you focus on what you are thinking, feeling and doing in the moment and accept that moment without trying to change it or avoid it. If you are more present in your life, you can decrease unnecessary negative experiences (which may come from thoughts about the past or future) and increase your capacity to cope with the ups and downs of life through increased awareness. The bottom line: present moment living can lead to improved psychological health, through improving self esteem.
So if you find yourself in a conflict, stay focused; if you find yourself being recognized for your service, experience the happiness; if you find yourself eating dinner with a friend, put down the phone; if you find yourself in foreclosure, experience the sadness. Then, if you experience one of these moments, move onto the next moment.