(я не психолог) (transurfer) wrote,
(я не психолог)

Don't steal from your future self

Imagine you were in a close relationship with someone who treated you terribly most of the time. They'd spend your money before you even earned it, damage your health through negligence, force you to deal with the side-effects of drink or drugs, ruin your career prospects and mess up your relations with other important people in your life.

What would you think of such a selfish person? Would you want to maintain such a damaging relationship?

Unfortunately, this is exactly the sort of relationship many people have with their past selves. The person who they were yesterday, last week, or last year has passed on multiple problems to today's self, just so they could live it up at the time.

If you had a friend or family member who was doing the same thing, you'd be furious with them. Such behavior would be grounds for terminating the relationship altogether. You would expect that person to feel terribly guilty for putting you in such a horrible situation. You'd want them to stop doing these things to you quick-smart.

But for some reason, we seem to be more forgiving when our past selves cheat us. I suppose it's because we have empathy with their situation. We were there. We saw what they saw and felt what they felt.

Or to flip the concept around, many people seem to see their future selves as another person they can dump the consequences of their behavior on. They think:
"I'll buy this car on credit and work harder to pay it off next month".
"I can't resist eating that third doughnut, I'll cut down next week".
"Sure I can drink too much or take drugs today. If I feel sick tomorrow, too bad."
"I don't care if I have to live with this person. They've got something I want and I'm going to take it."
"I can't be bothered to fix that problem at work today. I'll just cover it up and deal with the consequences when they arrive."
"If I get lung-cancer from these cigarettes in the future, too bad. I'm enjoying myself today."
"I'm bored, so I'm going to do something irresponsible. To hell with the consequences!"

The only problem with this attitude is they're going to wake up one morning and find that they are the person who's been dumped on. Sometimes, they can get away with passing the problems on again into the future, but sooner or later it all catches up with them and they have to deal with it.

Some people spend their entire lives struggling to deal with the selfish things the person they used to be passed onto them.

The person they will be in the future is an abstract concept that can be difficult for some to picture. They can view this person as a saint who'll deal with all their problems; or they can see them as someone who deserves to be dumped on; or they can try not to think about them much at all.

The best way to view our future selves is as someone who needs our help. Instead of taking something from them, give something instead. Be nice to them, and you'll live to enjoy the consequences. Try some of the following:
Save some money for them to spend and invest on things that please them.
Exercise and eat well so they'll be in good health.
Work on improving your relationships, so they can enjoy them too.
Educate yourself, so they'll be better able to deal with the world.
Avoid drinking excessively and taking drugs, so they won't feel sick.
The big advantage of treating your future self well, is that the benefits are compounding. If you save some money, then the person you are in the future saves the interest from that money plus a bit more, you'll be well on your way to becoming rich.

Be charitable to your future self and treat them as a person you love and want to be happy. The benefits you receive from this attitude will likely be huge.

Tags: саморазвитие
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