Here's why we need to let go of the past

Whatever you do, don't harp on the past.

Reminiscing is good, but only up to a point. If you find yourself stuck in the past rather than focusing on present and future goals, you're only inhibiting your growth. 

Sure, we all have moments where we reflect on happier times in our life and say, "I almost miss those days." But we are prone to such thinking when faced with challenges in the present that drag us down.

But why not tweak your thinking and reason that once you surmount those challenges, you'll be even happier -- and feel more accomplished -- than you did in the past?

Then there are those of us who ruminate on bad experiences in the past -- a close friend inexplicably stabbing us in the back, a significant other we envisioned ourselves being with our whole lives suddenly proclaiming their need for space and effectively ending the relationship, an outstanding job opportunity that slipped through our fingers.

But brooding over the past isn't healthy. In fact, it's counterproductive. It deters you from progressing in life.

As I alluded to above, even I have a tendency to reflect deeply on the past when things aren't going so swimmingly in the present. It's my way of mentally attempting to escape the present, trying to reintegrate myself into a time that now exists only in memory.

Whenever I catch myself doing this, I immediately give myself a reality check: The past is the past. Whether good or bad, those times are long gone. They represent a chapter in my life that's well behind me. 

There's no use harking back to those days. Instead, we should focus our thoughts and energies on what lies ahead. Whether you aim to start a family, angle for a promotion, or buy a house, such important decisions require ample planning. And you can't plan for the future if you're thinking about the days of yesteryear.

Again, a little nostalgia isn't a bad thing, but too much of it can obstruct you from charging ahead. Only by adopting a forward-looking mindset can you position yourself to achieve great things on the road of life. 

Free yourself of the past. Embrace the future. Great things are in the offing!

This fun fact will leave you SHOCKED

How many letters do you handwrite and mail in a year? If you're like most people, the answer is probably zero.

Email, texting, and social media have essentially rendered the practice of writing letters by hand obsolete.

Despite their being old school, a person might still write one when they want to add a personal touch that doesn't carry over digitally  -- say, a child writing to his pen pal, a foreign exchange student reaching out to family from the other side of the world, or a hopeless romantic who wishes to spill his guts via pen and paper.

Can you guess how many letters Thomas Jefferson, the third president of the United States, wrote in his lifetime?

Mind you, there was no Yahoo, Facebook, or Twitter in the 1700s and 1800s. Even the telephone wasn't invented until 1876, and Jefferson died in 1826.

That means people in Jefferson's time had to make do with communicating through correspondence.

And, evidently, Jefferson was nothing short of a pro.

He wrote -- get this -- roughly 19,000 letters in his life!

I'm sure many of us can't say we've written 19 letters in our lives.

If that staggering number doesn't make Jefferson a prodigious writer, I don't know what does.

It makes you think about and appreciate how easy we have it in the modern digital age. Keep in mind that correspondence could take weeks if not months to reach its intended recipient in Jefferson's day. Now, we can communicate with someone thousands of miles away in a matter of seconds.

I can only imagine how much of Jefferson's day was spent scribbling away in his study, writing to everyone from George Washington and John Adams to his friends and relatives.

While the practice may seem archaic today, it's important to remember that these people had no choice if they wished to stay in touch with people who lived far away.

What do you think of Jefferson's remarkable output? When was the last time you composed a letter by hand?

Ever heard this before?

Have you ever heard or used the word apocryphal before?

When I first stumbled upon the word in a book I was reading, I thought the word had a dark, brooding feel to it. Perhaps it's because you can almost spell "crypt" in the word.

In reality, it means something -- whether a story, account, or statement -- that is of doubtful authenticity, although widely circulated as being true.

Synonyms for apocryphal include fictitious, untrue, spurious, unsubstantiated, bogus, and false.

I'm sure we can all point to one specific thing in school or the workplace that can often be described as apocryphal: rumors and gossip.

Many of the statements made by candidates during the presidential election last year could also be classified as such, which is why fact checking has become all the rage in politics.

All of us have friends, relatives or coworkers who relate stories that at times seem, well, exaggerated. And, yet, even though their authenticity may seem questionable, the stories spread like wildfire -- propagated from one person to the next.

Had you heard of the word apocryphal before reading this post? Do you foresee ever using it?

When someone shows their TRUE colors...

When someone shows you their true colors, never try to paint a different picture.

Many of us like giving others the benefit of the doubt. We see the glass as half full. We're optimists by nature rather than cynics. We like to see the best in people even in the face of evidence to the contrary.

Unfortunately, having such a romantic view of human nature doesn't always pay off.

Looking at someone through rose-colored glasses even when they've shown themselves to be unreliable, dishonest, manipulative, or opportunistic, can come back to bite us in a bad way.

We've all been in situations where people -- friends, relatives, significant others -- have wronged us. We accept what we construe as their heartfelt apology and forgive them, steadfast in our belief that they won't do it again.

Then, they do it again. And again. And again.

I can't help but repeat that trite expression you've likely heard a million times by now:

"Fool me once -- shame on you. Fool me twice -- shame on me."

If people see that they can get away with something repeatedly (e.g., run a red light, make an illegal turn, steal tips from a box at a restaurant) without any consequences, they're going to continue doing it.

As long as they know that you'll continue to forgive them no matter what they do, they'll persist in milking the relationship for all it's worth. They try to exploit the individual's kind nature as much as they possibly can.

Whether you're on the receiving end of such behavior -- or observe others being taken advantage of -- keep this in mind: If they strike once, they're likely to do it again.

Don't ever let your guard down completely when you're around such people. More importantly, don't paint an idealized version of them in your head.

While it's true anyone can change for the better, one act of deceit should be sufficient to convince you that the person won't always have your best interests at heart.

Don't dispense your trust so easily, as some people are quick to trample on it. Those who betray your trust don't deserve to regain it unless they can demonstrate -- convincingly -- that they're intent on changing their ways.

Don't do THIS when arguing with your partner

We argue with our significant other. It's a fact of life. 

However, we can only hope that our bond will emerge stronger following the tiff -- with both partners poised to take each other's concerns into account and work toward allaying them -- than before.

Here's the issue: There's constructive fighting -- where both voice their grievances in a tactful, non-accusatory way, and then there's vicious fighting, an all-out brawl where both individuals stop at nothing to say the nastiest things to one another. 

Needless to say, you definitely want to steer clear of the latter if you want to avoid derailing the relationship. It will only cause the fighting to escalate, widening the ever-yawning rift between you and your partner and making you resentful of one another. 

One thing many of us do which is a big no-no is the following: Instead of beginning with, "I feel hurt" or "I think you're being unfair," we frame our arguments in a much more negative, accusatory way: "You're always messing up.  You are such a slob. You are sabotaging the relationship."

Notice the difference?

The first approach -- beginning each sentence with "I" -- sounds like it genuinely comes from the heart, and it gets to the root of hurt or angry feelings. The second scenario smacks of pointing the finger; you come off as being judgmental, which does nothing but put your partner on the defensive.

I think arguing can ultimately improve the relationship provided each partner makes an earnest effort to listen to and address the other's concerns. However, if such complaints fall on deaf ears, it'll only damage the relationship in the long run. 

What's more, the argument doesn't have to devolve into a full-throated shouting match. You can be firm but respectful by keeping your emotions in check. Don't talk over or down to your partner. Let them get their word in. You're bound to discover there are things bothering him or her that you had no idea of.