Do you ever think that it’s time to stop living backwards?

This is the second year, that I went back to my school in my hometown in Transylvania, and joined a couple of philosophy classes with a question I stumbled upon in many books and articles:

If you could be anything in life, what would you be, and WHY that?

The flow of creative thoughts, dreams and wishes quickly unfolded as I listened to every student speak their mind and heart...I noticed that regardless of what they want to become or how they want to live their life, the majority’s WHY was to feel that they help someone, and that they contribute to something worthy.

I took this one step further and asked them why that particular motive is their WHY. And after some thinking, they have told me, because they get positive feedback (this was the motive in all answers) and that means they’re good people and that makes them feel good.

Later, days later, these questions also popped out of my mind:

  1. What does it mean to you to feel worthy? What happens with you then? 
  2. What does it mean to you to feel that you are helping someone?
  3. What is your relation to help from the standpoint of receiving it and not giving it. Is there a balance in that?
  4. Are you looking for these feelings of wellness from outside conditions or you offer them, because you already feel them, and want to share them with others?
  5. Are you applying a condition to what you are doing? (Basic example: I’m offering you help and in exchange you are nice to me. Tit for tat.)
  6. How conscious are you about this?

Truth is, most of these came up, when I started thinking about the definition of living backwards.

Living backwards meaning: putting a condition to things.

Put simply: I’ll feel good if something good happens, and I’ll feel bad if something bad happens. And then you might say...what are you talking about, how else can you live life?

This is also called, I think, a way of living by default.

And if you want to go deeper, there is living on purpose, something I discovered recently and am interested in adopting with more or less success so far, meaning: no matter the condition, I carry on with how I know from within and what feelings I get from this knowledge. (I emphasize the word know, because I understand the large difference between hope and belief vs knowing. Knowing something has such force, that it destroys all doubts, moreover you don’t even think of it as a possibility. It’s like like having a nose...you don’t really think about the fact that you have a nose. You just have it, it’s there).

Again: no matter the condition. Can you imagine? Do you know what it takes to live on purpose? Do you even want to be able to live on purpose?

2 years ago, this is what I’ve been talking about in my TEDx talk...about knowing something against all circumstances and following that with complete devotion, even when everything around you shows you the exact opposite...

If living backwards means reacting to conditions / circumstances, then living on purpose could be:

  1. focusing on what we want, instead of focusing on the lack of it, and/or focusing on the present condition we want to change
  2. feeling good about the idea we focus upon - in spite of all present conditions we want to change
  3. and perceiving those feelings as indicators of where we stand on the way to our new, positive object of attention (like playing hot and cold: if the feelings are good you are getting close to what you want, if the feelings are bad, you are distancing yourself from what you want)
  4. effortlessly
  5. and observing the change in the nature of our own reality.

It’s really fun to apply this in life. It’s a journey and it takes a lot of patience when you try to break an unpleasant habbit or change an unwanted behavior pattern. I’m not sure there is a destination, it’s just about learning, growing and experiencing life in ways that are yet a little bit still off, in the eyes of many, but for sure exciting.

When do you know it’s time to stop living backwards?

Written by Iulia Oprea

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