Future Self | Present Tense
Where Do You See Yourself in 5 to 10 Years?
Do you remember teachers and others asking you this age-old question? Funny that the older we get, that question is no longer asked. Somedays we’re doing good just to see us make it until noon. Another question that warrants importance is this: Who will you be in 10 years? While we can look back and recognize that we are not the same person we were in the past—we can look at our future self and know that person will be a different self than this current self. “Research shows that actually perceiving your future self as a different person is helpful for decision-making, as it enables you to have greater empathy for your future self, to understand what will matter to that person, and to utilize that perspective to make better decisions today.”
Human beings are works in progress who mistakenly think that they’re finished.
The Benefits of Therapy
It is no surprise that we are always evolving, both as individuals and as couples, in our relationships. Therapy can be such an effective tool in propelling us on a trajectory of personal and relational growth and change. Frequently, we come to therapy having developed a pattern of making snap judgments about our past or present self. It is important to understand that a therapist does not tell us what to do. However, through reflective questions and empathetic listening, we are guided to hear and trust ourselves to gain the right perspective on the situation.
In trusting ourselves, not only do we recognize our capacity to change, but we begin to see this in others, too.
Therapy can also help by providing the literal and emotional space for us to talk through and heal from our past wounds. Unresolved grief, trauma, and pain will go somewhere. If we have not fully worked through past wounds, we won’t have much room for empathy, looking forward, and forgiveness. Therapy can help us see what may be holding us back from dreaming about our future selves. Additionally, therapy may help us uncover what fears have crept in, which dysfunctional thoughts have kept us stuck, or whether we’re feeding an unhealthy emotional loop.
I encourage you to think about who you want to be in 10 years. Will you be in the same career as you are now? What will your family look like? Are you single or married? Where do you want to be living? Deeper questions would be: Are you fulfilled? Are you living in your passion? Do you find joy in your work? Do you have purpose in your life? Can you see yourself as compassionate and giving? Do you have a good relationship with your child(ren)? Spouse? If the answer to any of these questions is “No”, I encourage you to look at what is keeping you from this joy and fulfillment now. Consider seeking out a therapist to help you work through what may be keeping you from this future self today.
If you’d like to discuss personal growth or any other matter in more detail, schedule an appointment with Dr. Melissa Hunter here.
Psychology Today: September/October 2022. The Future. Susan Krauss Whitbourne. 30-31, 44.