Do you know who yesterday people are and how they may affect your life? Yesterday people live in the past. They point out other people’s past mistakes but rarely acknowledge the positive. Yesterday people hide behind a cloak of judgmental attitudes to deflect from the shame of their own past. Yesterday people tend to point out the errors of others; rarely, if ever, talk about their own mistakes. Yesterday people consider other people’s mistakes worse than their own. Unless you have a keen sense of who you are, yesterday people will drag you back in the past and keep you there. You will never be able to measure up to their self-righteousness, judgmental, perfectionist stick. With that said, you can protect yourself from so-called acquaintances, co-workers, and family members, who want to pull you back in the past and prevent you from moving forward.
Furthermore, yesterday people can be toxic to your life. If you are an individual who has a less favorable past but made some drastic changes and successes in the present, do not think yesterday people will be cheering you on. They will not. They will remind you of something you did in the past or make statements like, “Oh, she forgot where she came from” or “You should not discuss your accomplishments, don’t you think that is bragging, dear?” True, it is an endearing quality to be humble, but we should not allow yesterday people to keep us down to build themselves up or put us in our place. If we have been working on personal development and achieving goals, people who are wanting the best for us will want to share in our victories, not point out our defeats.
Keep in mind, anyone who is bettering their lives will unknowingly shine the light into the eyes of people who settle for less and choose not to have goals and accomplishments. Therefore, if you are feeling uncomfortable with certain conversations, pay attention to your gut instincts, and anytime you feel shame or anger, this will be your indication this person may not be healthy for you and you will need to set boundaries or move on from the relationship.
Here are a few things to pay attention to if you are an individual who is not closing the door on your past, but using all your experiences as stepping stones to move forward. You do not want to surround yourself with yesterday people; you want supportive, emotionally healthy people in your life who are also bettering their life.
So, how do we recognize yesterday people?
1) Yesterday people incessantly talk about the past as if it is happening today even if a something happened 10, 20, or 30 years ago. Yesterday people not only talk about troubled times, but they relive the glory days over and over again as if nothing in the present moment has anything to offer.
2) People who live in the past feel victimized by the choices they have made and choose to keep your history alive, so they do not have to focus on their own decisions. Yesterday people have a lack of self-awareness that keeps them tied to dysfunctional behavior.
3) Yesterday people gossip. Anyone who constantly gossips will have no problem sharing other people mistakes to make themselves look better. Sometimes these people have made worse choices than you, but somehow, they want to give a false persona they have never made a mistake in their life. Yesterday people are nosey and mind everyone else’s business and neglect their own.
4) Sometimes they will use psychological diagnoses labels to shame a person into submission or try to psychoanalyze their self out of problems by over evaluating yours. A good friend will listen and if asked, will offer advice. Yesterday people wear a persona of being concerned but watch out, they are a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Unlike a counselor or clergyman swore to privacy, these people will take your problems and make it headline news. Also, they will come off emotionally in control but keep in mind, individuals who have a false appearance of having it all put together are usually the most broken inside.
5) Low self-esteem. People who live in the past and are bound to it, usually have low self-esteem. Anyone who is negative and puts people down to build themselves up is a red flag. Pay close attention to what is being said, and if necessary cut these people out of your life.
Maybe you are an individual who has made some poor choices at the beginning of your life, but you have turned your life around. If so, these next few paragraphs are for you. You do not have to be chained to your past. Therefore, do not let anyone take you back to a place you no longer reside. By making amends, we open the door for healing and forgiveness. Yesterday people carry around yesterday’s bitter fruit. There is nothing we can do to change the past. All we have is here and now. We cannot move forward in life and face a brighter future by allowing the past to hold us back.
Yesterday people rarely move forward, and they are trying to minimize their failures by minimizing your successes and maximizing your mistakes. Do not let yesterday people get by with it. Set boundaries. You do not have to take it personally or show offense. By being clear, you have moved on from your past transgressions should suffice. You owe nobody any further explanation.
If a person triggers anger or shame, be mindful of it and talk to someone who can empathize with you. If a person brings out strong emotions, you may have to distant or remove the person from your life. Why would you want to keep a negative person in your life if all they have to bring to the table is to try to hold you back and drag you down?
Most importantly, be proud of yourself. If you have turned your life around, own it. Acknowledge your successes. By recognizing your achievements, you will strengthen the muscles of self-worth, confidence, courage, and perseverance. By paying close attention to your emotional triggers and what is fueling your passion for doing better will be your gauge to who you will and will not allow in your life.
Lastly, do not let yesterday people hold you emotionally hostage and prevent you from living a purposeful, joyful life. We get one life, live it well.