Having a rear-view mirror in our cars is crucial to our driving and our safety. Per DMV guidelines, we should be shifting our gaze slightly upward and toward the right into our mirrors every 2-4 seconds. Although, this is an important habit to develop while we’re behind the wheel, is it really the smartest practice in life? I pondered this the other day as I carefully veered into the next lane, assuring I had given the SUV behind me ample warning by turning on my indicator.
I thought about how often we live by the visions in our rear-view mirrors. After all, it is safe there. What we see is familiar and clear…..we feel complacent, because we can view our surroundings with absolute certainty. We make decisions by what we see from behind, or what we know of our past. Just as a tail-gaiter creates some anxiety, so we speed up or slow down in life, accordingly, by the experiences we have had.
Though many of us use our past as a GPS for navigating through our future, how can a future exist if we are constantly looking backward? Just because we have been rear-ended before, doesn’t mean we drive through life afraid of pushing down the accelerator. Maybe it feels easier to forever drive in the right-most lane, letting others pass us by. Or maybe, we are so cautious that we park ourselves in our comfort zone, afraid to get hurt again. Will that really get you from where you are to where you want to be? Too often, we become jaded by what has already happened in our lives. It does not define us, nor limit us from going to the places we need to go in order to have a fulfilling life. Be present. Have faith in what lies ahead, even if you can’t see it yet. Jack Canfield, author of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series, talks about the headlights of a car allowing us to drive hundreds of miles in the dark. We can only do that, because we trust the next 200 feet will continually be illuminated for us. They will guide us to our destination.
It’s important to look behind from time to time, and it’s even okay to allow what is behind us to shape some of our decisions. But, also remember this: Though we can’t see too far ahead, especially during a downpour of rain that may be gushing at our windshield of life, we might catch ourselves turning a corner on the road, barely in time to discover a rainbow. We just have to be present and shift our gaze to what’s currently in front of us.
Deepali’s Piece of Wellness: Are you living in your past? What can you do to speed up to your present? Can you challenge yourself to be content with where you are and embrace it? Think about 3 things you need to do this week to change the gears and live for today. I guarantee I will be doing the same!