The Rearview Mirror is Behind You
Author: Dr. Julie. Sorenson, DMFT, MA, LPC
And You Aren’t Going That Way!
The rearview mirror is small, and the front window is significant for a reason. The past is the past. It may have helped you become who you are today, but you aren't that person. You have lived experiences that make you who you are. Your lived experiences may be traumatic and unfair, or they could be stressed from financial reasons. Maybe you are a single mom with loads of stress or a lonely wife who does not feel appreciated or validated. You could have had an incredible life and missed your youth and lived experiences. You could feel stuck on replay, and every day is the same. Even successful people may drive to work and feel depressed or like life is passing them by. You may be older and looking at the eyes of death, wishing you had done things differently or that you could go back. Life is what you make of it. It's all about mindset.
The good news is that you get to change the narrative of your life. You are the one living it, not your neighbor, your parent, your partner, or your friends…., just you. You are in the driver's seat, so you can decide which way you turn. If you wake up every day and you tell yourself that nothing will change or that your life sucks. Then nothing will change, and it will still suck. If you wake up in the morning and say, "I can make a change, and today will be a good day," it is allowing you to change your mindset, allowing you to be happier and healthier. If you tell yourself the opposite, that your life sucks and you are lonely, it will activate memories in your brain when you were lonely, and you may remember feeling rejected and alone. When you trigger those memories, you may go down memory lane, letting yourself re-experience the pain.
Don't allow yourself to listen to the negative voice saying, "I am broken, I am not worthy, I don't deserve love." Instead, dream of a new story where you feel worthy, loved, and confident. You determine your life.
Remind yourself that those painful memories are your past. They won't disappear, but you can hold your head high and choose confidence and happiness. Remind yourself of things you can be grateful for and what is going right in your life right now. Some days, it may be challenging to find something you are thankful for. Look hard. It could be the smell of fresh-cut grass, your favorite song, the temperature outside, a phone call from a friend, or the smell of coffee. Statistically, when you look for the good in your day, the things you are grateful for improve your mood, decrease anxiety, increase friendships, and provide hope. Why should a painful past dictate who you are today?
Take time to allow yourself forgiveness. Your past may not have been pleasant, and you may not know how to forgive things from the past or what to forgive. Maybe you don't want to forgive. However, if you allow yourself to forgive things that have happened to you in your past or the people that have done wrong to you, it may feel like a weight off of you. Forgiveness is what you need to allow yourself to change your mindset and move forward in your life. Remember, you get to choose your direction, and having a more positive view of the direction you are going could allow you to find contentment and happiness.
If you are struggling with your past and you need some direction. Some local therapists can assist you in plowing your new path while processing the past. It's okay to ask for help and to have someone help you find the keys to your new life.