When I drive I tend to find myself glancing at the rearview mirror a large amount. I tend to know exactly where cars are behind me and what is in my blindside. I am not at all saying that I don’t focus on what is in front of me (because that is dangerous and I am a pretty great driver), but I do spend a lot of time dwelling on the scenes and cars that are behind me.
As I caught myself doing this I realized that this can be equated to my life. I mean I am livng in the here and now and enjoying life. However, I find myself dwelling on the past and spending all of my time fixated on the mistakes that I have made and the impacts that they now have on my life. The fact is that by focusing on the past I am in no way able to truly appreciate what is in front of me.
These thoughts come after spending the past few days really thinking through some past mistakes. Relationships, opportunities, and such like that. This has caused me to focus on what has happened and how I shouldn’t have made those mistakes. I should have done this. If I would have done this. I could have done this. Ugh. Those thoughts not only won’t go away but they destroy any forward moving. I am left frozen in place. Terrified that I am going to mess up and continue ruining my life.
How can you safely move forward if you so focused on what is going on behind you?
Back to my awesome driving. Since I know what is going on behind me I am real confident on passing other cars and switching lanes. I know how to safely react to the things that are going on in front of me because of what is going on behind me. Are you guys seeing that connection?
So, I have messed up in the past. Yes, I have found myself so broken up due to the mistakes I have made. However, it is behind me and it is guiding me into changing lanes. Hoping me move forward and avoid the obstacles that will surely come. Without the things behind me how am I to know what happens? Sure I can take somebody’s word for it, but man when it happens to you, you listen so much better.
I mean I could focus on the, shoulda; woulda; coulda of life. Or I can nod my head to what happen and use it as a way to take a step forward. I can think back to the feelings that came from that mistake or success and use it for the next decision. The past is there to remind us of what happened, not to destroy us.
So, I think I will just let Maya Angelou wrap it up:
“If you must look back, do so forgivingly. If you must look forward, do so prayerfully. However, the wisest thing you can do is be present in the present… gratefully.”