The Rearview of Your Life

Visualize yourself sitting in a car driving through life using the rearview mirror. That’s exactly what most of us unconsciously do.  We run our everyday life using our rearview mirror to drive us forward. That mirror represents our PAST. Regardless of what has happened in life, the past can’t be changed.  We have physically moved on, but the stories we tell about it stay with us, sitting in the front seat of our mind.  Unlike the past circumstances, our thoughts are not real, we create all of them using our imagination. Said another way, it’s all make-believe, not true or false, right or wrong until we decide it is.  We have the unique ability to choose how to interpret the world.  It’s just a story we tell ourselves about ourselves. We pack our car with all that past baggage and label it as fact.  The actual facts are over, what’s left are the words we use to describe who we think we are as a result. Lots and lots of thoughts full of both positive and negative emotions get piled high in the back seat.  We seldom question ourselves, once we think it, we believe it is the truth.  Habitually repeated it becomes the guide, the map we use to run our life.

There are no thoughts about our past that we are required to keep, but especially not if they are weighing us down.  It’s not possible to bring the actual experience of our past with us on our ride through life, only the stories we’ve stored as memory can come along. It might be time for you to unpack, re-organize and even throw out any old bags of ugly stories, especially if they are dragging you down.  Any story you tell yourself about yourself is just a habit now.  You are always in charge of the thoughts, you created them, so you CAN replace them right now.   If you are seeking a better more purposeful way to live your life, then it’s time to clean out the clutter riding along.

If you haven’t guessed, I like to use humor to share my stories.  I have a lifelong passion for shoes. Here’s my personal analogy about the past.  Most of us treat our past as a well-worn pair of shoes.  They may pinch our toes, be ugly, and disgusting to look at, but they are so comfortable we just can’t throw them away.  We wear them, complain about them, shove them deep in our closet, but we keep them because we just can’t let them go.  Illogical yes, physically they don’t fit, and emotionally we know they don’t support our body.  So why do we keep them? It’s really simple, we don’t know how to let go of the old and familiar.  It’s a well-defined comfortable habit we have. Those shoes are our story. We don’t want to let them go, even if they are no longer supporting our feet — our life.

I once gave my teenage daughter some advice worth repeating. As a family, we were relocating across the country.  My child did not want to change schools, houses, or her friends.  The unknown is scary and uncomfortable at any age.  I took her on a short mental trip about the things she said she would like to do differently if she could. I shared with her the idea that she could leave her old identity behind and be whomever she wanted to be in a new school. She could let go of her stories about her past drama and trauma.  She could embrace new thoughts simply by choosing to live in the present, by letting go of the stories she no longer needed to tell.  It was a light bulb moment.  That was full-on awareness. She chose to create new possibilities.  It stopped being about what she didn’t want and started being about the power of her ability to live from her future possibilities.  She realized her past didn’t define who she is today.

We don’t just talk about our past, we live like our past is in the car with us; it’s baggage we are choosing to carry everywhere. It moves in with us, we unpack it and continue to use it regularly to run our daily life. Those stories are not real, but the emotions we carry feel real and can produce either positive or negative results moving forward. Those negative feelings are the crappy baggage I’m talking about.  You can’t get rid of, move past or replace your old emotional baggage until you practice regularly the skill of letting go. You just need two things to begin a journey to healing from past wounds, awareness and a willingness to learn and grow.

You’ve heard the term garbage in garbage out.  When you choose to believe any person place or thing from the past has the ability to control who you are, you have signed up to live with limiting beliefs that limit your choices. It’s a recipe for pain and suffering. Are you a victim hanging on to useless baggage full of dis-empowering beliefs? Don’t let that smelly stuff continue to control your current life. You have within you the ability to change that. It’s called letting go. You can’t forgive yourself and move on until you do.

The older we get, the more conflict we create inside of ourselves about letting go.  We blame,  complain, judge and shame ourselves justifying it all by creating massive excuses. The good news, it’s not all our fault, we were never taught how to allow negative emotions, but we did learn the art of self- sabotage that keeps us wearing the same old shoes. Practicing the skill of letting go will give you some new better-fitting shoes!

Are you stuck, living with something you think will never change for the better? If you WANT something different but keep getting more of the same, then its time you learn how to self-coach your life.  Your pain and suffering are created by your yesterday stories.  Life coaching teaches you how to quit using your rearview mirror as your guide. There is no excuse to remain stuck, so stop doing that. Take the first step right now.  It really is easy and simple — let’s talk. Sign up here for a free 30-minute conversation.

Your goal-Let go of your past.  My goal-Teach you how.