I’m going to stick with yesterday’s car analogy and talk today about looking in the rearview mirror.
Looking in the rearview is important. It lets us know what is behind us. Metaphorically speaking, looking in the rearview tells you the story of your past, it tells you where you’ve been. And this is just as important as knowing what is behind you when you are driving.
But let’s be honest, the rearview mirror rarely gets more than a quick glance, a half-second at most then your attention is back on the road in front of you, back on where you are going instead of where you have been. And I think the same should be true of looking in your metaphorical rearview.
Because there is value in that backward glance. We learn from our past. Similar to driving, we can alter course if we see something looming behind us. The danger comes when we spend too much time looking in that mirror. The past is where your demons want to keep you. In the darkness of the mirror, the demons of mental illness thrive. If you spend too much time looking in your car’s rearview mirror, you might crash. If you spend too much time looking at your metaphorical one, the result might not be any better.
And I say this as someone who has really struggled to not keep my attention in the past. My anxiety has kept me dwelling on the mistakes and failures of yesteryears, and like passing a bad accident, I had such a hard time looking away from the wreckage in the mirror, oblivious to the danger it created in my present.
Fortunately, I am doing better now. I still struggle with letting go of the past, but I have gotten better, enough so that I can see the horizon when I look forward. I can see the positive things ahead of me instead of only dwelling on the darkness behind me.
And hopefully, this post can help encourage and empower you to keep your eyes on the road, metaphorically and physically, so that you can be ready for what’s ahead.