I’ve been saying this for years. Rear view mirrors are for cars. NOT life.
When you always look behind you, instead of in front of you, you focus on the past, not the present or future. While looking back brings fond memories to mind – lets us remember moments and people that mean something to us even in the present – it is not a way to live.
Social media allows us glimpses into other people’s lives. Sometimes more of a glimpse than we really want to see. But of all the glimpses that I see, the ones that disturb me the most are the posts about someone’s past. And not just a momentary blip, but a constant rehash of the past.
We all carry baggage from life. Some more than others. But when you add looking backwards all the time to the baggage we carry, you might as well just sit down on your life path, facing your past, surrounded by your baggage, and just sit there. It’s easier than moving forward with your head spun 180 degrees behind you dragging baggage that just weighs you down.
It’s fine, and healthy, to look back once in a while – remember where you’ve been – what it took to get to where you are now. It’s fine to carry a little baggage with you in life – to remember some things that should never be forgotten. It is NOT healthy to continue to relive the past, drag it with you wherever you go – not allowing the past wounds to heal. Once those wounds heal you can look back on the memory and it doesn’t hurt as much.
I’m not saying you should forget. I’m not saying the memory won’t have its stinging moments. But you need to move FORWARD. HEAL. EMBRACE THE MOMENT. You can’t embrace the moment when your arms are full of past baggage and wrapped around your person holding on so tightly to the past.
MOVE ON. MOVE FORWARD.
For some forgetting is the easiest way to move forward. For others talking about it is. But there are extremes to both of these ways and both extremes are not healthy. When you try to forget, it has a way of creeping up and slapping you in the face when you least expect it – and you are not prepared to handle it. When you talk about your past over and over again you find yourself mired in your own past, like quicksand, and find at some point that you are stuck. What started out as a theraputic way to work through the pain becomes the only thing you have left to hang on to – lest you drown in it. And the pain you hold on to holds you back – consumes you.
LET GO. MOVE ON. MOVE FORWARD.
I’m not saying it’s easy. Nothing worth doing ever is. But it is necessary.
Remember that loved one who passed and cherish the moments you had with them. Do not martyr yourself that you live and they do not. That’s not life. Take a moment and reflect, remember, smile – but don’t let it freeze you in the moment. Let it wash over you like a cool summer breeze and enjoy it. Close your eyes and remember. Then open them again and move forward.
Remember that difficult time and learn from it. Smile and be proud that you got through it – past it. No matter how many people helped you along the way YOU had to get through it yourself. Embrace that moment and realize how strong it makes you TODAY. Not how difficult it was yesterday.
Every once in a while stop on your life path and open a piece of that baggage you carry with you. Pick a memory that you find not so difficult to remember, hold it, remember it, let it wash over you and through you. Then set that piece of baggage on the side of the road and only take with you the memory – not the weight of it – as you move forward. Do this once in a while and over the course of time your baggage will be lighter, your steps easier, the path forward clearer.
REMEMBER. LET GO. MOVE ON. MOVE FORWARD.
There are so many times I want to remind people of this when I’m on a social media site. It’s not an easy thing to do. But I am a walking, talking example of how this can work – how it does work. That’s not to say I don’t have baggage. I even look behind me once in a while. And on the rare occasion I think to myself “what if”. But I don’t live in that moment. I live THROUGH it. And I MOVE ON.
Just imagine the moments in life you are missing by always looking backward. Turn your head around and LIVE.
Remember the past – live in the present – hope for the future.