Frustrated, Bitter with the Past? Time to Pull Off to a Rest Area

It’s been said that life is best understood by looking in the rearview mirror.

We travel upon life’s highways and byways, not knowing what’s ahead, but we can sure see where we’ve been.

The clearest picture of who we are is by reflecting back upon our past: viewing the decisions we’ve made, where we’ve been, and who we’ve been with.

But who knew how this thing in life would turn out? Who would have been able to predict where we are today?

And the older we get, the more miles we can see behind us.

Given our naturally pessimistic nature, we tend to see the dark spots in the mirror, the collisions in our roads traveled, and those individuals who are responsible for wrecking our car.

We all have regrets: those missed opportunities, bad choices, horrible relationships, and the things we should or shouldn’t have done (or said) can come glaring in through the mirror and blind us to our future course.

Forgiving and being kind with ourselves in times when we consider the past is the best thing we can do for ourselves.

Our minds can whip up the past with, or without triggers. It’s frustrating at times when our brains work that way.

Yet, instead of slamming our foot on the accelerator because looking in the rearview mirror is so upsetting, perhaps we could slow up a bit, or even better, just stop.

Stop everything—think of pulling off the highway and parking in the rest area.

Then let the bitterness, regret, remorse, anger, frustration over our past—like dirty old laundry in the backseat—air out.

This means, embrace it as you pull it out of the backseat; walk it over to the trash can nearby; open the lid and drop it in.

Sounds easy? It was even easier to write it just now. But it does take effort.

Many times we’d like to forget it’s back there and just open the windows and pretend the stench doesn’t bother us…but it does and it will until we either finish our travels at the end or throw it out.

And that’s what forgiveness is.

Us deciding that we will let go of the hurt. Letting go is tough, and it does require us to spend time with ourselves, alone at the rest stop.

BTW…before heading back out on the highway, make sure you kick out any passengers that have been allowed to ride with you who create drama in your travels.

These are people who complain the whole way about our choices; filling our vehicle with drama, judgment, and condemnation.

They always seem to sit satisfied with themselves, thinking to be the moral police officer on scene, fixing the world’s problems by telling us what we did wrong, how terrible a person we are, and what we should do next.

Their advice is usually bestowed in a demeaning way and only heightens the fear of moving forward. They hardly lend a supportive hand unless they can appear to be the savior in such situations AFTER gossiping to others (usually to other family members and neighbors) about how we screwed up badly.

As hard as it is, you must kick them out of the car.

Then…only allow passengers in that are genuinely supportive and caring, not just kiss-asses, but folks that care that you travel forward, not letting your past bog down your travels, and keep you accountable for the choices now that you’ll be able to navigate a better future.

Be kind to yourself. Learn to love yourself. Take care who makes the journey with you.

May you be blessed in all your travels.

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Posted by Christian Martin Jr.