The rearview mirror is a tool utilized to enable a driver to see the vehicles(s) or road behind them. It allows a person to be alert and aware of what is taking place behind them and possible threats that could be approaching. In knowing what is approaching, the speed at which the threat is approaching, or if movement can be made from one lane to the next, the driver is able to make sound decisions. If that rearview mirror is missing, the driver is at a slight disadvantage and must solely rely on the side mirrors. While the side mirrors can aid the driver, having the ability to look at the rearview mirror provides an insight that cannot be done without looking at what’s behind you.

This same concept can be seen in individual’s lives. We each have a rearview mirror that we look at from time to time. It helps us to look at where we have come from but is not the sole focus because we have a windshield in front of us that has a clear picture of our future. The windshield is bigger, clearer, and aids in making decisions that will affect your present and future.

Unfortunately, we do not use the rearview mirror from time to time. We do not use it as a launching pad. We do not learn from what is behind us as we move forward with the windshield. There are those whose rearview mirrors are their visual. It is this 8-inch, 10 inch, or 12 inch sized mirror that dictates one’s movements, actions, decisions, and eventually their life. It is this small mirror that we base our lives around even though you are aware you are living in the past.

It is time to break free from looking in the past through that rearview mirror. It is time to take control and not allow the past to be a part of your present and future.

Merriam-Webster provides the definition of forward as “near, or belonging to the forepart; situated in advance; strongly inclined; notably advanced or developed” to list a few of the definitions. The definition for backwards is “with the back foremost; in a reverse or contrary direction or way; toward the past; toward a worse state”. Let us review one of the definitions for backwards, “toward the past or toward a worse state”. These definitions are in stark contrast to the forward definitions that appear to be more positive, advanced, and clearly show a forward movement toward what the reader wants.

While these are just definitions, they are reflective of how we live each day. We are either moving forward, toward something notably advanced, or we are moving backward, toward the past. There are times where we do both in a day, in a week, in a month, or even year after year; but this back-and-forth movement doesn’t have to continue.

Questions to Ponder:

  • What forward motion are you making in your life?

  • What backwards motion(s) do you need to release?

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Dr. Chemika Burkhalter, LCSW, MCLC

Dr. B is a licensed clinical therapist and a master certified life coach with a client-centered emphasis and a love for helping people navigate their way to the “aha” moment.