What would you say to someone who offered you a lift, but then proceeded to drive whilst spending most of the time looking in the rear-view mirror? Personally, I would shriek and ask them to let me out before I got killed!
And yet we all know someone who seems to live their life in just that way. They are so focused on how things were way back when that they are a positive danger to themselves and their friends and acquaintances. Instead of looking at what lies ahead and making plans to deal with that they focus almost entirely at things that are way back in the past.
And that is the key, it is in the past. It’s done! It is time to build new memories and so make a new past that we can simply smile at as we focus on today and the future. But for some people it is not that simple.
These are the ones whom I mentally think of as the Eeyore’s of this world. See if you recognise anyone like this in your life and then you can brace yourself, ready for a slightly dispiriting time.
“Eeyore can be sarcastic and pessimistic and has trouble getting himself organised. He is more cautious than others and is often reluctant to go along with their actions, but usually does not bother trying to oppose anyone because he believes it to be futile to try. Eeyore feels like he really understands everyone else, but he feels isolated because nobody seems to understand him. Because of this, he concludes that he is unimportant, and therefore he feels there is no point to anything he does. And because he feels it is fitting that he feels the way he does, no amount of help from his friends will cheer him up, because he chooses to feel the way he does.”
Now obviously not everyone who lives their life looking hard into the rear-view mirror is also an Eeyore, but my goodness they certainly make it harder to have a happy and optimistic outlook on life when they spend so much time dwelling on past mistakes and hurts.
Now my only problem is how do I deal with a person like this in a positive or constructive way. At first I start out by feeling sad that they have obviously been hurt and affected by things in their past, but pretty soon I get cross and want them to move forward or at least stop always harking back to the past.
Of course sometimes when they look back it is with ridiculously rose coloured glasses as well. One of my friends often says things like.
“Oh yes standards have fallen. In my day we would never have accepted that kind of thing, but isn’t everything like that these days?|
“NO,” I want to scream. “No, things are different, but not necessarily worse. It is YOU who needs to re-evaluate the world. Being different does not mean better or worse, just DIFFERENT.
And that was when I realised that possibly the single most important thing that we can do to make our lives fuller and more contented is to release ourselves from old habits and customs and embrace the world as it is and not as we want it to be. We need to have a much clearer vision of the world. We need to acknowledge the failings as well as the successes of the world as it changes and try to minimise the down side whilst delighting in the new and wonderful opportunities that we now have.
We certainly need to look forwards rather than backwards for there is nothing we can do to change the past, but there are many, many ways we can improve our future, even if in tiny increments.
The first way that we can improve our lives and those around us is by being positive and grateful for all that we have. If we do this enough perhaps some of our attitude will rub off on the Eeyores we know and then everyone will benefit.
“All people bring joy. Some when they arrive, others when they leave.” Which group are you in? Oh and drive safely now!