Don’t Look Back: Are You Spending Too Much Time Obsessing Over Your Past?

June 4, 2012  |  

In Finding the Right Path for You I wrote about my first time learning how to ride a bike.  I had a bad habit of looking behind myself to see if my father was still holding on to the back.  My habit was so bad that my aunt told me that Medusa was behind me (I was really big in Greek Mythology at the time… which is still going on now…) and if I were to look behind me I would turn into stone.  However, that made me want to look back even more.  Finally, I’m riding, my father let’s go, the wind is blowing through my hair, and for some reason, I look behind myself.  Before I could comprehend the cries of:  “LOOK OUT!”  I run right into my father’s car.

Now, that would have been fine if I learned my lesson and that was the last time that it happened, but it wasn’t.  By looking behind me while riding my bike with my sisters and friends I have successfully crashed into glass doors, people’s pets, and other people.  But, the crash that made me finally decide to start looking forward was when I was riding my bike with my two older sisters, and I was in front.  Afraid that I was being left out of the loop I looked behind, and before I knew it I was catapulted from my bike.  After landing and skidding for what seemed like twenty minutes (though it was only like… five seconds), I got up to find that someone parked their car at the base of someone’s driveway, so their car’s butt was sticking out and that’s what I hit.  I had large scrapes over my body that were filled up with dirt, rocks, and other street nitty gritty, my clothes were torn, and I had an inability to ride my bike.  Even though I couldn’t ride, I hightailed it out of  there before the owner of the car could see the large dent I caused. (I limped away from the scene of the crime like I was on the Olympic limping team.  I definitely would have won the gold that day!)

Now, you might not be a bike rider, but anytime that you spend too much time looking behind yourself while you’re trying to move forward, you risk the danger of hurting yourself or someone else.  Your past is there as a learning tool to help shape your future.  But when you spend too much time looking back, that’s when you put yourself in “danger” by repeating the same mistakes over or by keeping yourself immobilized by not progressing.  I realized that every time I looked behind myself was the moment that I would hurt myself.

After a while I realized that my fear was that I was going to be left behind, or left out of something fun.  But that crash is what led me to being left out and being left behind.  I had to wait until I fully healed before heading back out on my bike, while my sisters were cruising on their ten speeds.

The same principle is true now.  If you spend too much time obsessing over your past, you’re going to miss out on opportunities that are happening right now.  Too busy thinking about that ex who cheated on you three years ago?  What about that cute tenderoni who’s showing  you interest now, or did you not notice?  Are you stressing about that old frenemey who did you bogus?  What about the person who’s showing you unconditional love and friendship now?  Still talking about that crazy boss you had?  Can you still talk about that old boss while putting in job applications, please?

I’m not saying to ignore your past, but instead of obsessing over it, learn from it.  Take a glance, not a step back, because honestly, there are things you can crash into everywhere!

Kendra Koger has been avoiding parked cars since 1992.  Follow her on twitter @kkoger.

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