Are you “the worlds best backwards driver”?

45209180001One of my favorite films is Disney’s Cars. Mater is tow-truck character in the film and self proclaimed “world’s best backwards driver”. Though I love Mater, and that is a lofty goal to shoot for as an automobile, it’s not a great way for humans to live life. How much time have you spent driving backwards, making sure you get away from what you don’t want? The more we focus on what we don’t want the less attention gets paid to what’s important to us. Additionally, what we do want is not always directly opposite of what we don’t want.

Building a meaningful, purposeful life means facing your life, the good, bad, and ugly, with compassion and openness. One way we can try to be more like Mater is to cherish and accept our imperfections. Dents, scratches, and rust come with experience, adventures, and time. Rather than try to pick and choose the parts we want to delete, cherish the meaning behind those experiences and focus and act on what you want and value. That pursuit will bring meaning and purpose. As you live your valued life you will realize that joy, happiness, and peace are all coins with another side to them. Pain, sorrow, and worry are part of a package deal. You can’t know sweet without bitter. I want you to have it all! After all it is your life. They are your emotions, thoughts, ideas, urges; all yours. Why not have them? If you have them, then they don’t have you. You are not a clunker that needs cleaning or fixing. You are a whole person. You are not broken.

Have you struggled with your emotions? Are you ready to drop the struggle? Having anger or depression or anxiety or stress does not mean you are broken. You don’t need to be fixed.

Are you stuck in the trap that says you need to change your thoughts and emotions before you can live your life?

What if there is a way to release the hold these thoughts and feelings have on you? I am not talking about teaching you ‘more, different, or better’ ways to manage or get rid of symptoms. You’ve lost enough of your time, effort, resources…LIFE trying to manage and suppress thoughts and feelings. You can build a life of meaning and purpose and value even with your painful or tough thoughts and emotions.

By realizing that thoughts and emotions are just part of you and they don’t define or control you, you free yourself up to act on your life and values. So go out and begin living the life you want to live. Don’t drive through life using rear-view mirrors. Update your education, start exercising (again), volunteer at your kids’ school or for a youth sports league, spend more time with family or friends, read that book you have been eyeing. Turn your life toward what you want to be and do. Take those uncomfortable thoughts and feelings along for the ride. Welcome them along on your new journey.

Chris Clark

Wellness Associates

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