What to do When You Are Having a Rear-View-Mirror Day

“Even when we cannot describe what we want right now, we still value something… Everyone values something, and what is valued can be observed in what people do with their feet-where do they get up and go to?”

Patricia A. Bach PhD & Daniel J. Moran PhD*

I am in recovery from investing too much time looking in the rear-view-mirror. I am really good at the looking-backwards thing. But it always ends the same: I feel empty, drained, tired and I feel like I can’t change anything.  

I like the days when values feel good. Like anytime I am on vacation. Or at the beach. Or camping with friends. Or watching Star Wars or pretty much any superhero movie.

But what about days like today, when work feels like nothing is changing. Or when customers, or clients want you to “listen to” (aka… solve) their ever-growing list of complaints. Or when you feel so spent at the end of the day caring, cleaning, fixing up, making better… only to have tomorrow be more of the same…

What about “those days?

I hope that you can relate to this. I am in recovery from investing too much time looking in the rear-view-mirror. I am really good at the looking-backwards thing. But it always ends the same: I feel empty, drained, tired and I feel like I can’t change anything.  

But what I value is today, putting whatever is my ‘best’ into what I am doing – even when it is hard. I can’t change the past, but I can strive to improve, to care, to bring humor to what I do and wherever possible, be a little creative. I can learn something. And I can take a moment to connect with my family and with people around me.

Values are like a compass. We all need a direction to go. But values are not the outcome. You may invest yourself, you may care, you may try to be creative. And then life will hand you even more problems, stuff to do, chemical spills, losing a job, or one more messy diaper (hopefully not your own…). You and I may not feel happy, but we can feel alive and engaged – because we are doing what is important to us.

Today, I want to leave you with this: What are you doing that makes you feel alive?

• • •

For a related article, see “Making Peace with Our Tor_Mentors.” I invite you to sign up for my blog by clicking “Follow Getting High on Recovery.” When you enter your email, you will get free access to the blog. I do not send spam or share your email with anyone.

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Geek Therapy: Getting High with Geek Therapy

I am a Geek Therapist and I use popular culture and superheroes to help people. My specialties include addiction and mental health recovery, parent-teen relationships, emotions and communication skill-building, family counseling, trauma support and spirituality in counseling. If you would like to experiment with Geek Therapy and how it can benefit you, contact me at smswaby@icloud.com.

Keep it Real!

Quote by Patricia A. Bach PhD & Daniel J. Moran PhD – authors of “ACT in Practice.”

Photo by Blake Barlow on Unsplash


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