Front seat drivin’
Are you in the driver’s seat in your life?
Sometimes we think we’re steering the wheel, but find that we’ve allowed a part of ourself– that “backseat driver” part — to take over. Yes, you know the annoying backseat driver who thinks they know what’s best, where we’re going, and the best way to get there. But that backseat driver often has blind spots and isn’t really at the wheel with a clear vision. When we slip into driving from the backseat we live in moods of resignation and resentment- burned out, fed up, feeling powerless. When this happens, we stay stuck in the backseat until we put ourself back into the driver’s seat.
How do we know when we’re in the backseat? A backseat driver is the part of ourself that is not in control because we are focusing too much energy on trying to control or manage things which are outside of our realm of control. When we’re doing this, we can’t steer our lives effectively and we take many detours in the wrong direction. It keeps us in the dark, feeling powerless and from accessing the energy and the awareness of driving from the driver’s seat.
How to tell if you’re in the back seat?
a. You feel out of control
b. You blame others and feel like a victim
c. You stay stuck in the past or are ruminating about the future
c. You aren’t getting things done in your life to take care of your needs. Bingo!
d. You are allowing others’ thoughts and opinions to dictate your actions and choices
e. You are burned out, overwhelmed, resigned and resentful
f. Return to a. and repeat. Yuck!
How to get into the driver’s seat?
a. Recognize that you’re in the backseat (yes, self-awareness and radical acceptance)
b. Step into self-responsibility and put on your big boy/big girl pants. Breathe deeply. Practice your Wonder Woman/ Super Man pose. Ultimately we are responsible for ourself. No one is going to do it for us, but the part of our self who is in the driver’s seat.
c. Remember who you are. Access your power in knowing yourself and choosing to be in your center of who you are. Trust who you are, love yourself.
d. Remember that you have choice. (yes, we sometimes forget this) Access your power through the awareness that you can make choices. Yes, even if they are hard, we still have choice.
c. Choose to let go of things which are outside your realm of control (i.e. almost anything but you – the past, others’ opinions, others’ behaviors, etc.)
e. Trust yourself to begin to disappoint others if it means taking care of yourself. Vice versa – trust others to take care of themselves. While it’s wonderful to love and assist others in their journey, it’s not our job, nor can we do it for others.
f. Accessing action in taking care of our thoughts, emotions, attitude, and intentions.
g. Take the actions that you can, want and need to be taking in your life. This is the kicker… simply put, sometimes it can be easier to complain about your boss than go to pick your self up and work on your six month nagging desire to lose weight by going to the gym. Ouch!
h. Take care of yourself (because let’s face it, sometimes the reality of not being in control sucks). Talk to friends, journal, go to therapy, eat healthy, get some rest….
Now this is a place where you can really go somewhere. While navigating from the driver’s seat can be hard work, ultimately it allows for freedom, lightness, confidence and an ease with which you can begin to access joy, playfulness and real empowerment in your life.
If you are in the backseat at present, I invite you to slip into the driver’s seat and go for a spin today. Where might it take you? Where are you wanting to go?