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Embracing the Rear View Mirror...

As i consider the best first connection with you, I start with what has propelled me forward...I must look back to look forward...not hang out in the past, but know that the past has contributed to my present and my future is impacted by the past...

In looking in the rearview mirror of life, I see you and I see me. I see the unique me with shades of you. The old days of "me", "myself", and "I" are in stark contrast to the now, "we", "our", and "us". To enjoy life fully, reaching fullest potential without living deeply rooted with morals and values, guiding principles, is near impossible. Breaking the demonstrative attitude of total self-serving, self-sufficiency, and self-absorption is rewarding and empowering. Environmental, entertainment, and social media noise constantly portrays our development to be strong women, women who can do it all, dare I suggest, Superwomen as the end all, be all. The ever-present messaging and definition of woman hinging on external successes and achievements that often leaves us feeling empty and void. Typically, with or without accountability, with or without compassion, and even losing our authenticity and identity along the way.

Having the “S” on the chest has become the new mantra and representation of womanhood. The miseducation and misconception has haunted me. Self-empowerment at the expense of isolation and self-centeredness breaks us, broke me. My ever present reminder is a tattoo I got years ago. A black heart (representing heartlessness and no emotions or feelings for others) with flames! I wanted to wear my pride of being "all about me" as a badge of honor. Left me unhealthy and deprived of receiving, exhibiting, or expressing love. I find humor in it now as my life is centered totally on building bridges and filling the gaps. The relational inference and influence of others, a courtyard of cheerleaders that celebrate our victories and accomplishments as well as uplifting and encouraging during seasons and situations of insecurity, brokenness and failure was designed by the great architect. We were made to need each other

Learning the value of understanding who I am created to be yet understanding the importance of a reflective heart, shifted life: created clearer vision to journey together, sharpen one another, to instill and build -- my reminders to check my rearview mirror often. Have you looked in your rearview mirror? My journey is not just about me and yours is not just about you.

I’ve learned to be rooted in these core values:

Compassion is the demonstration of empathy and care for one another in particular, those who are experiencing an unmet need that I (we) have the opportunity to effect or affect.

Authenticity in knowing who I am has taught and shaped me to celebrate my strengths and accept my faults; reminder to always be genuine in how I present myself and how I define me.

Accountability affirms my need, our need, to allow others to speak into our lives, to regard those who are our cheerleaders to infuse us with wisdom and insight; to experience trust as a safeguard in development and growth.

Relationship is foundational to understanding who I am when I consider who others, how I interact with them, and the nature of how we relate.

These core values form the acronym CAAR (or car). For me that really drives (LOL!) my life. Moving through life, core values become are the means through which I move and breath. Core values contribute to the woman I am and who I am becoming, and defining yours will do the same for you. Ignoring the emotional, psychological, spiritual, and mental health benefits attributable to establishing core values and espousing them daily can be detrimental. It’s work, clearly! It’s exercising a frame of mind that takes practice and persistence. It would all be a misstatement if I didn’t acknowledge the sacrifice associated with establishing core values. A willing spirit and determination must accompany the conviction of establishing principles for life. Don’t expect to get it right immediately; don’t expect to soar and fly. I take pride in the war marks and reminders from various stages of learning – some are mental, emotional, and spiritual; others are physical and relational. I fell and failed. Still do! I have to recommit daily, dust myself off – sometimes literally -- and get back up again, realizing I needed to stand for something or keep falling over nothing.

What I can affirm for you is that it is possible, we are stronger than we think when we rely on more than ourselves. Anything worth having requires our tenacious focus, energy and commitment. Some days are better than others. Truth be told, many days I didn’t get it right, and still don’t. Distracted by goals and aspirations assigned to us by others and desiring to live up to others expectations derails the path many times. That's when the rearview mirror is beneficial Reflecting on the losses and misses, including friendships, failed relationships, delayed achievements, financial setbacks, and broken spirt are visible when I look in my rear view mirror. It may be dark, discouraging, and clouded with shame to look back. It's behind me, it's behind you, it's behind us!...And know, confidently, there is redemption, reconciliation, restoration, and forgiveness too!

All around me, I hear “I” and “me” that is applauded, celebrated, and praised. Been there!. Still working away from there! Looking in the rearview mirror, the life lessons learned are prominent. Equipped to combat what may be the “norm” now means becoming an anomaly, changing the tide, riding a new wave, carving a new path, breaking free, defining a new road towards enjoying life fully. Being good, wait, being great at not accepting the status quo, ready to embark on roads untraveled and territory unchartered is the new sense of freedom I see me and I see you in the rearview mirror as challenges and change is encountered, attempting to steady ourselves on the principles and values that define us while discovering and creating our unique identity, for that is me and that is you…let’s journey together towards enjoying life fully. Take some time to reflect on your current view and your rear view. Memory lane can be the expressway to success when our past reality intersects with our present to impact our purposed future...

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