This I believe, in order to see the world, you must open your eyes, and see only through your eyes. Seeing is half viewing situations the way they truly are, and half seeing them in a way that only applies to you. You learn through your experiences. You cannot learn without trusting yourself. Trust your eyes, and no one else’s.
When I first learned to drive, my mom told me that the rearview mirror was only for putting on make-up. At first, her comment struck me as odd. I looked over to her with a bewildered look on my face when she told me the meaning behind her statement.: “Never trust your rearview mirror when backing up,” she said. “Always turn around and check yourself or you’ll miss something.”
I came to a point in my life when remembering her wisdom became much harder for me. I was seventeen, and nothing in my world was worth trusting, especially myself. My life seemed to have become a series of twists and deadly turns. An endless labyrinth of voices pushing and pulling me everywhere but the place I wanted to go. Only, I had become lost for so long that I had forgotten where that place was. Everyone I knew had their opinions on what my depression meant, and everyone I knew had to scream at each other because their view was the only one that counted. I stood in the middle, trying to figure out what I needed according to what everyone else said. This was a mistake.
It was the afternoon when I left the hospital, as the rays of the summer sun warmed my face, and I finally realized where I wanted to go. I wanted to go forward. The ocean of opinions had nothing to do with who I was. I was my own person, not an extension of anyone else. In that moment, I remembered to turn around and look. I finally started to see the world the way it was for me. I learned through my experience.
As my thinking became clearer, I looked back and marveled at my own strength. I had been looking in the mirror so long, trusting others’ ideas, that I had forgotten to turn around and see what was happening through my own eyes. Seeing the world from my point of view was something that eventually saved me. Your world, your eyes. That one simple driving tip taught me to believe in myself for the rest of my life. During hard times, I always remember to take a small breath, to put myself back into the driver’s seat, and to turn around.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.