Imagine that you are driving a bus. Now imagine that your thoughts, emotions and memories are the passengers on the bus. Some passengers are fun to have on your bus. Others may be mean, nasty and annoying. But what if you could drive where you want to go even if they’re still along for the ride? What if you can still be as happy as you want to be? It’s natural to fight against our negative feelings. No wants to feel unhappy. Doubt and self-criticism are not fun. But there is another way. You can keep going where you want to go in life, even if those thoughts are along for the ride. This activity will help you reduce the power these negative feelings have over you. Even if they join you on your journey.
Close your eyes. Imagine that you are driving a bus. This is your bus. Picture yourself driving around to all the places you’ve been in your life.
See yourself at your childhood home...then driving to school....and then maybe to the places where you spent your summers. As you’re driving along, you see passengers on the side of the road who want to get on. These are the memories you have from these times of your life. They may be emotions, feelings, or thoughts. You pull over to the side of the road and pick them up. As you keep driving through your life, you stop at each location and add more passengers.
These passengers on your bus, these memories, thoughts and feelings you’ve gathered along the way, are accompanying you on your journey as you get older. Now see yourself pulling up to where you live now.
Look back at the passengers in your bus. Some of them are nice- see them smiling and waving at you. Other passengers are not so nice. One of them starts yelling at you, saying you’re a bad driver. Start driving again, going on the same familiar roads you always take. You see a new path you could follow, and turn on your blinker to try out a new route. One of the passengers hisses at you and tells you to stay on the roads you always take. “You’ll never succeed trying something different,” he says. Hear the passengers yelling and pointing at you, making fun of you, being so loud you can’t even concentrate.
Picture yourself wanting so desperately to kick them off the bus. See yourself pulling over to the side of the road trying to push them out the door. You see them circle back and climb in the back door while you push them out the front. You have to physically struggle to get some of them down the steps. It hurts to fight them.
Instead of fighting them, picture yourself sitting back down in the drivers seat. See yourself turning around and saying to them “Thank you everyone for your feedback, but this is my bus. I’m going to drive it where I want to go. I can take this bus wherever I want to take this bus. You are along for the ride. I am driving this bus, it’s my choice where I want it to go, you can stay or get off.”
Whatever the passengers may be doing, you are in charge. So now let’s focus on where you’re taking the bus. Is there a place you’ve always wanted to go but never felt you could? This place could be an actual place, or an accomplishment, or trying something you’ve always wanted to try.
Now, what if there was a different way?
Picture this destination. What does it look like? What does it feel like to be there? What will you do once you’re there?
Now see yourself driving, and as you drive along your route, you see a sign that directs you to this new destination. You make the turn to head toward that place. Enjoy the feeling of excitement as you set off in that new direction. As you travel on an unfamiliar road, what do you feel? Do the passengers start to get louder and more critical? Picture yourself reminding them that they can say whatever they want, but it is not up to them. It’s your bus and you’ll drive it wherever you want.
As you continue on your new journey, passengers may get off the bus of their own accord. Or they may stay on with you the whole way. That’s fine. As the driver, your job is to get the bus to its destination.
See yourself arrive at the place you’ve always wanted to be. Enjoy what it feels like to finally be there. You are a good bus driver. No one can take your bus away from you. Whatever annoying passengers you’ve picked up throughout your life, that is all they are. Passengers in the back of the bus. You are in the front, and where you go next is entirely up to you.
[Source: My Strength]