On the highway of life everyone gets to drive their own bus. we get to decide how fast to go, and which direction to go. The problem is, the bus comes with a bunch of passengers… and they are ALL BACKSEAT DRIVERS!!!!
This Bus Metaphor comes from Acceptance and Commitment Therapy – a therapy developed by Steven C. Hayes. The Bus is a metaphor for our internal experience (or mind). We are the drivers and it is our bus – we generally we have a plan – a schedule for where we are going to go and how fast we’ll get there, usually with the idea to move towards the things that matter to us.
Unfortunately, part of being human means that we also have thoughts, feelings, urges, beliefs and impulses that get in the way of us moving towards what we want. These are our passengers.
Some of the most common passengers are Mr. Not Good Enough, Ms. Impatient, I Can’t Do It, I’ll do it later Jr. and so on.
We all have passengers, and they, themselves, are not a problem. The problem comes when they get louder and louder – and start telling us what to do…and we listen!
Mr. Not Good enough and I Can’t Do It, Jr. are both yelling:”As if you can really get where you want to go. You are going to fail!”
It can be very distressing to just sit with these kinds of thoughts. Soon you start to make deals with these passengers – “Look if you guys just be quiet and go sit at the back of the bus, I’ll go where you tell me to, ok?”
Soon your impulses, thoughts, and emotions are driving the bus. All of a sudden your not going in the direction you want or at the speed you want, or even the route that you want and you feel powerless! Controlled by your thoughts, feelings, and emotions.
The bus metaphor asks you to consider – what is my valued direction and can I sit with all of my passengers and STILL DRIVE MY BUS WHERE I WANT TO AND THE WAY I WANT TO! After all, the worst that can happen is that those passengers are really loud and intimidating AND we still drive our bus where WE want to go ANYWAY.
So this leaves us with a few questions:
What is the valued direction you want to go in. What is the road you want to travel to get there. How fast do you want to go? This is, not surprisingly, a critical element. Not sure?? Try Dream lining & Smart Goals!
2) Identify your passengers
What are the thoughts and feelings that are passengers on your bus? Take some time to identify them. Write them down, they often have less power when we can clearly identify them. It is a good first step.
The Bus metaphor asks you to consider that no matter what, the passengers are just passengers and they can never be more that that. In the end, you are the bus driver – always have been, always will be.
This means that we always have a CHOICE to listen to the passengers or stay on track and going towards what really matters to us.
When we are centred and listening to Strong and Healthy Self – we get to be the driver of our own bus.
From the Strong and healthy self frame, take a moment to consider how you might deal with those passengers when they get louder and try and convince you that they know better. Show yourself some compassion – and drive your own bus!
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