What If’s are one of the cruelest parts of divorce, heck, maybe just one of the cruelest parts of living in general. I say this because I have spent many months paging through the What If’s in my memory bank of my relationship with my STBX (soon-to-be-ex) husband. I think it’s natural that we do this especially when we are going through a divorce. However, I don’t think What If’s are confined to the divorcing population. I think What If’s are the nightmare of everyone when we let the What If’s spoil our present peace.
What If’s make us second guess ourselves. They take the confidence out of everyday living and decision making and can stymie us into numbness, procrastination and lethargy. We can get so entangled in the What If’s mentality that we can’t make a decision or we don’t make a decision because we are too wrapped up in seeing the big picture. We worry that if we make choice A, then outcome B will happen, but What If, we make choice C and then outcome D will happen, will we be happier?
What If’s allow for possibilities which is great! But when we overdose on What If’s, it takes away our peace and our presence. In striving to be everything to everyone all at the same time, we fail by consuming the What If’s mentality.
Then there’s the dreaded What If’s from the past that many times we concentrate on during a divorce. Well, we say to ourselves, What If I had said this when he did that, or What If he had said this when I did that or What If I had been thinner or he had been more attentive or if we had gone away together more or (insert your own What Ifs). You get the picture don’t you?
It’s not living when we live too much in the What If’s world. It stunts our growth potential. It damns us before we can even begin to live. Have you felt that way? Have you been so caught up in the What If mentality that you let the day slip by or you have been up all night in search of the eternal answer to your repetitive quest to What If?
What If’s are beneficial when we use them properly to learn from our mistakes and to think before we act. To look on our path spherically and linearly. My definition is such: spherically means we look at the whole picture, we choose with the big picture in mind of how decisions we make affect ourselves, our environment, and our loved ones. Linearly we see the path before us and we step forward. We do what is right for ourselves and pay little attention to any waves of turbulence that might incur while we are moving forward. We have a goal, we focus and we achieve it. There’s a happy medium to be found between the spherical and linear thinking. I think it’s beneficial to do both – like the perfect recipe – a little bit of this, a little bit of that, but in perfect proportion and voila – life’s successful and peaceful!
Use your What If’s wisely. Make sure you push the stop button when the What If’s repeat on a loop. There is no benefit to your beating yourself up over and over for what you deem as failure. There are no gold stars for figuring out how you could have done it right. However, you can look at past failures with forgiveness for you and for the others involved. Yes, you can use What If’s to own up to your past mistakes and learn from them in order to choose differently next time. You can imagine What If’s all day and night, but it won’t change the past, unless you learn from them. Use your What If’s as a beacon for a happy, well-centered, peaceful life and for heaven’s sake, keep moving. Don’t stunt your growth, instead open up to your growth to heal and to succeed.
What are the What If’s running in your head?
How do you stop that train of thought when it skips stations?