Tuesday, 22 November 2011

The land of ifs

I read an interesting article this week about using the "if" word. I thought I'd share it with you because we hear so much of the " if only my dog had not done ...." " if only I hadn't done xyz ..." Here are five tips to help you move through the Land of “If Only” to the Land of Today! 1. Use your broken dreams, disappointments and “what ifs” as stepping stones towards a better future. If you regard what you learned as lessons to pave a better foundation moving forward, you can see any setbacks from the past as laying the necessary stability for a better tomorrow. Make the most out of today rather than reworking yesterday! 2. Those who are stuck in the “woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” often have a hard time forgiving themselves for not knowing better or not doing any better, which seems so obvious in hindsight. Self-forgiveness is vital for moving ahead in life rather than spending time living with a constant pull from the past. Forgive yourself for not knowing everything when you were five! 3. Remind yourself that you do not know what would have happened if you chose the other path – it could have been worse! By thinking of how things could have been worse, we can put things into perspective. All too often, we think how things could have been better rather than focus on what could have been worse! And believe me, they could have! 4. Refuse to play the “Blame Game.” Often people stay stuck in “what ifs” because they can not let themselves “off the hook.” They see even their present difficulties such as misbehaved children or being suddenly unemployed as further evidence that they are to blame for all their misfortunes! They think “If only I had……then this would not have happened.” As the bestselling book “When Bad Things Happen to Good People” by Harold Kushner emphasizes, the world is not always fair and sometimes really good people get real bad breaks just because life is not often fair, not because you deserve it. 5. Realize that to be steeped in “if onlys” is to be stuck with unproductive regret. Regrets can be productive if you learn and grow from them. Differentiate between productive and unproductive regret. Unproductive regret keeps you focused on how the past would have been better, and productive regret helps you make better decisions and choices now as you immerse yourself in the present and look towards the future.

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