What if…? That is a question most of us asked ourselves. It is also a question we know might not be the best one as it holds ourselves in the past and inhibits progress. But maybe we are using the question in a wrong way?
How do we use the question “what if” now? We might ask ourselves what if I had spent more time with my girlfriend/boyfriend? What if I had put more time into my studies? What if I hadn’t drunk so much the evening before? What if, what if what if? This way of questioning leads us to regret. Especially, if we ask the same question over and over.
It is a wonderful example how our brain works, when it comes to comparison. We set ourselves up for failure and for misery. We take the reality (often a bad outcome) and ask ourselves what if I had done it differently? We therefore create an artificial reality which is better than the one we are living in right now.
There is a nice little story:
Two salesmen were sent to the desert to sell shoes. One comes back and says: “The situation is hopeless, nobody wears shoes.” The other person comes back and says: “Wonderful opportunities, nobody wears shoes yet.”
This is how we can make ourselves feel miserable or happy. We have the power to create our own reality. Moment to moment. So how can we use the question “what if” for the better?
Why not look back on our successes? The times we did something good? The times we have been brave? And then ask ourselves: What if I didn’t raise my hand? Would I still be in the same position? What if I didn’t put in all that I’ve got this one time? What if I didn’t approach this girl? Would I still be married to the most beautiful woman in the world?
This turns “what if” into a positive question. It can make you humble and appreciate yourself and the reality you are living in. It might also be a good start to ask better what if questions in the future. Not comparing our current situation with a better one but thinking about the worst possible outcome.
Ask yourself “what if”. But ask it in a smart way. =)
Love and hugs, Stephan
PS: I updated the entry on loving kindness (Metta) meditation and included my own guided meditations there. Have a look =)