Whenever I think of “what ifs”, my mind automatically thinks back to the film ‘Sliding Doors’. Gwyneth Paltrow plays a role that sees her character live in two parallel universes – one where she misses the train, the other where she doesn’t. In both universes, the events that follow are quite different to each other. This leaves the viewers to ask themselves, “What if I had done something differently? Would my life be different?” Although it is normal to question how your life has turned out, sometimes focusing too much on the “what ifs” can do more harm than good.
It’s normal to wonder
All of us wonder about the choices we’ve made, the people we’ve said goodbye to, our decision to live here or there, the career path we’re on. Life isn’t easy, sometimes it’s downright hard. And sometimes we just don’t have the right answers. But all of us have felt this sort of confusion at one stage or another.
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For example, we might wonder…
- “What if I had worked harder? Would I have a better job now?”
- “What if I’m meant to be on a different career path?”
- “What if moving cities was a mistake?”
- “What if I had tried harder with my previous relationship? Would I still be with that person?”
It’s normal to question whether you could be happier than you are right now, especially when the present doesn’t look too promising.
Taking responsibility and accepting reality
But as easy as it is to question how your life has unfolded, you also need to take responsibility for how your life has turned out.
Sometimes life doesn’t happen the way you want it to – you lose the person you thought you’d love forever, your career dreams are shattered, you had a set plan for your life but it just didn’t work out.
But you need to accept reality for what it is.
Not letting the “what ifs” rule your life
We will always wonder whether we’ve made the right choices. We will always question whether we’ve ‘done the right thing’.
But wishing for something does not make it true. We can’t torture ourselves with the past, we must move onto the future.
Maybe your life happened the way it was meant to.
- Maybe if you’d worked harder, you could have had a better job. But who says you’d be happier?
- Maybe you are meant to be on a different career path. But what’s stopping you from doing something about it now?
- Maybe moving cities wasn’t the best decision at the time. But who says you won’t find a job? Who says you won’t make friends? Who says you won’t learn to adapt?
- Maybe if you’d tried harder, your previous relationship could have worked out. But who knows for how long?
Rather than assuming that different choices would have made you happier, be appreciative of the happiness that you have right now.
Have faith in your ability to make the right decisions. Have faith that you are making the right choices in life.
Don’t let the past control you. Learn to control the future.
Instead of constantly asking, “What if?”, take responsibility and ask, “What can I do about my life right now?”