Have you ever had the thought of “If I (fill in the blank), then (fillin in the blank)” or “once I…, then I’ll…”
-If I move to another city, then I’ll be happy.
-Once I get this together, then I’ll be able to do this.
-Once I turn 50, then I’ll buy myself that car.
-Once I have enough experience then I can start that new project.
-If I ever win the lottery, then I’ll buy my dream home.
-Once I start therapy/coaching/medication, I’ll feel better.
Do any of these sound familiar? What are some other ones that you may find yourself thinking?
The danger is this thinking is that it takes you out of the here and now. It also pushes back what you may deeply want. It can down play your strengths. It keeps you safe. It doesn’t challenge you right now. Are these reasons enough?
Let’s use the first example, “If I move to another city, then I’ll be happy.” Sure this could make a difference. Maybe you broke up with your long term partner and have lots of memories in the city and want to get away form it all. Perhaps. Or you live in a rainy area and think having more sun would benefit your mood. Perhaps. These could be true. Yet, right here, right now, you live right here and you are unhappy. You may not move for several months or years even, does that mean you’ll just be unhappy until you move. Yikes, that doesn’t sound so good.
My suggestion for this is to come back to what is in your control. What can you change right now or in the near future. Also what do you really want. Is there a way to change that.
I’ll give a personal example. I love light and windows. My current abode has light coming in, although I would love to have a wall of windows. That is not probable in the near future- it would cost probably several thousand dollars to replace and put in a wall of windows. I am not planning to move in the foreseeable future to another home with bigger windows. If I had the thinking that I would not be fully happy until I have an abode with larger and ample windows then I would be a sad duck for quite a while. On the other hand, what is in my control. I could get outside more and be in the direct sun or at least cloudy sky (I lived in the North West). I could build or install a greenhouse or sun porch. I could buy a door that has a window. I could start to save money for constructing a wall full of windows. If I can shift from what is out of my control- the future- to what I can change, I then have agency and power in my own life.
Try it out. Notice where you have this thinking. What is it keeping you from? What do you really want? What is in your control? How is the thought keeping your focus on what is out of your control?
Photo compliments of freedigitalphotos.net. Photo by Sira Anamwon.