Ending the curse of the “If Only’s”

In my determination to crack open the safe that holds my Real Self hostage, I keep noticing I still have beliefs about what could be different “if only…” This usually implies an argument with my current life because of something in the past: If only…I hadn’t been hit by that car, hadn’t broken my ankle and then proceeded to ignore it and push on for years. If only I’d lost that extra 20 pounds I’ve been carrying around for too long.

It’s often subtle, but at the root, it’s always there: a dissatisfaction with life as it is. A belief that there’s a Big Problem in the Universe. A problem that (usually) I created, through some shameful personal inadequacy. My resulting reaction runs the gamut from depression to a general malaise and discouragement. When I try to act, to get momentum for a change I truly want to make, there are these weights around the ankles. Why try, with my track record? Then I either give up or cut myself off from the Source of vitality. The last option is infinitely the most painful, but this can go by unnoticed.

Another “if only,” trap also robs me of life energy. It goes like this: I could do this, (or that or the other) If Only I had more time, more money, or some other limited resource, like energy. How do I react when I’m under this spell? Discouraged.  Stuck. The exact opposite of motivated. Lacking a vision or hope. The resulting lethargy blocks the creativity necessary for the change process.

One of the great things about being Of a Certain Age is the perspective it offers. I’ve long known that I don’t want to let the “if only” machine rule my life. I’ve done many things, taken many risks because I’ve been aware of its power and foug
ht the good fight against all the limitations it imposes. But, as it is with most universal truths, I now see in bold relief what I only glimpsed before. I had thought of the If Only of limited resources as something that could be understood intellectually, which would mean that I had it licked. It turns out this was just the first step.Uncomfortable Woman Holding Paper With If Only Text

As I’ve live longer, with the reality of life (and death) breathing down my neck, I simply don’t have time to get caught in the old self-sabotaging traps.  The freedom of each moment seems more and more delicious. And when I see myself limiting me, I want to bust free from the whole trance imposed by the belief. Immediately, if not sooner.

If only I could, chants the part of me who resists change.

But when I hear this, in the nanosecond that I catch it, I have a choice to disbelieve the Resister.  I can ask it  (sometimes known as the ego) to move over, to take a back seat. Something else is driving now. Something intent on living into each possibility. It’s kind and willing to share the vehicle, but not the steering wheel. Because the If Only’s are too small, too insecure for that job. There’s a certain aliveness, a vitality, an immensity of life force that knows the way. And it is this that I trust.