If you are anything like us, you play the what-if game all the time
The what-if game is when you imagine all the different things that can happen. This would be fine except usually, the ‘what-ifs’ we consider are negative, sometimes even catastrophic, and cause us great distress. Imagining all the things that can go wrong is a meditation on what you don’t want to happen!
In the face of a storm, some people flee and others wait it out. How do we decide, or not decide, what to do in every situation? Playing the what-if game extends the agony of indecision.
What-ifs Look Like This
For a hurricane: What if the winds change and it’s not as bad as I thought?
For the relationship: What if I leave and the is no better person out there than the one here and I can’t get back?
For the hurricane: What if I stay and no one finds me?
For the relationship: What if I leave and I can’t find someone else?
What ifs Steal Our Resolve To Take Action.
Often, the result is doing nothing and then explaining our inaction with: well, I would have if
Well, I would have left if it was really that bad,
if I had enough money,
if my family or I got hurt,
if there was some sort of sign that now was the time,
if I knew what to do next.
And, I would have stayed
if it hadn’t gotten that bad,
if my family or I hadn’t gotten hurt,
if I knew how to fix it, if I knew what I know now.
Hindsight being 20/20 and all, it’s easy to fall into the trap of inaction. Coupled with a lack of distinction between deciding and choosing – it’s no wonder why we often stay put!
According to Meriam-Webster, choice is “an act of choosing one thing over another after consideration, to select freely.” It’s not a decision. De- as a prefix means “do the opposite of, remove someone or something from something, reverse, reduce.” As in deactivate, denounce, devise, defame, deform, devalue, dethrone, and decompose. -Cide comes from the Latin and means “to kill.” There’s pesticide (to kill pests), homicide (to kill a man), suicide (to kill oneself), fungicide (to kill fungus), herbicide, insecticide, genocide…. and decide.
Decide Literally Means To Kill Off Possibility.
Is it true that once we decide, that’s it… there’s no going back? Choosing isn’t really so rigid in meaning or action. In fact, we make hundreds of thousands of choices every day … hit the snooze button or get up, coffee or tea, orange juice or cranberry, sit or stand, drive or walk, another cup or not, pack lunch or eat out, this way or that way, shower or bath, umbrella or hood, get gas now or wait till later … we choose and we move on. And we expertly handle whatever comes up due to our choices in a way that moves us forward.
And we learn. I’ve learned that another cup of coffee at 3pm is not gonna work if I want to go to bed at 10pm! We make it easy and we don’t beat ourselves up over the fact that we chose to go out for lunch instead of packing one for the day. It’s not a big deal fraught with the connotation of deciding. Try it! Next time a decision looms for you, reframe it as a choice where you choose one thing over another after consideration and select freely.
Reach Out Recovery Exclusive by Elizabeth Viszt
If you need help with mental health, relationships or addiction, click on the image below to find professional resources in your area.