Life is filled with what ifs: they’re not quite regrets, more like hypothetical scenarios that play out in our minds, never actually reaching a conclusion and thereby causing our anxiety levels to go through the roof…so arguably worse than regrets! Each and every one of us could waste entire days on end contemplating the what ifs and how our lives would’ve panned out if we’d opted for a different route to the one that we ended up going with.
What if I’d taken that job? What if things had worked out between us? What if I’d just kept my mouth shut? What if I’d never found out? What if I’d gone against the grain? What if I’d just stuck it out? Of course your life would be a hell of a lot different right now. Maybe things would’ve been better for you, maybe you would’ve even been happier or maybe you would’ve been absolutely miserable, maybe you would’ve regretted your decision later on any way; maybe, maybe, maybe! It’s human nature to assume that the grass is always greener on the other side, but maybe, just maybe it’s not. Maybe things have actually worked out in your favour but you just can’t see it yet…
Ok enough with the maybes! It’s absolutely fine to play out the what if scenarios in your head every now and then but remember that curiosity killed the cat! Once your five minutes of daydreaming are up it’s time to snap back to reality. Sometimes things happen for a reason, so rather than over analysing the past and working yourself up into a frenzy, focus your attention on the present: watch The Lion King!
No really, I’m being deadly serious. It may seem like a run-of-the-mill Disney film on the surface but it’s filled with golden nuggets of wisdom when it comes to conquering the what ifs. For example, when Rafiki is educating Simba on moving forward in life and not dwelling on the past he tells him, ‘it doesn’t matter, it’s in the past’ before banging him on the head with a giant stick. The lovable meerkat that is Timon also imparts some words of wisdom when he rightfully says ‘you gotta put your past behind you…bad things happen and you can’t do anything about it’, see it truly is one of the best and most relevant movies of all time :).
To put it simply there’s no crime against reflecting on your past but try to learn from it too, don’t let it haunt you or consume you. And don’t make the rookie mistake of looking back with your rose-tinted specs on either, try to remember circumstances for what they truly were at the time, flaws and all. And if possible programme your brain to think ‘oh well’ rather than ‘what if’.
What’s done is done my friend. And truth be told unless you know someone who’s on the brink of inventing a time machine, you’ll never have a definitive answer for any of your what ifs any way, so put them in a figurative box, lock it up and stick it under your figurative bed because they’re out of your control. Live for now instead, hakuna matata 🙂