Life. Life is so full of promise. So much to do, to see, to experience. Life is thick with the uncertainties that we must face. We’ll forge ahead, we tell ourselves, until we succeed or die trying. Of course, we have not yet met our demise. We live to see another day. We endure, and all the while, we try. navigating the ifs in life
But wait. This really is life. So, as a consequence – nay, a requisite of life – we worry, we fret, we fuss, probably far more than we need to, but enough to keep our minds occupied with the inescapable ifs in life. We worry ourselves to the point of anxiety over the ifs that can keep us guessing. Sure, sometimes worrying is fine when it leads us to solutions and answers to those questions swirling around in our heads. But what about those times when the ifs are attached to negative consequences that we conjure up, leading to feelings of helplessness?
“If I go on this date, will he like me?”
“If I wait for the right job, will it ever come?”
“If only I had turned left…”
The ifs in life can also go hand-in-hand with what ifs.
“What if I can’t do the job?” navigating the ifs in life
“What if he doesn’t like me?”
“What if I don’t pass the exam?”
How do you navigate the ifs in your life . . . those unpredictable moments, giant question marks of uncertainty and feigned disasters?
Your ifs are steeped in your reliance or belief in potential future outcomes. But is that outcome really the doomsday scenario that you’ve imagined it to be? Those ruminations of hopelessness may be causing you needless concern and tragedy may not be as close as you think.
What can you do to tackle the worrisome ifs (and what ifs) in life? navigating the ifs in life
Acknowledge the anxiety and become acutely aware of it. Once you acknowledge your anxiety over the ifs and what ifs, you’ll be better able to rationalize your thoughts and actions surrounding them.
Embrace that uncertainty. I know; that’s easier said than done. But look at it this way: all of that worrying and fear is unproductive. Wouldn’t you rather be doing things that move you further along as opposed to becoming stagnant with anxiety? If it’s something out of your control, accept that you don’t have dominion over it and move on.
Talk it out. Sometimes, a listening ear is half the battle. When you can bounce your worries and trepidations off someone, that sounding board can be just the thing you need to get you past that big if.
Recognize that things may not be as bad as you think. Think back to the times you were apprehensive. Perhaps you projected those fears so vividly in your mind that you didn’t think any good could come out of it. Well? What happened? Was it as cataclysmic as you thought it would be? Probably not, at least not on the level you perceived.
Change the narrative. Instead of talking yourself into believing that nothing good will come from the ifs in life, turn that around in a positive way. “What if he doesn’t like me?” becomes “What if he falls in love with me?” “If I try, I’ll surely fail,” morphs into “If I try, I’ll be such a success at this!” Whatever you think will be bad could turn out to be a good thing.
Not all of life’s ifs are cause for concern. When we take steps to manage ourselves, we learn to deal with the anxiety associated by the ifs and what ifs. But it’s not all bad.
Always remember . . .