Two words that keep popping into my head. How often do we say this to ourselves? “If only it didn’t rain, it would have been a good day” or “If only I had my camera, it would have been perfect” or “If only he or she did this, they would have been perfect” or “If only…then that moment would have been perfect.”
The use of those two words remind me how we live for perfection and it steals us of appreciating the present moments. I’ve become heightened to how and when I use these two words in the last few months as so many events out of my control occurred and I caught myself learning about the negative effects of hindsight.
These two words have taught me the following;
No one and nothing is perfect. There are flaws in everything and therein lies the magic. Without the downs, we’d probably take the ups for granted.
Hindsight can either destroy or teach. If we look at our past and have regrets and constantly ask ourselves why things happened a certain way that we didn’t want, it will destroy our present and future. We’ll be dwelling on what is no longer in our control and will be wasting any chance we have to learn from it. If we can look back and understand the lesson, there won’t be any “If only.”
Appreciate, have gratitude, be present. I caught myself recently in what others may have considered a perfect moment and I was busy thinking about the weather and how “If only it were slightly warmer.” I’m not even joking. Here I was, supposed to be enjoying this moment and I was focused on something as silly as a little breeze. To set the scene, imagine you’re in good company, on holiday and it’s a warm, sunny day with no clouds in sight…and a slight breeze. Am I focused on the good company? Nope. I’m barely even listening to the jokes. Am I focused on the warm sun? Nope, I’m not even feeling the sunburn. What am I focused on? A slight breeze that I’m getting worked up about. Slight. Breeze. versus. Stunning. Moment. Who do you think won?
Get my point?
These two words have also helped me get a grip with how I use social media. Ever catch yourself thinking, “If only I had that kind of relationship”, “those kinds of family or friends”, “lived in that place”, “had that kind of home”. If only. At what point do we stop and assess our own lives?
When do we say, “Oh wait, I do have good relationships (maybe not all, maybe not even many, but there’s one good relationship somewhere in my life). I do have a home. Sure, it’s not big or massive or whatever, but it’s what I have.”
See how two words, two teeny tiny words can mess up our thought process? How two words can derail our focus or affect our emotions?
Maybe this week, take note of how often those two words enter your space, even if they come in a hidden form, undetected. Look for them sneaking in to your thought process trying to discourage you from enjoying some moment. Then. Squash them.