Drop The What Ifs

I alone cannot change the world. But I can cast a stone across the waters to create many ripples. Mother Teresa

Some of the most disappointing news I read recently was  that Glasgow University had cancelled a planned Positivity Week after depression sufferers caledl it patronising.


That news was depressing in itself – and baffled me.  Out of 52 weeks in a year, just one of them couldn’t be focussed on positivity?  It was never about saying belittlting mental health issues, but depression is a mood and attitude, as much as positivity is.  Ask Frankl.

This was a week aimed at helping others find a way perhaps to see things differently, to try things on for size, to perhaps see light at the end of the tunnel. One of the people concerned said that it had been organised by people who had never suffered mental illness.  What nonsense – I have been depresssed before, I’ve been very anxious too,and stressed.  In 2006, my annus horribilus, I wrote this poem because of my own experiences:


My daughter recently read it to her eight year olds, saying it was really a poem for adults, and one little boy responded by saying, “No, for kids too. Children are afraid of the dark and stuff. They shouldn’t be so afraid.” And I thought yes – we live in fear so much of the time, when we could just dare to live a different way – and I now know there is a different way of living – and I choose that consciously every day of my life

As I thought about the reaction to the Positivity Week, I thought there will always be those who just don’t get the message that life could be different, just as there will be those who don’t want to change because that story is the one they are comfortable with.  Like the author of The Antidote, they only focus on what they want to see about happiness, and conclude it’s a ridiculous notion that we could dare to be happier.

If all I thought about was these people, I might freeze, conclude I’m wasting my time.  But if they don’t listen, who will?  All of us can dare to be happier than we are right now.  None of us is so “sorted” that we can’t do with a reminder or help.  But what if it is just the misfits, those on the edge of society, the lost, the helpless, the hopeless, the Eeyores of this world, the hurting and the downright difficult who come? And what if it is? Have I not been all or any of these at some point in my life?

What if it is? What IF it’s what I say or do that inspires them to change, that encourages them, that gives them hope, that  helps them help themself, that allows them to heal, nurture and love themselves? What a privilege that will be.

And WHAT IF if I DON’T do it?  What if there are those waiting to hear this message and I don’t act? What if the world doesn’t change for those people, when I could have been part of their journey, helping them to dare to be happier?

As YOU think about your purpose, drop the “what ifs” and just DO IT. What if YOU don’t do it, and those who are waiting still feel helpless, hear no hope, see no light at the end of their tunnel, and don’t dare to be free?

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