Losing The What Ifs

When we are mindful of what we are doing, we learn to keep our appointment with life. This awareness of the present moment gives us the opportunity and the tools to touch peace and joy. Thich Nhat Hanh

Have you ever been really lucky? Not in the sense of winning something good, but in avoiding something really awful? I have. A number of times. Including the time my mum & dad left us in the car to secretly pick up our Christmas presents. Someone then – seeing small children in the car – quietly reversed a petrol tanker with a massive bomb in it up to the car and just walked away. Someone was suspicious, the town was evacuated (we ran from the car with the police) and the bomb was defused. Such were the “Troubles” in Northern Ireland.

I’ve several stories like that. Stories where you think “What If?” I was reminded of them this week when I read an article on a woman who escaped the Cruise Ship disaster earlier this year – and realised its all about how you tell your story. The lady concerned found she was paralysed by “what ifs”.

She was anxious and kept thinking about how she almost died and all that could have happened. But that’s only half the story – because the other half is to remember that it didn’t happen, and be grateful for such mercies. Living your life full of worries about what ifs that never happened is such a waste of your life, and will destroy your happiness. So if you catch yourself thinking like this, turn your story around by being grateful for the mercy of what didn’t happen. Think “that could have happened, and I’m so lucky it didn’t,” and let go of the what ifs so you can enjoy your all too brief present.

What if you lived your life like that instead?x

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