I try to live with little regret but when we are young, we make mistakes. I had a dream last night about a friend who I grew apart from. There was no shouting match or major falling out. Instead, I gradual receded from the relationship. I think my leaving was very much an attempt for me to be my own person and the only way I saw that happening, as an oblivious teenager, was separating. It was rather unconscious and something I couldn’t explain at the time. Reflecting, I know it was one of the most pivotal decisions of my life and it led to my life today.
But I do wonder often, “What if?”
What if I stayed friends with her? What kind of person would I have become? And what if I was still friends with her? What would that look like?
The thing with pivotal moments is they are a crossroads. When I ask those what if questions to myself, a million scenarios come to mind and my brain starts living in a million impossible scenarios.
There are two versions of “what if” thoughts. The retroactive what if where we look in the past and wonder how life would look if something else had happened instead.
Retroactive what if’s are impossible scenarios! They stalemate our brains because there is nothing we can do in order to change the situation to meet that scenario.
And then there is the proactive what if that is future looking.
Proactive what if’s are all about possibility.
What if I start a business on this passion of mine? What if I travel to Brazil for a month? What if I created art everyday?
The energy of proactive what if’s are different. There is an expansion to them. There is excitement and a brightness. We can actually do something about proactive what if’s – they are dreams we can take action on.
More often than we’d like to admit, we live in the past with many retroactive what if’s swirling through out brains. That is stifling. It keeps us in a kind of freeze mode without any resolution. Or it makes us live our life in a way that always feels like one step forward, five steps back.
When we come across a retroactive what if, it is an opportunity to release the hold that these thoughts have on us and to look ahead and see what is possible instead.
Are you wrangling with a retroactive what if thought right now? Think of it, close your eyes and locate it in your body. Wish it well and ask the thought to dissolve back into the universe. Tell me how that goes for you!
If you want to work on that what if scenario together, book a coaching session with me.
I write everyday because it allows me to voice what is at the surface. Once that is out of my head, I can dig in another layer deeper. My daily writing practice has been my greatest exploration of self and humanity. Sign up here to receive these thought nuggets in your inbox on the daily.