‘What’ and ‘if’ are two words as non-threatening as words can be, but put them together side by side and they have the power to haunt you for the rest of your life.
I just watched one of Carrie Hope Fletcher’s latest videos discussing how an event in her life has shaped her and changed her and it left me with a huge sense of overwhelming emotions and an assortment of thoughts so here I am, in my rawest, most real state, putting those thoughts into words on paper.
I have always been a naturally nostalgic, questioning and over-thinking person and in this respect it is no different. I recently returned to therapy, and this time it’s different. This time I’m in a place where I feel ready to talk about certain aspects of my life, situations I’ve experience and emotions I endure as opposed to previous occasions when I’ve been there because I had to be (this will be a post for another day); but it has brought to light a few things for me which tie in to this particular video.
Like Carrie, it dawned on me that society generally appears to view our respective lives as series of pivotal turning points and key events. Viewing specific events as the most important, dramatic things and being the foundation for every essence of who we are.
And this thought process really does spark the good ol’ question, ‘What If?’. What if, this hadn’t happened, what if there had been a different outcome, what if this had occurred at another point in my life? And I really do think such thinking has the power to be destructive. Carrie explained how she sees herself in the light of two different ways – ‘before’ her and ‘after’ her. I know this is something I used to do often, and I guess to some degree still do but I don’t think it is a healthy mindset. To constantly dwell on what could have been and how you may be different if things hadn’t occurred is often focused upon the negatives you presently experience.
‘Would I be less insecure if this hadn’t occurred?’ ‘Would I be happier if I hadn’t been through these experiences?’ ‘Why did this happen?’
But the reality is: they did happen and you can not change that. I am in no way negating that, negating the intensity of these experiences but there needs to be more acceptance and less focus on these. It is so important to accept these moments and focus on loving yourself and your life regardless.
As I said earlier to easy to view these events as the defining points of your existence but, although proportionally they may have a higher impact, every single second of your life has shaped you from what you studied at school to what you ordered when you last went out for coffee. And just as silly as it would be question those events you know to be vital moments in your life it is silly to doubt and question these moments too.
You have the power to decide what makes you ‘you’. So decide that you’re made up of more than 5 moments, instead you’re made up of 15. Don’t just pick the ones that appeared to have the most impact because they appear more forefront swamped in their negativity, pick the more lighthearted ones. For example: lasagne is my all time go-to meal and from this Italian cuisine has grown to be my favourite so, for me, one of the defining moments in my life has to be the first time I ate lasagne! The importance you give to each of these moments is for you to decide.
Yes by all means get angry and upset about what you’ve experienced. I strongly encourage it in fact. Allow yourself to feel every single emotion it invokes in you but do not allow it to create doubt about your life. Do not allow it to be all you ever focus on. Do not allow it to be all that defines you. Give yourself permission to move on and allow other things to make up who you are.