sheryl bee

practicing wholehearted, soulful living

It’s Time to Break up with “If Only”

Now, if we only had a wheelbarrow, that would be something.

One of my favourite scenes from one of my favourite movies, The Princess Bride.  Westley, Fezzik and Inigo Montoya are listing their assets before they storm the castle to rescue Buttercup.  (Oh who am I kidding, the whole movie is my favourite scene!)  Now, in this case,  if only worked out in their favour because they did in fact have a wheel barrow among their assets.

And sometimes when my kids were little I practiced a great solution strategy of giving them in fantasy what I couldn’t give them in reality:

If only I could have a cookie, then I could get my homework done.  Oh yes, if only you did have a cookie!  How great would that be?  What kind of cookie would you have?  BUT you don’t have a cookie, so what is here right now that can help you get that homework done? 

But most of the time, if only is not our friend.

If only distracts us from what is right now.

If only keeps us from moving forward.

If only all of my ducks were in a row, I could take on the world.

If only I had longer hair, then I could really feel free.

If only I had 6 billion dollars, then I could go to London to visit the Queen.

If only I was ____ pounds lighter/heavier, then I’d ________.

The formula is pretty straightforward:

If only (I/she/he/we/they/the world) was/did/had, _______________, then, I (would/could have/be) __________________________ and THEN, boy, I’d be so ____________________.

The problem though, is that the if only formula doesn’t work.  Because we will never have the if only covered.  There will always be an if only.  And there will be another if only, telling us that the time isn’t right.  That we need one more thing.  And if only makes sure that there will always be another if only.

If only is insidious, unreliable, distracting and cannot be trusted. 

If only never acts in our best interests.  If only is a great friend to resistance because it really keeps us from moving forward.  If only has to go.

It’s time to meet what is.

What is – reliable, ready for anything.  Always here for you. 

What is helps us see the assets (things/friends/family) that we do have.  In this moment right here, right now, I have all that I need to be happy.  What is helps us live in the now so that our next moment can be brighter.  So that we’re not constantly living somewhere else.  Which of course leads to frustration and feelings of inadequacy and keeps us from getting into our creative space.

Oh heck, I’ve felt those feelings and honestly, I have battles with if only.  I’ve been knocked down by quick upper cuts and low blows.

But now I recognise when if only is coming around and I’m more ready.  Because I know that I can control them.

DREAM, yes!  GO FOR IT, yes! … but if only is not going to get me there (wherever “there” is for me at the moment).  What is will.

Have you had troubles with if only?  What keeps it in check for you? How’s your relationship with what is?

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