If there is one thing I want to be more conscious of this year, it is the ‘If Only’s. You know – those things we blame for whatever we don’t like about our lives.
If only I was thinner or younger or my back wasn’t bad. If only I had more time, more money. If only I had everything I think I should have.
The ‘If Only’s (aka blame) suggest that our happiness and peace of mind are blocked by forces outside ourselves. Something somewhere is standing between me and the bliss I deserve.
But here’s what I’ve learned: The ‘If Only’s blind us to the power we have over our own joy, our own peace of mind – the power we have over our own bliss. While we may think it feels good to blame our finances or an ex-lover or the powers that be for our dissatisfaction, the truth is we have just given that person or entity control over that piece of our lives.
Lest you think we only do this as individuals, community organizations are often pros at the ‘If Only’s – blaming, playing the victim. And that means they, too, are blinded to the immense power they would otherwise have, with which to make things better.
If only the government hadn’t reduced our funding. (Translation: We have allowed ourselves to become completely dependent upon the government, and have not learned to take control of our own mission and our own destiny.)
If only our board was more on the ball. (Translation: Whatever it is, it can’t be our fault – it must be the board’s fault. And there is simply nothing we can do about it!)
We all know individuals who are chronically ill, who seem to lead more joyful, rich, gratifying lives than anyone we know. I hate to sound trite, but the old adage applies – it is not what happens to us in our lives, it is what we do with what happens to us.
So this year, I resolve to be more conscious of my own ‘If Only’s. I resolve to see the power I bring to each of my own obstacles. I resolve to see more clearly just how much of what is standing in my way is really just me.
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