What To Do With The “What Ifs”

In my previous post “The Unthinkable,” I told about the day of our car accident which resulted in Mark’s Traumatic Brain Injury. When the unthinkable happens it’s easy to get caught up in the “what ifs.” What if Mark hadn’t gotten the job in Ogden? What if we had stayed in bed as I was tempted to and postponed our home search for a day with better weather? What if we’d stayed with the realtor or skipped lunch? What if Mark was driving instead of me? There are plenty of “what ifs” to think about, but that doesn’t change the reality of what happened, and I know it’s a waste of time and energy. I suppose it’s human nature to wonder if I’d done things differently—would life be better? Wallowing in regret only leads to discouragement and depression. My grandma used to call it “having a pity party.” When I recognize my brain is taking me to a pity party I refuse to go.

If it crept up on me before I realized it, I leave the pity party by concentrating on the positives: I am so grateful we survived the car accident and were able to raise our two children. I’m so thankful they weren’t in the car with us because they might not have survived.  I’m grateful for the people I’ve met and the experiences I’ve had since the car accident.

When I look for the positive, my eyes are opened to the good things I wasn’t paying attention to before. As I focus on the positive, I am consumed with appreciation for each family member and friend who has and still gives us so much love and support. When I think about the blessings, the experiences and the people we’ve met, I am in awe and my sadness turns to joy.

A Blessing

Our journey took a dramatic, unthinkable turn that day, a turn I did not expect nor could have prepared for. However, there is joy in this journey and at the top of the mountain there is a beautiful view.

So my tip for today: when you feel the “what ifs” coming on and your brain taking you to a pity party, refuse to go. If you’re already there, just leave by focusing on the positive and counting your blessings.