The dictionary defines this two letter, one syllable word as a conjunction that introduces a conditional clause. The word if, as a conjunction, is impossible to use without a spoken, or implied, use of the word then. Every comment that starts out with an “if” will need “then” to imply the condition.
If, for being such a short word, holds upon its shoulders the millions of wishes that man makes. Think about it in this way: If I were richer, then __________. If I were smarter, then _______. If I were prettier, then _________. If I were thinner, then ___________. Every one of us has used this conditional clause, and sadly, it is most used in a personally negative way. We use the if/then as a way to point out our shortcomings – all the things that we perceive would be better in our lives “if only” something were different.
But seldom do we take any necessary steps to make the changes to make the condition of this phrase possible. And yet, each of the things about which we lament are possible, if we are willing to put some effort into achieving them.
Ah, but isn’t it much easier to somehow blame it on the universe that we haven’t achieved them rather than take personal responsibility?
What IF we changed the structure of those phrases? For example, “If I were more careful with my spending, then I could be richer.” “If I took some additional steps in learning, then I could be smarter.” “If I worked on my wardrobe to make it more stylish for my figure, then I could be prettier.” “If I paid close attention to my food intake and tried to be more active, I could be thinner.”
But that’s the hard way to do it. It’s so much easier to lament on things we wish for in our lives that we are not willing to put effort into achieving.
I want to challenge you. The next time you have an “if only” thought, reverse the wording as I showed you, then decide if this is really a goal you want to achieve. If so, go after it! If you’re not willing to make steps to change the “if only” thought, then quit wasting your time and energy focusing on it!
Also, quit wasting your time on thoughts of “…if only I had, then _______________.” You can’t change the past. But the past doesn’t have to be your future.