Choices, a thousand thousand choices, as Ozzy Osbourne so aptly put it once. We're surrounded by the little buggers, pesky drats that they are, and we're probably hung up on at least one. Just now, I was thinking about it, the enticing what could've been. The specifics hardly matter. And you know why?
Because it's not. Whatever it might've been, it's not that. It's this. And this is going to be staring you in the face for a mighty long time so you might as well get comfortable.
We all have it, that guy in third grade we had a crush on, but he never liked us. Well, what if he had? That's the truly interesting question. Except it's not. Our brains are wired to think it is, because thus is human nature. We always want what we can't have, but that just leads to a lot of unhappiness.
Perhaps that's not the best example. It doesn't seem like an important possibility at all now, but your life might've been quite different indeed. Suppose he did like you and then something horrible happened – might've put you off love forever. Or suppose he was your childhood sweetheart and you spent the rest of your lives together. The possibilities are endless. And this third-grade-crush is just as important as whatever's obsessing you now.
What if the guy in Marketing liked you back? What if you had taken that trip to Mexico when you had the chance? What if you'd had the lime sorbet instead of the strawberry?
The last one is obviously a trick question. We all know the only decent answer is chocolate anything. But you see what I mean.
We're happy to spend the rest of our lives being miserable over something as trivial as sorbet. And you probably know what I'm talking about, what your particular sorbet is, right?
And you're wondering what can you do about it.
Well first, we have to get one thing clear. There are, in our heads, two types of obsessions. Conscious and unconscious.
You spend all your free time daydreaming about your “other” life? You're always making up little scenarios where you'd made a different choice, or find yourself staring out the window replaying a moment in your head, but doing the opposite?
That, my friend, is conscious obsessing. You liked a guy, he didn't like you back and if you keep clinging on to that, pretending like he was some big Romeo and you're Juliet, then I'm sorry, but it's your choice. I know people like that, people who turn their entire life into one big drama and if they hadn't suffered that break-up/had been fired/won the lottery etc their life would be as it should. But it's not really like that. Often, we choose to lay blame outside of ourselves, even though we're the only ones responsible. If you're unhappy, that's on you, not on some ex/boss/sorbet etc. These things are only temporary solutions. Quick fixes, but there's still the same old problem underneath. So if you're obsessing over what might've been, you need to stop and open your eyes.
After all, if you want something good to enter your life, you need to make space for it. No good can come when you're not prepared to let it in.
Now this is a bit of a different matter. Here, you're probably aware that the lime sorbet wouldn't have made that much of a difference in your life. You realize, after some thought, that you're not even the lime kinda guy. It's gross. Really. So you recognize you're probably better off with the strawberry.
Buuut....there's that little voice, that nagging little bastard that's sprinkling poison into all your everyday thoughts. Be honest, do you sometimes dream of what your life would've been like if you had chosen the lime? Not daydream, dream. Like at night. Like really picture yourself at the counter saying lime and then enjoying the lime sorbet to your fullest. That's a different type of crazy and it's trickier to deal with. Because on the surface, you're doing everything right, you understand lime wasn't the choice for you, you're not hung-up, so what can you do about it? How do you convince your subconscious to get over the lime when you yourself are already over the lime?
Well, it seems you're not. If your brain is thinking about it without your permission, it means a part of you, at least, isn't convinced.
And what do you do then?
Truth is, I don't know. I'd like to tell you to do this or that and sound all sure, but the fact is, it would just be guess-work, really. I suppose you just live your life and hope for the best.
Thanks for reading,