Sunday, January 4, 2015

4 Tips on Stopping Negative “If Only Thinking”

Ever thought that if you only had this, or that or someone then your life would be perfect, fulfilled, happy, and peaceful or everything you ever wanted. Well of course you do. 90% of all people do this type of project thinking about his or her life, about future successes or happiness. This type of ineffective thinking causes distorted thinking, disappointment and toxic attachment in order to gain something or attach to someone.  

What is “If Only" Thinking? 

This specific type of thinking, “if only thinking” is mainly directed at “if” only you had this, then you would do or be that. “If only thinking” keeps you stuck because it is based on acquiring someone or something that will give you success, not on your own skill, ability or talents. This type of “if only thinking” also stops you from living the moment, assessing your life or feeling your emotions.

Need to Find the Answer

Here is an example to help you gain perspective and clarity on this form of ineffective and avoidance thinking.

You may think you know that “if I only had X, then I would be sure I would be the most positive and happiest person in the world.” You work very hard to get X, and you get X. As a result of obtaining X you find out that nothing in you or your life has changed. You say to yourself, “I got X, but it was not the answer because I do not feel happy and positive?” You admit is “No, X did not.
Then a thought comes in your head.                                                                                                                          
“Since X was not the answer then it must be Y. If I get Y, then I will be complete and satisfied.” You work very hard to achieve Y.
You achieve Y but discover that it was not the answer either. Suddenly a revelation, “it is Z I absolutely need, because Z will make me fulfilled and prosperous.” You work and accomplish Z, and Z is still not the answer.  

This diluted type of thinking continues on and on in your mind. You move on to A, B then C, etc. and still you do not accomplish or feel what you desire. Nothing is ever good enough. But what "if only thinking" has done is keep you from enjoying your life in the moment.

4 Tips on Calming “If Only Thinking”

First: Stop

To eliminate the influence of this project type of thoughts, stop, ground yourself with a couple deep breaths and then focus on your thoughts and attuned to them. 
As long as you ignore your own thoughts, too disconnected from them and take them for granted, you will perceive them to be your truth. If you allow to be your truth then they become diluted and you cannot help but be swallowed up by their attractiveness. Thinking “if I only would achieve or have the X, I will have everything” can be extremely seductive.

Do not take your thoughts for granted. Know the content you are allowing into your mind. You have the ability to change your thoughts once you know what is going on in your thoughts.

Second: Don't be seduced by false promises

Meaning don't be swayed into a belief or into a course of action that is foolish. 99% of the time it is your thoughts that are not true. The answer or feeling you are seeking will not be there upon completion. The best way to separate yourself is to imagine the “if only thinking” as a separate human who will not stop teasing you, enticing you or won’t stop bothering you. This “if only thinking” is so real, enticing and possible that you get lulled into working hard to achieve an end result that will not work. Unfortunately, none of the promises from this form of thinking ever come true.

Third: Be objective

Now view your thoughts as though they were are coming from that other human. Step back from the imaginary person with the “if only” scenario so you can be more objective and less emotionally tied to the thinking. Stepping back allows you to take it less personally and with less emotional attachment. The best way to achieve objectiveness is to imagine the “if only thinking” as another person who will stop at nothing to influence you and won’t shut up, for example an annoying used car salesman. Imagine that your “if only thinking” has its own body and mind. Pretend this person is talking to you and attempting to convince you “if only you would ... then your life would be perfect.” Once you have this objectiveness set up in your mind, then spend a day talking to this person. Guaranteed you will want to completely separate yourself from this person because nothing that this person says ever comes true.

“If only thinking” has far less impact on your actions, emotions, mindset or future outcomes, as well as on the world, than you would like to think. If you're willing to be objective and watch all your thoughts, you will successfully shut down the “if only thinking” and gain clarity of what is happening in your thinking.

Fourth: Decide to live in the moment

Stop counting on something or someone in the future being the answer to love, your fulfillment, happiness, or success. Once you stop holding onto the past or predicting the future (which is impossible), the faster you can enjoy the present with mindfulness.
The sooner you recognize that “if only thinking” will not help you get what you want any faster and that this form of delusional thinking is not really you. The quicker you make this realization the quicker you will become a much happier, fulfilled, peaceful and a more mindful person. Live in the moment and don’t become trapped in your past or unrealistically reaching aimlessly in the future.

                          View the Original Article  




  1. Amazing article!!! You just described my thinking in complete detail. I'm working really hard on changing the "if only" mindset and focusing on living in the present. Thank you for the additional tools in your article. I will definitely be utilizing them!

  2. Thanks Kate I really appreciate your comments. Life is meant to live in the moment. "If only thinking" causes us to miss what is right in front of us because we are to busy looking back or forward. I am glad you see values in the tools.


Please feel free to leave a comment. Your opinion is important.