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What if? Why This Question isn’t Helpful

“What if….?”  Does this question swim in your brain and cause you stress?

Do you worry about all of the possible things that could go wrong?

You’re not alone and boy can I relate! This showed up big time with me and the subject of motorcycles in our family.
First, you should know I have major issues with motorcycles…I’m okay if you like them, but for me, they’re just a NO.
When I was 18, I was working for the summer as a nanny in Nonquitt, Massachusetts, when I got the call that my uncle had been in ANOTHER motorcycle accident.  

It was very serious and he had lost his leg… and eventually his life. 

I had watched my mom and her family deal with his struggles over the years due to his major health and mental problems, all caused by previous accidents.  

I never wanted to have anyone I loved on a motorcycle.
So… I’m married to a man.  -A man who loves manly things… A man who for thirty years had wanted a motorcycle, and not purchased one because he knows how I feel.  

He had watched as several friends in our neighborhood would take rides/trips together and I knew he wished for the same. So finally, a few years ago, I told him if he really wanted one and it would make him happy, he could get one.  At the time he said no, that he was over it, and I thought he was… 

Flash forward to a beautiful fall Saturday just a few years ago…  I had spent the morning doing some work and running a few errands, and imagine my surprise when I returned home to see my husband had purchased a MOTORCYCLE!  

I tried soooo hard to be happy for him, but inside I was DYING. My mind was off to the races, imagining every possible way that this will completely ruin our future.

This is because their sole goal is for us to survive.  They want to keep us safe, but this isn’t helpful when there isn’t a real threat.  A motorcycle is neutral. It is a fact or a circumstance. 

The thoughts I have about motorcycles are what cause me anxiety and pain and it’s my job to control my thoughts. (Not saying it is easy!)
Our brains are excellent problem solvers in the moment. 

When we are in a difficult situation, say there has been an accident, -we can go to work to find solutions… call 911, administer first aid, stop the bleeding, clear the mess and so on.
When we worry about the future, we don’t have concrete issues to deal with, so our brains go to work trying to solve for all of the countless possibilities.  This is simply impossible. So you can see why our thoughts spin and go nowhere!
Worrying about things we cannot control makes us crazy!  

It’s made me crazy that weekend! 

But I worked hard to get it under control.  I didn’t want my thoughts to ruin my feelings. 

My husband was safe. He was there before me, unharmed… and I choose to love him in that moment, instead of destroying our time together with unnecessary mind drama.  

I thought, “I can’t control the future, and I certainly cannot control other people, so I guess I’ll get to work on controlling myself!”

Next time you start to worry about “What if….someone gets hurt, something goes wrong, we don’t get what we want, etc….”
Try managing your mind by thinking the following:
“What if…. everything goes exactly how I want… what if I accomplish that dream, feel that happy, win that race, etc….” (Even, “What if he loves riding his motorcycle and never has an accident?”)
You get the picture! 

Don’t allow unnecessary fear into your life. Worry is just a waste of our time and makes us feel awful!
We get to choose! 

Are you worried that your marriage is in trouble?  What if…. you found me just in time…you are learning to make it better…you trust yourself to do what needs to be done to make it work…
You’ve got this!

*Because I stopped resisting, my husband decided on his own, LESS THAN A YEAR LATER… to get rid of the bike.  No trajedy… no ruined future…just one happy, peaceful, me.