If-Then Thinking - Daily Love with Mastin Kipp

If-Then Thinking

We all do it sometimes and, whether it is conscious or unconscious, it is a sure fire way to crap on the present moment.  It is living life based on a future that may or may not ever happen. I call it “If-then” thinking.  It sounds like this:   “If so and so happens, then I will begin to start living.  Then I will be happy.”  Maybe you do not realize how big a role if-then thinking can play in your life.  Take a moment and name something you’d like to have.  For some folks, it’s a promotion.  “If I get that promotion, then everything will be okay.”  Others might be thinking about finding a partner.  “If only I could find the right girl or the right guy, then I would be happy.”  Some would like to get out of the wrong situation.  “If I leave my boyfriend, then I will feel free. Or, if I divorce my wife, then it’s all good.” And still others think it’s about the money or the car or the house, “If I had a lot of money or a phat crib, then I’d get recognition, then I’d get the sex and then I’d have the power…” Blah, Blah, Blah!

Look.  There is no way to live in the present moment, to appreciate life and to be a successful person, while you are stuck in If-then thinking.  There will always be an underlying sense that something is wrong or missing, which is preventing you from being content.  Actually the only thing preventing you from being content is the thought that you are not.  I define contentment as looking at life without wishing it was different.  It is a highly advanced state of mind that does not come naturally, but which is available to us all if we work for it.  For effect, I will quote a rather coarse friend of mine who once stated, “If-then thinking shits in the face of contentment.”

Please note that there is a big difference between If-then thinking and working towards a goal.  With If-then thinking, you have blown off the journey altogether.  You have stopped living, or at least placed a condition on life that is dependent upon something coming to pass.  Working toward a goal can be truly enjoyable.  One can be in the flow of life without knowing what the outcome will be.  In fact, as you work consciously toward a goal, you might say to yourself, “I will be as present for the outcome of my efforts as I am for the journey through each day.”  Now, THAT is an affirmation with some juju.

And what happens if your If-then statement does not come to pass?  You may remain stuck until hopefully, eventually, you wake up to your pattern of If-then thinking and decide to change it.  Of course, sometimes your If-then statement will play out and, for a moment, the illusion of the “then” part of your statement seems like it will be achieved.  In actuality, you will be left with a continued sense of emptiness and will look to set up another If-then statement, which will continue to prevent you from being in the vibrant flow of life.  For some people, this cycle continues forever.

I heard a great story once about this man who was obsessed with owning a Porsche.  Even from childhood, he felt that if he could have enough success to buy a Porsche that he would be content.  The day came where he had built a successful business and made enough money to realize his life-long dream.  He bought the exact model he had always wanted.  As he was driving his new dream car out of the dealership, he saw another Porsche driving in.  Turning his head as the Porsche drove by he remarked to himself, “That was the one I wanted.”

Here’s the takeaway:  The journey is where it is.  Enjoy this moment for all the gifts of it.  Enjoy the challenge.  Enjoy the wonder of being alive with an opportunity to learn and grow.  Count your blessings every second and help others wherever possible to say “thank you” all the time.  When you catch yourself using If-then thinking, bring yourself into the present moment by saying, “I have all that I need within and around me.  I am in acceptance of all my life – its challenges and its joys.  I am blessed.”

I wish this for you.

Love and Acceptance,

Tommy Rosen

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Tommy Rosen is a yoga teacher and addiction specialist. Check out his website here.