Sometimes I say things to people that I really need to say to myself.
It’s so frustrating.
The other day in conversation, my friend Amanda and I were offering tidbits of advice to our friend Laz. He began firing back with phrases that began with “What if this?” and “What if that?” Finally I said to him, “Stop thinking so conditionally,” at which point Amanda reminded me that perhaps I should be saying that same thing to myself.
I hate those kinds of true statements.
I started thinking about that later, and she’s right. Sometimes I really do live in the conditional tense. Whether it’s worrying about things that may or may not ever happen or justifying actions or inactions, sometimes I let simple possibilities dictate how I live. And that is not what I want by any means.
Because that’s not a bold way of living.
I used to be really bad about conditionals, especially when it came to guys. What if I try to talk to him, but he doesn’t want to talk to me? If I say hello to him, then he could find out I have a crush on him. If I don’t go on a date before I graduate college, then I am never getting married. (Yes, if you’re wondering, I do realize how ridiculous I am at times.)
Now I just don’t care.
But, I’ve noticed other areas of my life in which conditional living often occurs. What if I take this risk, and something bad happens? If my foot isn’t better soon, I will probably never race again. What if I don’t accomplish every task written in my planner today? But I think it’s time to throw the conditional out the window.
To love unconditionally means to love without limits or stipulations. If I truly let love direct the way I live my life, then it should be an unconditional love and, thus, an unconditional way of living. (And, yes, I do realize I just used a conditional statement there.) I want to live without limits or stipulations.
When you constantly live in the conditional, you’re much less likely to take risks, which could mean missing out on so many good things. I mean, so what if a little rejection happens in your life? It’s often those big chances you take that make you become the person you’re meant to be, regardless of whether or not those chances end up the way you originally desired. It’s worth it.
One day last week, one of my classes was being really bad, and the students were not saying nice things to one another. We were in the middle of an assignment, but I suddenly had a decision to make. At first, I thought, What if they don’t finish this assignment? But then I realized how little that mattered in the grand scheme of things. They didn’t need an academic lesson right then–they needed some life lessons and character growth.
So we sat in a circle at the front of the classroom like elementary children.
I made everyone go around the circle and say one nice thing about the person to the left. At first the kids groaned, but by the end they all seemed happy and had enjoyed sharing with one another. And, honestly, I wasn’t concerned that we hadn’t finished the previous assignment. What we had done was much more important and had more lasting value.
I like the idea of getting rid of the “if” mindset. We don’t know what’s going to happen in any future moment, so there’s no need to try to predict it or worry about it. Instead of thinking about all that could or could not happen, why not just go for it?
Fly or fall, the risk is worth it.