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Turning your “what if” into “but, if…”

I went running the other day, and for me that is the time I do most of my reflecting. I reflect on the week ahead, upcoming plans and sometimes I find myself falling into the trap of reflecting about the past. I pass judgement on my life and the decisions I’ve made that has brought me where I am. I feel as if life is always a work in progress, but there are times I find myself wondering, “well, what if?” 

In particular, the acting bug has been sneaking up on me lately. For those who don’t know me too well, I’ve wanted to be an actress since I was maybe 8 years old. I’ve been able to do some pretty cool things when it comes to the film industry. I’ve spent some time on the set of Nashville, done extra work on movies and music videos and appeared in student films. I’ve never fully committed to trying to “break into” the industry because truthfully it’s scary. Leaving the comfort of what people say is a “stable” work environment for the unknown is terrifying, but still I wonder, “what if?”

What if I chose to go to college in California? At the very least, what if I was brave enought move to California after college. Where would I be now? Would I be a working actor? Would I be a regular on a national tv show? Would you find me on the red carpet or gracing the big screen? What if?

Yup, those are the types of things I reflect on while running, but let me tell you something. Reflecting on the past, on all of your “what ifs” will do nothing, but drive you crazy. You cannot change the past. The choices you have made cannot be undone, so when I catch myself falling into the “what if” trap, I immediately turn it around to say “but, if.”

“What if I chose to go to California for college?” …. turns into …. “but, if I went to California for college, I never would’ve met my college bestie who has not only been my rock through the hard times, but is my travel buddy on all of our magnificent adventures.”

“What if I chose to move to California after college?” …turns into… “but, if I moved to California after college, I most likely would not have ended up living in Charlotte during the time I did to meet some of the best people ever. To create some of the most amazing memories that are near and dear to my heart.”

Yes, maybe in California, I would’ve made other memories and created a whole different kind of life, but that’s the point. It would’ve been different. The point of turning your “what ifs” into “but, ifs” is to change your negative thinking into something positive. How we feel about our life depends on how we look at it. In order to be happy with the now, we have to let go of yesterday. The thought process is pretty logical. If you put a car in reverse where do you go? Backwards. You change gears and suddenly you change direction.

By simply changing the way you look at something, you change your mindset and your brain suddenly changes from the belief that your life was missing out on something, to being fulfilled by all the wonderful things it has.

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