What would have been if...
An idea that wasn't realized, a pending conversation, a project left halfway, an unfinished subject, apologies not given, withheld hugs, unfulfilled goals... The list could go on endlessly, while a deep sense of frustration tries to remind us that what we underestimated was truly important.
This becomes evident every time we feel intense emotions while recalling what we cannot forget, when we catch ourselves repeatedly thinking about the same things, when our internal dialogues try to reach agreements, when we wish to turn back time to act differently, to do what wasn't done, to say what was left unsaid.
Life has a cyclical nature; everything begins and everything ends. Our psychic nature functions in harmony with this fundamental principle. In other words, our unconscious needs to "close" in order to move forward. When we remain anchored to the past, we stop emotionally even though we continue moving forward on "autopilot." The present becomes colored with the melancholy of what could not be. We become fragmented because a part of us speculates: "What would have been if...?"
When we remain anchored to the past, we stop emotionally even though we continue moving forward on "autopilot."
Sometimes this happens with significant things, such as a decision that would have had a great impact on our life. "What would have been if... I had graduated," "if I hadn't gotten married," "if I had children," "if I had seized that opportunity I missed," "if I had gone somewhere else."
When our emotions get stuck in the past, we need to lift the anchor and steer the ship forward. Each evolutionary stage has its own charm; endlessly idealizing past options conceals the "romantic" trap of addiction to the yearning for what is missing. However, what we chose and experienced cannot compete with what remained unlived because reality always differs from the fantasized ideal. Thus, we tend to overestimate the options we didn't take and underestimate our real life. We look disdainfully at the present and nostalgically at the past that won't return.
When this happens, the cycles of life continue to be active, and we are asleep. The trap of not "closing" the past hides the fear of making decisions we must take in the present. And the decisions we are not making now may be reproached later when this blessed unique time becomes part of our memories. Looking in the rearview mirror prevents us from facing the present with dignity. By replaying the movie of the "unlived life," we immerse ourselves in the inertia of not intervening in our everyday life and try to "edit" from fantasy what cannot be changed in the past. The result is only to torture ourselves and cause harm without generating any kind of change.
The trap of not "closing" the past hides the fear of making decisions we must take in the present
Re-actualizing the past, sanctifying the present
Now, there are those who can go back on their own steps today and take an untraveled path. When reflecting on what "would have been," leads us to decision-making and action, what was imagined can become real. This is only possible when we stop worshiping the longing and propose to act on what is really possible. We can only edit the past time through the decisions we make in the immediate present, not through the ones we have not made and regret.
In the face of the same reflection, entirely different attitudes emerge. In the first case, we pity ourselves; in the second, we give ourselves another chance... abandoning the ideal of the impossible and doing something real with the possible. We cannot choose not to get married, but we can choose to separate; we may not be able to get pregnant at a certain age, but we can exercise a motherly role if we have that love to give; we cannot turn back time to continue a career, but we can resume it from where we left off at any age; we cannot start our life somewhere else, but we can continue it where we yearn to be. Surely, many might retort: "At this stage," "It's too late," "It doesn't make sense," "I have other commitments." Arguments, arguments, and more arguments to remain imprisoned in that mental onanism that leads us to desire what we truly do not dare to make real.
It is not about taking a 180-degree turn all of a sudden, as that can result in imprudence and poorly planned audacity. Instead, it is more about adopting a less childish attitude regarding what was left unlived. If we genuinely desire what we yearn for, we can start devising ways to approach it, with awareness and full attention, making congruent decisions that lead us in the direction our inner self reveals. Undoubtedly, there will be conditions we must transcend to dare to undertake what remains pending. But a condition is not a real impediment; it is only a mental hindrance that prioritizes "what others might say."
If we genuinely desire what we yearn for, we can start devising ways to approach it, with awareness and full attention, making congruent decisions that lead us in the direction our inner self reveals.
A lived life obliges us to rectify our course if we are acting unconsciously and merely repeating patterns. A life not lived is one observed with nostalgia and resignation.
If your blood still flows through your veins, if your heart beats to the rhythm of your breath, you have more than enough resources to take action. Surely, we cannot turn back time, but we can choose how we want to live the times that lie ahead. When we settle our debts, we find peace with our essence.
And when the "unresolved" issues are not of great impact but dissipate our energy, the best option is to neither underestimate