In our life how often we say either in wishful way or ruefully –
“ If I get so much money I will do this and that ”
“ If I had been born in the royal family I would have …..”
“ If I had done that I would not have faced this situation now ”
“ But I could have been better off if I had followed what I was doing ”
First taking up wishful thinking. It is good to have dreams but not to let dreams override what needs to be done or could be done under the prevailing circumstances.
Now to the rueful thinking. We fail to realize that it is past, GONE and we can not put the clock back. There is no gain in being rueful “If I had not resigned from XXX company, today I would have been at least Sr VP”. Can you go back and take your resignation back? No, then why feel that way. Yes, learn from mistakes and do not repeat as well as advise your kith & kin accordingly. While advising you may cite your example but not for being rueful.
To give some examples of day to day life –
Many of us do indulge in indiscreet talk about our friends, relatives, colleagues, bosses etc etc. When confronted by the affected party we try to bail ourselves out by saying “ But I did not mean it ”. At times there are stiff repercussions too. We do feel “ If I had not said it all would have been fine ”. What is the use of crying over split milk? We should have been discreet but what is done is done so why be rueful now. Learn from mistake and do not repeat. Few of us still continue with the same and keep using If and But for failures.
“If I had married that girl / boy, my married life would have been so happy”. Alright, you are having a rough time in married life but with this attitude would it improve? So why not take stock of the situation and see how best can you turn it around. If it is so bad that nothing can be done then why not think of options, even hard ones? But just remember that you can clap with two hands. So first it would be prudent to look inside yourself before pointing finger. There is a famous saying “When you point a finger at someone remember that other three fingers are pointing at you”.
“ We were so happy to find this girl for our son / this boy for our daughter BUT after marriage only we realized that how bad she / he is. If only we had known that before we would have chosen the other one whom we rejected ”. Don’t you think instead of thinking in this negative manner should we not put our energy to find solution with proper application of mind? And when I say “ proper application of mind ” it means with truthful introspection. Are we or our son / daughter at fault or not? Only then we see how best to resolve situation. There is hardly any situation which can not be rectified as most of such feelings are imaginary perceptions. An honest heart to heart two way communication can do wonders.
So, what I strongly feel is that we have to leave IFs and BUTs of the past and live in present to see how best we can make our life happy and comfortable. And of course in doing so we make others who matter also comfortable and happy.