How to detach yourself from the if...then mentality?
I remember I wanted to go back to Mumbai because I assumed that if I go back there, I’ll be happy. I remember feeling upset and sad about the fact that I wasn’t there and living here in Chennai. Due to which I honestly couldn’t enjoy the city the way I should have.
But over the past few years I feel comfortable and so much at home than I ever have. I’ve connected with the place and I must say I feel happy and relaxed to be in Chennai.
The if... then mentality is one of the most common reasons of unhappiness and sadness. We as humans have dreams and wishes and when our dreams and wishes aren’t fulfilled, we feel sad or experiences sadness. Every dream or wish that we have is conditional and directly proportionate to happiness. This gives rise to too many expectations.
Happiness is one of the primary emotions but we don’t really need a reason to be happy. We can be happy even without anything eventful happening. I’ve heard this time and again and I’m sure you have too. Happiness is a state of mind. It’s a choice. But in my opinion, I believe happiness is what it is, an emotion. We experience it just the way we experience other emotions.
So, what happens? Why can’t we fully embrace it and experience it?
I’d like to believe that as kids we were conditioned with the if…then mentality.
“If you eat this, then you can play”
“If you do your homework, then you’ll get that chocolate”
“If you behave, then you’ll get to go out”
So, every wish or desire that we had was followed with a condition that needed to be met in order to fulfill our dreams. We’ve been following suit even as adults.
“If I’m thin, then I’ll feel confident”
“If I have a successful job, then I’ll be respected”
“If I’m smart, then I’ll be taken more seriously”
“If I’m in a relationship, then I’ll feel worthy”
“If I have money, then I’ll be happy”
“If I live in this particular country/city, then I’ll be happy”
The problem with having an if…then mentality is that its never enough. We always want more. Having an if…then mentality can create a lot of blockages in our lives and our growth such as –
Lack of enthusiasm
Lack of confidence
To name just a few…
How can we overcome this mentality?
Its natural and normal to want more in life and want the best in life. In time we do receive all that we need and want but with the attachment of an if…then mentality we tend to create a lot of pressure and stress on us. A healthy way to look at this is to cultivate a new mindset each time we tend to fixate on an if…then mentality.
Try to understand your expectations – What we expect versus reality may slightly differ in that moment. Let’s say you want a great physique but you’ve just started to work out you cannot to have a change overnight, with regular and consistent practice you will get the physique you’ve aimed for. Let’s say you’re a business owner and you’ve just started out you can expect the business to grow slowly but in order to see some result it doesn’t mean you should work obsessively. Setting realistic expectations can be a mindful, pragmatic and smart decision. The more realistic our expectations are t