‘If Only’ Steals Your Joy—Look For The Good Instead

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“You know the saying that encourages you not to let your happiness be dependent on ‘if only’? Like, ‘I’d be so much happier if only I’d make more money.’ ‘If only we had a better house.’ If only, if only, if only.

It’s an awful way to live. All the glory and beauty that already exists within your life doesn’t stand a chance against ‘if only.’ How can you ever see the bounty of what’s in front of you if you are staring down ‘if only’?

‘If only’ steals your joy. It steals your happiness in what’s right in front of you. ‘If only’ is a comparison, and comparison is the thief of joy.

Right now, many of us are focused on the ‘if only.’ Right? If only we could go back to school. If only we could go out to eat. If only, if only, if only.

I don’t know where you guys live, but where I am, it’s likely that we’ll be staying at home for a while. There’s no changing this new normal. Railing against and wishing for it to be different does not do anything positive. Focusing on the ‘if only’ can only make things worse.

I decided weeks ago to focus on the good. Each day, look for the good. While nothing is perfect, there’s a lot to be thankful for.

I don’t have to set my alarm.

My husband and I stay up late watching our favorite show.

We eat dinner outside almost every night and follow it up with a game of UNO or Trouble.

We take daily walks.

Everyone is reading. A lot.

We are building.

We are gardening and growing.

There’s structure and a schedule, but it’s flexible and resilient.

We watch movies. Lots of movies.

Nothing is perfect y’all. There are cracks everywhere, but the depth of them depends on whether or not that’s what you want to focus on.

I see how this new normal is bringing out the worst in people. It’s really the worst. Online bashing. Public shaming. Complaining. Group pile-on.

Have mercy. Extend grace. Find kindness in your heart. Be appreciative. Be patient. Find peace in the slower pace. Find happiness in what’s right in front of you.

Everyone is affected. Everyone. And you know what? They have a few ‘if only’s too. The difference is these may be a few ‘if only’s we should be thinking about.

If only we could all be a little more patient. If only we could all find happiness in what’s in front of us. If only we could all appreciate what we have. If only we could stop pointing to everything that’s missing. If only we could be grateful for this change and see this, it as the gift it truly is.”

Woman in car pinches fingers together
Courtesy of Melanie Forstall

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Melanie Forstall of Baton Rouge, Louisiana. You can follow her journey on Instagram here and Facebook here. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more stories from Melanie here:

‘What the hell is that? Is it POOP? How did it survive the wash cycle?! Wait, can poop be sanitized?’: Mom hilariously recounts ‘heart-stopping’ moment of confusion, ‘Hang in there, y’all’

‘I blurted, ‘I’m already ready for school to start!’ I’d forgotten how to act normal in public.’ Without hope I’m lost.’: Mom says of extended summer, ‘I’ve had plenty, thanks’

‘We left home on our bikes and didn’t return until the street lights came on. Growing up as a kid in the 80s totally prepared me for this.’: Mom encourages kids to have 80s-style independence

‘She’s 12 years old and has her first job. Four days a week. I don’t know about you, but I know for sure I wasn’t doing this.’: Mom proud of 12-year-old for first job, ‘There is not a sliver of my younger self in her’

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