It's funny, what if is normally something I don't allow my clients to say because usually it triggers panic. "What if I get COVID?", for example, is a question that could easily trigger a panic response in any one of us that are sitting primarily on the outside of this thing with no first-hand knowledge to fact check or allay the fears that come from thinking about the possibility of contracting a potentially fatal disease. Which is why normally, I outlaw that phrase. Don't say it, don't feed into the negative thought spiral. It's simply not a productive line of reasoning.
But sometimes, I think it can be a powerful exercise to think about that question in the big scheme of things. What if, for example, I'm never known for anything other than what I mean to the people who love me? If I never get famous, never publish that book I sometimes still dream of writing, never revolutionize the field of psychology, never get a Wikipedia article written about me, and never have anything on my epitaph other than "Loving"? Would that mean that my life wasn't worthwhile?
What if I never "figure it out"? What if the meaning of life, the great spiritual answers to the universe, the wisdom of the scribes is something that I'm always questioning and never answering? Would that mean that all those questions beat me? That I never learned?
Or what if I never have "enough money"- whatever any one of us dreams of enough money to be? What if paying bills always causes me stress, tax season is always something I experience some small amount of anxiety over, my credit card bill is always more than I thought it would be? Would that mean that I wasn't successful?
What if, and this is my biggest fear, I fail? At life. What if I never achieve whatever it is that I think I'm meant to? (Which, to be fair, can change on a daily basis.) What if, on my death bed, I look back and am overwhelmed with a sense of missed opportunities, chances not taken, experiences not experienced? Will that mean that I failed, that everything I fear is true? Or what if that's just a perspective? One that I don't have to take?
I try not to take that perspective. On a daily basis. I try to look at the black and white thinking my mind does and see it as just that. To realize that if even one person I love has a better life because I'm in it, that I am winning at this whole life thing. To consider that if I help even one person in my work as a therapist, that what I do every day is worth it. To look at only the experiences I've already had, rather than focusing on all those I've yet to, as enough. To see my life exactly as it is as worthy, important, and big enough for this life I've been given. What if I, actually am, enough?