Why Do “What If’s” Still Scare the Sh*t Outta Me?!?

What if’s

I hate them!

What if I can’t measure up to their expectations?

What if she/he doesn’t like me (the way I dress/talk, etc.)?

What if they don’t think I’m qualified enough?

A Broken Measure

Here’s the deal! The “what if” ruler is a flawed measuring device. With it, we place ourselves up against unrealistic or impractical expectations and units of measure that just don’t matter in the long run.

Why is it so hard to let the “what if’s” go, then?

I don’t know about you, but for me there is this nagging doubt in the back of my mind. There’s the voice that questions my best intentions, ideas and dreams.

There’s a judge waiting–too eagerly–to issue the verdict: “You can’t…” or “You’ll never…”

The truth is, I am. You are. Each of us is.

You are enough.

You can learn a new skill set.

You can switch directions, exercise competence and gain confidence and credibility in a new area.

Your value lies not in what you do, but in who you are. That never changes. You are complete and whole (even if you have not yet realized it). What you create has purpose and meaning in the world.

Your value lies not in what you do, but in who you are

Your being is enough…even if you never do another thing in your life. Once this truth sinks in, you will be content and never need to strive for external acceptance, approval or affirmation again.

(In full disclosure, I’m not quite there yet, but I’m working on it)

So…that’s what I want to ask you to close out this post. What are the expectations you put on yourself (or accept from others) which distract you from the art of being?

What fills your “to do” list but keeps you separated from experiencing the riches of your own presence in this moment, now?

About Steve

Hi, I'm Steve Rice and my goal is to transform simple philosophical truths into practical fuel to revolutionize your life. It's not about self-help, it's about self-reliance. I show you how. Connect with me on Facebook or follow me on Twitter and let me know how I can help you.

  • Inspirational post Steve!

    We all undergo the scare an fear about what-ifs- sometime or the other in our lives, and each one of us I feel- has the answers within ourselves also. It just needs to be tapped 🙂

    Such what-ifs and uncalled for fears do pull us down, demotivate us, and cause a hindrance in our personal growth and development. But I guess we need to fight back, just as you beautifully mentioned- that it all lies within YOU, because you are and you matter.

    I try not to put too many expectations and prefer taking each day as it comes, living in the moment and to the fullest. So, I am not all that disturbed or distracted much, or don’t really effect me to the core. Sometimes if it does, I need a counselling session with my inner-self and that is my guiding light to wash away all fears 🙂

    Thanks for the reminder 🙂

    • Thanks, Harleena!

      I’m glad you can relate. I think it is a common fear. It seems like no matter how much I address it, these things always come back in one form or another, though.

      You’re right…it’s so vital, in those moments of doubt, to trust ourselves and to trust our intuition.

      I think what you mentioned is key, though. You can’t put too many expectations or you’re bound to be disappointed. I love your analogy as yourself as the “guiding light”. That’s wonderful.

  • I have what if in my life but I think they are positives because I love the idea of possibilities. I know when people say “what if”, it usually leads to worry or discontent but for me it sparks my imagination and drive. I guess its not the “if” that matters but what you do with that “if”. Great post!

    • Thanks for stopping by, Ralph! I think that choosing to turn the what if’s into positives is absolutely essential to creating a positive outlook. Worrying is a learned behavior, and so we can learn to say “what if?” in a positive direction too! Great insight. Thanks for sharing it.

  • Hey Steve: Had to come over and check out the new sight. Inspiring post, as usual. I’d like to think we are all not quite there yet, but a work in progress as every day brings new knowledge.


    • Thanks so much for making the jump over here, Cathy. I appreciate you a lot! I LOVE the title of your CommentLuv post, so I’m gonna have to go jump over there and check it out….just to see what’s going on! 😛

  • LOL-make that site – although, come to think of it,sight might be the right word after all 😀

  • I loved this powerful invitation to embrace myself just as I am!

    I used to spend so much time worrying over the future and what might happen and I was unhappy most of my life.

    Eventually I realized that worrying over things wasn’t actually helping me avoid negatives experiences. I also learned that even when my “what ifs” came true, they didn’t significantly alter the course of my life, my health, or my self value. The truth is when I “what if” myself I have already lowered my expectations of myself and my life.

    So I began to ask myself, “do you want to be happy?” and the answer was always a resounding, YES! I can’t hold on to my fears, my doubts, my insecurities and be happy at the same time. The decision to be happy made it a little easier to let go of limiting thoughts and behaviors.

    Sometimes other people don’t have a positive opinion of me and while I don’t like it, my own opinion of myself has far greater impact than what anyone else thinks of me. So I practice self love and self care, and I worry less.

    Have a grateful day!

    • Steve

      I am so glad this post spoke to you, Chrysta! That’s a powerful realization you came to about “what-if’s” lowering your expectations of life! Thanks for sharing that with me.

      What an empowering alternate question you have found. I’m inspired by you. I’m SO grateful that I have found you as a new online buddy!

  • Great stuff!!! For me, my people pleaser issue can be problematic. I can get too caught up in falling short of what the people I respect expect, which may not at all be what I know I am called to do. I still work hard on that area.

    • Steve

      Oh, gosh, I am right there with you, Earl! It is an on-going process to be true to one’s self.

  • Great article Steve,
    Those “what if’s” can be paralyzing. I find it is empowering to turn those “what if’s” into empowering questions. I remember when I first began asking myself questions, like: “What if I lived in a world with a relaxed, yet focused mind?” I wondered what my life would be like if I was never a problem to myself. What if I really believed that I had the intelligence and talent to achieve my dreams? What if I felt confident that I could rely on myself to follow through – now what would I do? What if I could trust myself to act in ways that were always in my best interest – what new goals would I set? If you’re at all like me, you’ve probably come up with an incredible strategy for hesitating and procrastinating. There was a time when I thought that my discouraging self-talk offered good advice. It never occurred to me that I could live with a mind, untroubled by discouraging opinions. I’ve realized that we are all naturally ambitious and are much stronger than our doubts. The only thing that stops us from overcoming our doubts and expressing our ambitious nature, is our misperceptions of ourself.

    • Great point, Rob. This is something that I talked about in my book. Turning “what if’s” into positive expectation questions really brings great power and focus to our intention. Thanks for this powerful insight.

  • Hanna

    Very well said Steve. I couldn’t agree more what you point out with Rob.

    • Steve

      Thanks, Hanna. I appreciate you stopping by to comment. I hope you’ll swing by often.