The upside of future whatifing is creativity. It’s a place where you are able to dream, explore possibilities, invent, and work through multiple solutions. It is fed with a sense of curiosity, hope and risk-taking. It is the world of day-dreamers. The downside of future whatifing is that if you swim in it too long it can lead to inaction.
If however, you are a Past Whatifer you may become obsessed with trying to change something in your past that cannot be changed, blocking you from living in the present. Or risking becoming outer focused caught in the deep waters of guilting, blaming and shaming. This can lead to not taking responsibility for your own life. There is however one time when dipping your toe into the past can be a healthy practice. That is when you want to learn from past life experiences and apply those lessons in the present.
If you are a Healthy Whatiser you are aware of yourself, your strengths and weaknesses, and your surroundings. You accept the present without judgment and labeling. You focus on the parts of life within your control. You gather information from a wide range of sources and are flexible in your interpretation of others and the world around you. Life flows and you go with the flow.
Whatising can become unhealthy if it drowns you in self-pity, excuse-making, unrealistic expectations, or you become fixated on the parts of the situation you cannot control. If you find yourself becoming biased, labeling - what is - using dichotomous language such as good/bad, right/wrong, positive/negative, or limiting information to fit your belief system you may have crossed into unhealthy waters. Being Pollyannaish can also be an indicator of murky thinking. If you feel hopeless, disheartened, or bored it is time to swim in another direction. Prolonged Unhealthy Whatising, will diminish your enjoyment of life, friends, and family and manifest as physical fatigue.
Float -Relax -Reflect
Every swimmer has their favorite stroke one that comes easily for them and one they rely on. Even the best swimmers know there are times you need to pause and just float - relax every muscle in your body and let the water support you. A good swimmer also practices other strokes to prepare for the situations in which a different stroke will serve them best. Thinking is much the same. You may have a preference to your established thought patterns, ones you rely on, still, there are times you need to float, relax, reflect on how your thinking is serving you. Having other thinking patterns within reach can be life-saving. Just as successful swimmers practice many different strokes, so too a healthy person can perform well by exploring different forms of thinking.