Ah, those two little words that I have used over and over again – they will never get boring. They are like my oldest and best friends, like my snuggliest sweatshirt and joggers or a hot cup of coffee after watching my son’s football match in the blustering wind. They have helped me through the toughest of times and I think it’s for one reason only: they give me hope. Hope that things will be different or better or just that things will continue to be OK (but maybe slightly nicer). These words make me think about all the possibilities there are in the world, and because I allow myself to, I believe that these things could come true. I know that they won’t all come true, and I’m not desperately banking on any of them coming true, because I know my desperation will do nothing but scupper their appearance!

For me, the words ‘What if …?’ contain a sort of magic. As I say these words, I can feel an electrical current in my body. Not so much of a surge, but a definite sparkle of excitement and expectation. I know that by saying ‘What if …?’ I am causing something to change both within me and outside of me – be it the universe or whatever higher power there is. I have the words written on a chalk board in my kitchen – just those two words. They represent possibility, the power to choose, the power to change – the power to do magic!

About a year ago, I wrote in my journal a list of wishes I wanted to come true. At that time, each of these things seemed far-fetched and out of my reach. I even felt cheeky daring to hope that they might become my reality. Rather than constantly visualising these goals and affirming to myself over and over that they ‘are’ true, which we are often told to do in order to create our reality, I just cast out into the universe a speculative, tentative ‘What if …?’ for each of my wishes. I didn’t attach any sense of desperation that I really wanted these things to happen. I didn’t hope for them, pray for them or become determined to make them happen. I didn’t even think about them much after I’d written them down – in fact I kind of forgot about them. And then, when I recently re-read my journal, I was amazed to find that every single one of them had indeed come true! Looking back at my wishes, now that they have come true, it kind of feels inevitable that they were always going to – very different from how it felt when I first wrote them. 

I’ve done this whole process again since then and, guess what? These new wishes came true, too! I believe the key is to not become obsessed by our wishes. If we become obsessed and put too much importance on them, we put ourselves under pressure to make them happen, and have to face the fact on a daily basis, for what could be a long time, that they are still not true, which makes us feel like we are failing. If we just put a wish out there and forget about it, there is no constant reminder that we are failing to make it happen. Also, by framing the wish as a question (What if …?), we are asking our sub-conscious to respond, which it does by making our wish come true! And it does this without us even realising it’s happening, because we’re not conscious of it.

So what should we focus on, if not our wishes? What should we be thinking about consciously, whilst our sub-conscious works away quietly and efficiently in the background on making our dreams come true? Anything and everything that make us feel happy! Whatever brings us joy and makes us smile and enjoy each day to the full. I don’t mean we need to spend each day on shopping sprees or in drunken stupors – I mean that we should spend our days being happy, whatever we are doing. 

Just choose to enjoy what you have, right here and now. Choose to see the beauty of the life that is yours. Focus on those things you love, not on those things you don’t have or don’t like. The more you notice the wonderful things in your life, the bigger they will grow. That is it. That is all you need to do. One way of recognising the beauty in your life is to say ‘thank you’ for it. It doesn’t matter who you are thanking – God, the universe, yourself. It really doesn’t matter. By being grateful, you are showing appreciation and noticing how joyful things are. 

And to top it off, this attitude is actually contagious! When you start noticing how wonderful things are and pointing those things out to other people, they will do the same. This has worked delightfully within my family. Without even thinking, I regularly exclaim ‘Oh, look at that amazing tree/dog/sunset/cake …’ and I have noticed that my husband and my children have started to do the same thing. By sharing their recognitions  of joy, they are not only confirming to themselves how great their life is, but also spreading that joy. It is so powerful!