Hello my lovely hearters! This is my third article published by @WeHeartIt_Editor since joining the We Heart It Writers Team, and I am excited to discuss the "Topic of the Month." Previously I wrote about the importance of moods and how we are mermazing just as we are. I also wrote about the reality of sexuality and how we as women (or men) do not need to conform to anyone's standards but our own. Today I wanted to veer off in a slightly different direction and talk about the importance of counterfactual thinking. What is it? Relax my friends, and allow me to preach for a moment while you indulge.

Counterfactual thinking is a psychological concept that involves the human tendency to create possible alternatives to life events that have already occurred

Meditate on this definition for a moment.

You will quickly realize that it is something we all do each day. I am guilty as well. However I have become less and less guilty of resorting to counterfactual thinking as I gained more confidence in myself. Second, guessing ourselves or our actions is a part of human nature...it does not make you bad. It does become bad or "unhealthy" when it becomes a regular occurrence. Nothing is wrong with setting goals or devising battle plans when we wish to succeed in something. Oftentimes, when we fail or the outcome is not what we expected, we become disappointed in ourselves and start saying things like: "I wish I did this differently" or "I wish I didn't do this at all."

Stop it.

Just stop.

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Whatever you did was perfectly fine and here's why:

Everything tells me I am about to make a wrong decision, but making mistakes is just a part of life. What does the world want of me? Does it want me to take no risks, to go back to where I came from because I didn’t have the courage to say ‘yes’ to life? ~Paulo Coelho

I understand some of you may have made some decisions that really hurt someone you love or negatively affected you. At the end of the day you must sit down and ask yourself this simple question: How can I go back in time and change this? The obvious answer is you scientifically, positively cannot time travel and reverse even the worst decisions you have made. If you cannot do anything about it, be at peace with yourself and be confident in who you are.

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Yes, you may regret making some decisions, but does that mistake define you? Is it the root of your soul? Is it who you really are at the end of the day or was it a split second decision you made at that moment in time? Remember this. Remember my words. I am not trying to poison you with psychological babble. These simple mental alterations will set you on a road to mental and emotional success. I understand those who may struggle with anxiety and depression may have a harder time letting go of these burdens. Anxiety and depression are two of my main companions so I can relate because they never fully depart from me. Don't burden yourself with others' opinions of what you did or didn't do. It may hurt like hell when someone we deeply care about judges us harshly for a "mistake" we made. My favorite Youtuber Sara K once said: "Smile and wave boys."

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I'm not sure if she created that phrase (probably not) but when she said it I immediately realized that it’s what I must do to maintain my self-confidence. The people closest to us might be the harshest critics sometimes. It does not mean they love us less, but if their words/opinions hurt us, we still have our self-confidence intact after reading my wise words. Got it? Get it? Good.

Stay Mermazing,
Follow me for more psychological and/or aesthetic inspiration. I try to upload a poem or prose each week <3

This article was written by @staraiah on the We Heart It Writers Team.