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Relationship Advice about "If Only. . ."
by Susie and Otto Collins

We don't know if birds do it or if bees do it but we do know that most of the people we've come in contact with do it. What we're talking about is the mantra of the modern era--"If only...."

"If only" is what most of us tend to focus on in all of our relationships. We tend to focus on the qualities that we don't like in others rather than the qualities that we do like. "If only he/she would listen to me." "If only we had a bigger house." "If only he would pick up his clothes." "If only I had a better job." "If only there was more passion in our relationship."

One of the biggest obstacles to having great relationships is focusing on what we don't like about someone else. In fact, it's not just in our relationships that we do this. It's in most of the areas of our lives.

One of the keys to creating great relationships requires you to change the way you look at life. It requires you to focus on what you like, love and admire about the people in your lives instead of what you don't like.

Otto's son Steven says he wants to improve his performance in little league baseball. The challenge with this is, Steven doesn't really have the desire to improve. He would prefer to spend his time watching his favorite shows on TV, playing with his Poke'mon cards or
playing video games. What ends up happening is, Otto spends a lot of time trying to help him become a better baseball player by telling him "if only you'd do it this way you'd get better." Steven and Otto both usually end up frustrated.

Every time you find yourself saying those two little "If only..." words, this should serve as a reminder that you are wanting someone or some thing in your life to be different than it really is.
You've heard us say before in this newsletter about how important it is to love others in your life wherever they are and not where you'd like them to be.

We suggest that if you find yourself saying "If only..." about a person or a situation in your life, stop yourself and focus on the good things about this person or situation.

The joy in life just gets sucked out of you if spend your time dwelling on past unhappy events, things you don't like, things you can't control and futurizing about negative events that haven't happened yet.

In life and in your relationships you have a choice. You can spend your time trying to get someone else to change and be more in alignment with what you want or you can find a way to love them where they are.

If it's not possible for you to love another person where he or she is, then you have another choice that only you can make.

This is also true of a job or any situation in your life. If you spend your time at work saying to yourself (if not out loud) "If only..." then I'd like my job-- then you are hoping for someone or some thing outside of your control to change or be different. In this situation, you are again faced with the same challenge. If you can affect change, do so. If you cannot, then your only
option is to accept your employer and your job as it is or move on.

So we suggest that tomorrow you pay attention to the situations where you find yourself saying or thinking,"If only..." then write down what you appreciate about that person, job or relationship. Keep that list handy so that you can focus on the positives in
your life instead of the negatives. This is gratitude in action and can change your life.

Susie and Otto Collins are married, life partners who are Relationship and Life Success Coaches, and authors of several books and courses on relationships, including "Should You Stay or Should You Go?" "No More Jealousy" "Creating Relationship Trust" "Communication Magic" and "Attracting Your Perfect Partner." In addition to having a great relationship, they regularly write, speak and conduct seminars on love, relationships and personal growth. To read more free articles like this or to sign up for their free online relationship tips newsletter visit or

Susie and Otto Collins
P.O. Box 14544
Columbus, Ohio 43214
(614) 459-8121

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