One of the Most Toxic Words in the English Language “IF”

The door swings open, those inside shiver in fear. There’s an acrid bacterial smell of body excrement and recycled breathing air. The figure at the door holds a whip. He’s big, the whip is big. The pain it inflicts is known. More than three swipes and you’re out. He or she is your boss.

Not a real story?

Well, it’s not the way you like to think of it but to your entire nervous system, circumstances can be exactly this. IF you have a mortgage at home that’s more than your means. IF you have no confidence that you could escape if you chose. IF your home life is so terrible that you choose to suffer in this time warp. Your immune system and your nervous system do not have eyes, they only have stories.

A child wakes to the call for breakfast “IF you don’t come down the stairs for breakfast soon, you’ll be late” Reward and punishment. The child’s nervous system hears “I love you IF” – especially IF there’s a tone of stress in the voice of caring parenting worried about school, nutrition and punctuality.

“IF you do this, I will give you that”

Motivation comes always bound between reward and action with an IF. I will love you “IF” you behave inline with my expectations. This is a strange love isn’t it. A conditional love.

But love, as we descrive it in relationship is conditional. We say “IF you don’t do this, and do -do that, I love you” however we don’t mean it. What we mean is “I will be in a relationship with you, IF, you meet my expectations and don’t cross my boundaries, BUT, I will love you anyway.”

Love, like work, can become unconditional.

A great job or a bad job…. this might decide where you work, but the love of work doesn’t fluctuate. Sometimes we mix the love of work and the conditions of employment up. Our expectations get muddled with our unconditional commitments. We don’t stay where our conditions and expectations are not met, but this is not the withdrawal of love.

Scuba diving you may find yourself face to face with a 6 meter man eating fish, one of the conditions of the sport is that you wish to stay alive. Your immune and nervous systems do not know the real picture, they only feed off your reaction to it. And in this case, the condition you placed that you remain calm and relaxed to enjoy diving is broken. The love of Scuba Diving still exists but the nervous system and immune system have an associated memory now. And that memory, that expectation blocks the love of it.

One great example is a client who had a severe heartbreak. Now, ten years on, she has conditions and expectations of any partner not to breach the walls of her past experience. She has 100 IF’s and they are all based on avoiding heartbreak. Consequently, she is super single, super right, super sensitive and super frustrated. Her IF’S have become a prison.

The key to avoiding the confusions between IF’s and your Passion in life is simple… prioritise love.


You can change your expectations but you can’t change your love. And when your expectations block your love for people, work, life, communities, nature, environment and more… your energy, the source of which is your love for life itself, becomes blocked. Expectations block love and nothing on earth was ever built sustainably without the love of it.

I’m in my late 60’s – I love life. I feel 20. The more I practice separating my expectations from my love, the better I am, the younger I feel.

In simple terms to TURN UP in any aspect of life, let your doubts be cleared, and never let your expectations be a block to love.

If you’d love to do a personal coaching session on this, please be in touch.