What makes us fear the worst rather than hope for the best?
I was talking to two seperate clients today about ‘catastrophising’ (it’s now a word ‘cos I said it) and how it seems to be a growing trend amongst people these days. I meet people frequently who believe that thinking the worst and taking things to terrible extremes is a good way to live ‘because then you’re prepared’. Ahhh phooey!! I must add, the other version of this that I hear often is ‘then I won’t be let down’. That’s a big ahhh phooey to that too.
Whatever happened to hope? Anyone seen her?
Can I say here, I’m not advocating that we all sing happy songs every day and pretend that the world is full of rainbows and magic fairy dust but I would love to see more people give themselves a break and just hope and look forward to some good things happening. Is that really too much to ask?
When I explore the reasons for people thinking the worst I often hear the same words; ‘safe’, ‘protected’ and ‘secure’. Well let me ask the catastrophisers out there (that’s now a word too, you can use it if you want); how ‘safe’, ‘secure’ and ‘protected’ do you feel when you’re worried about your plane crashing, your relationship ending, being made redundant, falling ill, failing the test or whatever disastrous conclusion you take your current chapter out to? Does it really fill you full of warm, comfortable feelings or does it just make you anxious, irritable and nervous about what’s ghat be round the corner (but probably isn’t!)?
Let me put it bluntly, it doesn’t work. You should stop.
Let me ask, how many times have you worried yourself sick about something only to have it not happen? Yet you still wasted 6 weeks/days/hours/years of your life getting worked up about it, didn’t you? When you think about it, it is pretty mental! You probably justify it with a big healthy ‘aye, but…’ to tell me why you were right to do it.
You know what, at the very least, just stay here, now, this moment. Deal with the reality that is right in front of you now. No reflection on the mistakes of the past, no time travelling to a sh!tty future, just look at what’s here and what you can witness. It will make you feel instantly better (but may prove harder than you think!).
But ultimately, practise imagining the good things and begin to notice what happens when you let yourself hope and when you begin to dream again. It’s exciting! We know it doesn’t always work out and, yes, sometimes sh!t happens. That’s life. But let me ask, would worrying about it for weeks/days/hours/years before hand have changed how you handled it or how it felt when it happened? Or did all the worry actually make things worse?
Hope and dreams is what makes kids smile. We marvel at their innocence and long to be like them again. You can be. You just need to let yourself.
The future is unwritten. Anything can happen, so would it not be cool to just hope it’s going to be good stuff? Well, dunno about you,but I’m going to give it a shot…
Dragons are real…Dragons are real…Dragons are real…
Speak to you later,
Dragons are real…