Once upon a time, but too long ago, there was a girl.
Well, not really a girl.
In her early teens, she was no longer a child squishing mud in-between her toes and fingers after storm clouds had dumped soaking rain over the large backyard of the family home. Nor, after bath time did she hug her favourite teddy bear.
But then again, she was not quite yet grown up either.
An awkward in-betweener, she tried to work out her place in the world. Listening to her peers at school and their ever growing list of how things should be, the girl just sighed. To her, their ‘rules’ seemed elusive and out of reach.
Still, that did not stop the girl, on occasion, from becoming wistful.
One such time was on a Sunday morning. With the bright sunny day shining through the bathroom windows she looked at her image reflected from the bathroom mirror and said:
On the verge
Of taking a step,
But stirrings of doubt
Has you hesitating.
‘Aha!’ it sneers.
‘I knew it!
Woeful beyond belief!’
Listening too well
To its nagging,
Like oxygen feeding
A hungry fire.
Ever played the negative version of ‘What ifs’?
Imagine a situation where you need to take action.
Unsure: you hesitate, or procrastinate while you second-guess an outcome from a position of fear.
Typically though, this kind of ‘What if’ thinking presupposes a negative outcome and/or reaction.
Like as not, you may even throw in some catastrophizing for good measure: ‘But what if the plan fails, everyone will think I’m stupid.’
(Really? Even those who do not know you?)
While you may like the sensation of control: life and people are outside your control.
So, be kind to yourself.
Realize words such as ‘failure’, ‘hopeless’, and ‘loser’ can negatively affect emotional well-being and self-esteem.
Realize words heavily laced with negativity are only too keen to rob you of the confidence you need to take action.
So, the next time you are tempted to play a darker shade of ‘What ifs’, consider introducing some sense of balance to your perspective.
- What is the worst thing that can happen?
- What is the best possible outcome?
- What is the most likely outcome?
By broadening your view, you are also expanding the scope with which to find a realistic strategy that you are willing to action.
Copyright uncapIdeas 2015 (this revised version copyright 2017)