I was having a conversation with someone who was really quite anxious about a medical procedure that a family member was soon to undergo. She shared that her worry was causing her to lose sleep and making it nearly impossible to focus on much else. I could feel through the telephone line that she was already envisioning the worst-case scenario, although not a word had been spoken of this great fear.
Why is it that we so often jump to that place of fear, preparing ourselves for the bad news, the loss, or the upheaval? Why is it that the negative is the magnet, while the positive is given short shrift? So, why are we going down that rabbit hole?
Does “preparing” ourselves ahead of time lessen the grief or the pain or the disorientation, should that come to pass? If we’re really honest with ourselves, this “preparation” will have no bearing on the impact should our worst fears materialize.
In effect, we are setting up ourselves to feel anxious, worried or frightened before we have any concrete reason to do so!
Um, what’s wrong with that picture? What could you do with all of the energy being devoted to dwelling on the negative possibilities? How might you better direct your energies toward loving self-care during the stressful time?
So, let’s rewrite the opening scenario. Imagine that as anxiety, fear, or a nagging feeling that something is going to go wrong, begins to nibble at your brain.. what if you chose a different perspective? I mean after all, you chose to go toward the negative, why not choose another direction? Something with reality as a basis this time.
What if you recognized those things you have absolutely no control over, like other people’s behavior, or even the eventual outcome of the situation – and then… consciously decided to let all of that go. Truly. Just let it all go, especially since you really aren’t a super hero and don’t have the power to control these things anyway. And then, what if you also acknowledged the things that are within your control, things like your reaction to the situation or your emotions or taking care of you? Who would you then be?
Can you feel the difference?
Do I do this all of the time? No, I recognize that I’m a work in progress. But what I can vouch for is that this becomes easier the more I practice.
Your Call to Action:
Pick something in your life that is bothering you right now. It doesn’t have to be a crisis, start with something smaller. Next, go through the exercise of listing the things you can and cannot control (even though you would probably like to!) on two separate pieces of paper. Got a thorough list? Ready to give up your phantom super-hero power? Now, crumple up the “I can’t control these” piece of paper and as you do so, imagine that you are sending these things out into the universe. Perhaps their rightful owner will find them, perhaps not. Truly let them go. And notice. How does your heart feel now? How can you concentrate your energy on the things that are within your control?