Are you a fortune teller?
"It will all go wrong anyway, so why try?"
"I'm not interesting enough, no one will speak to me"
"I will look/sound ridiculous and everyone will judge me"
Do these sort of thoughts sound familiar to you?
Let me tell you, I used to have these thoughts ALL the time. It was a constant chatter in my head, I was continually predicting the outcome of a situation and 9 times out of 10 it was a negative one. To me, it was better to predict a negative outcome because then when it happened I wouldn't be disappointed - sounds crazy right? I didn't trust myself enough to believe that I could handle disappointment and so if I convinced myself the worst would happen, I would be prepared.
The problem with that approach is that there is this little thing called "The Law of Attraction" and so what I was really doing was saying to the universe "I don't think I am worthy of this thing I want - I will mess it up anyway" and that message became a self-fulfilling prophecy. For example, I convinced myself I wasn't good enough to be loved and that my relationships would fail, and so I would push and test my partners until eventually they walked away. I even felt a sense of satisfaction in knowing I had been right and this fuelled my lack of self-esteem even more.
I also used this sort of thought pattern to talk myself out of doing something uncomfortable or scary, I would mess it up anyway so why even bother trying? I avoided going places, doing things and accepting invitations.
Making anxious predictions about the future is a dangerous game. It can lead to anxiety, depression and low self-esteem. It can prevent us from realising our dreams or getting what we want, it can take away our sense of freedom.
So what's the alternative?
1. Acknowledge the thought
We can't stop having these thoughts, they are a part of who we are but we can choose to respond differently to them. Become aware of when anxious predictions occur, acknowledge them and try to understand what it is about the situation that is causing a negative thought.
2. Analyse the thought
Work out why you are having this thought. The following questions might help:
- What are you afraid of?
- What is the worst that can happen?
- What evidence is there to support what you are predicting? - Facts NOT opinion
3. Find the alternatives
- What evidence is there against what you are predicting?
- What alternative views are there to your predictions?
- What is the best thing that could happen?
- If the worst did happen, what could be done about it?
4. Put it to the test
Ok, so this is the scary bit and there is an element of risk here but unless you put the thought to the test you will never be able to move forward towards what you really desire. Take my relationship example, I could have easily avoided a new relationship and avoided the hurt and pain when it didn't work out. Instead I chose to take the risk, to work on the negative predictions I was making and test them out. In doing so I was able to let myself be loved and to gather evidence against my prediction that I was unlovable and therefore my partner would leave me. It wasn't easy, there were times when I reverted back to my old behaviours and tried to test my partner but slowly I learnt a new way - I learnt to open up to him, to explain my fears and to find new ways to manage them.
5. Analyse the outcome
- What happened?
- Was it better/worse than you expected?
- What can you learn? Is there anything you would do differently next time
I will be honest, it might be easier not to take the risk and to remain in your comfort zone but I am assuming that if you are reading his blog it is because you have a desire in your heart to change and live the life you want.