“I’ve been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened.” -Mark Twain
I’m going to ask you to just take a second to really think about this quote.
Maybe re-read it a time or two and let the message really sink in.
Okay, hopefully by the time you get to this part, you’ve had some time to really think about and process that quote based on what it means to you.
When I first read it, I could not help but to think of how sarcastic it came off. The tone of voice that popped up in my head while reading it was very dry and to the point. But, then I read it a few more times, and each time, that tone of voice changed a little. Just goes to show how taking your time to process something, instead of jumping to conclusions, can really change your perspective on it.
No matter what inflection you give this sentence, the message is that sometimes we create issues that are not even there; and very well never will be.
By the third time I read this message, what it really said to me was that when you allow your imagination to get the best of you, your fears become your reality; without them ever having to even really take place. You see, a powerful imagination can be a gift, as well as a curse (at times) if we are not paying attention and remembering to reel our selves back in when it may be getting out of hand, or negatively impacting our daily lives.
Sometimes, when we let our creativity roam free, we can come up with some amazing ideas. It’s incredible what your mind can come up with when you allow it the space. But, sometimes, when we let worry take the forefront, especially combining it with the power to ‘roam free’, we end up unintentionally instilling a sense of fear in ourselves over situations that may never even happen.
It can be very dangerous for us to get stuck in this sense of “what if“, because we lose our sense of being present in the now.
I am sure we have all been there before. I definitely know I have. Missed opportunities, and missed memories over the fear of something that may or may not be the outcome of partaking in something. Looking back on years past, I can think of a handful of great stories I was supposed to be a part of, but I am not; solely do to the fear of the unknown.
Sometimes, they are not even full stories that I missed out on, some times they are just experiences that could have been– but, because of these ever-lingering “what ifs“, they are not mine to remember.
So, how about you? Ever miss out on an opportunity because of the fear of potential consequences? Knowing that the good could just as likely outweigh the bad, but safe seemed better than sorry?
The point of this post is not to ask you to dwell on the past, or put yourself in a funk thinking about all of the missed opportunities you have had, but to hopefully get you to think like this quote did for me.
Think about some things that may help you to say “yes” to more enticing opportunities, because you recognize them for more of what they are, rather than the horror of what they “could” be.
Here are some quick tips that help me to decide to say “yes”, when my negative imagination starts to wander:
1.) Focus on the positives– This encourages you to really contemplate why you feel like you’re being pulled in either direction. But, first, I think it is important to focus on the positive outcomes of enduring the opportunity. Do the positives seem like things that really resonate with you, your hopes, passions, and dreams? If so, that leads us to tip number two…
2.) Make a pros and cons list– So, now that you have your pros from step one, I want you to actually take a look at some of the cons. This is not to set you back to square one, or to deter you from engaging in new things, but to ground you back to reality, as well! Part of learning how to say yes, is also knowing that sometimes, it makes sense to say no… but, it has to make sense to you. These are your decisions; so make them yours! Don’t make them your fears, or your best friends, or your parent who is vicariously trying to live through you. We can always listen to the advice and suggestions of others, and take it to heart, but…
3.) Let your decisions be your own– this is the third and final tip I have on this topic. It may seem silly to say, but I find that it’s really not something I always instinctively do, and the sames goes for a lot of other people I know. A lot of times we find that some decisions we make aren’t necessarily for us, but they are decisions that we make to appease others. This can pose as an issue because we can start to resent the person for something they did not make us do. We are the only people in control of our own lives, therefore, our decisions are ours to make. Again, taking other people into consideration is an important thing, especially in a systemic sense, but at the end of the day, you are the only one in control of your own happiness; so take control.
You may find that some of these tips can recur; the tips are not necessarily rigid steps. It’s not a fool proof system for every situation you may find yourself in, but I found this to be a helpful way to break down some of those immediate fears or anxious thoughts that, in the past, had deterred me from taking a leap of faith, or trying something out of my comfort zone.
– Virginia Johnson
Are you struggling with making decisions for yourself, believing in yourself or would like some guidance with learning how to weigh out the pros and cons, or are you just interested in talking to someone about things going on in your life because you simply feel that you do not as you should? Sometimes having a partner in your journey can help. Give us a call to set up a free phone consultation at Life Skills Resource Group Orlando at 407-355-7378, and one of our Orlando Individual Counselors, Orlando Life Coaches, Orlando Teen Counselors, and Orlando Child counselors would be more than happy to help you, a family member, or a friend work on changing your life.