‘Relax, stop thinking about it’, I said to a friend of mine few days ago. She was supposed to meet a guy. It was their first date, a real one in a fancy place, and she was worried. She didn’t know what to wear, how to style her hair, what to speak about… What if he would not like her? These thoughts had tormented her for some time. She couldn’t sleep very well, and she couldn’t eat. Moreover, she was thinking of different scenarios of the event.
She was visualizing that date in great detail from beginning to end. She was seeing him kissing her cheek, telling her that she wore a nice perfume, taking her hand, walking side by side to the restaurant, their discussions. She was living the date again and again, finding herself at some point in a not so pleasant situation: with a broken heel, with some tiny pieces of food stuck in between her teeth, with her drink spilled all ever her dress. In all scenarios the end was disastrous.
I tried to calm her down. It was obvious that none of those would happen. ‘It’s going to be ok’, I said. But she didn’t listen to me. She was like ‘No and no, I’m going to screw it…’ She was only attracting that disastrous end with her negative thoughts.
I find it fascinating how we manage to raise expectations, to imagine different versions of the same scene, and then we suffer from negative thoughts. And it applies in any situation: a meeting, a date, an interview, a project, a more or less important event. Instead of simplifying things, we make them more complicated and we forget to enjoy the moment. And I’m not referring to those moments when we are preparing for the event, but the moments when we daydream about what will happen during the event.
Our thoughts run constantly to our ‘big problem’ that ‘needs’ an outcome. We need to know that everything will be ok. We imagine various scenarios more or less brilliant, and we keep rotating them in our minds. Can one of them be the final, real one? Maybe or maybe not.
No matter how many scenarios we’ll imagine, how much we’ll think about that moment, eventually we will find ourselves in front of the situation, and we are going to embrace any result. This is the naked truth.
And what is the purpose of all these scenarios in our minds? They do nothing but agitate us, keep us awake at night, turn us into ticking bombs ready to explode. This is so wrong!
[quote_box_center]Let’s leave aside scenarios, and live every moment, not imagining it![/quote_box_center]
Some time ago I had a boss whose attitude I didn’t like at all. He was very stiff, grumpy all the time, and his simple presence took all the energy and positive thinking out of me, even in the most beautiful mornings. I couldn’t tell him what I thought, he was my boss, and, sincerely, his face didn’t invite me (or anybody) to confessions. This fact didn’t stop me imagine all kinds of scenarios. All those scenarios didn’t lead to anything, of course. They just stretched my nerves.
Later, when I quit that job, I told my new-former boss what I thought about him, about his attitude and his way of managing things (with the request to not take them personally, of course). He looked surprised and thanked me for honesty. I don’t know if he changed afterwards, but I felt damn good. And maybe, just maybe, it would have been better to do that sooner. After all, they are the people we interract with. By imagining them in different scenarios, we turn them into puppets and put them in a place or another, we give them the lines, reactions that we believe they will have.
Reducing the time devoted to ‘what if…’ thoughts means living more in the real life, enjoying the moment and the people around us.
Meanwhile, my friend had the big date. She didn’t like the guy, they didn’t have much in common and he had a strange tic, he was pulling his nose from time to time. All her scenarios were for nothing. It would have been better if she watched a movie or something, and go to that date relaxed.
Do you imagine different scenarios for the events that are yet to come? Are they useful or a waste of time? What do you think, divas?
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