What have you worried about today? What undesirable thoughts have you allowed yourself to dwell on?
I recently took a trip to the beach and as I was walking along the sand I managed to lose my footing and I injured my knee. I felt that sudden, sickening, sharp jolt that I’ve experienced before, when my body reacts with lightning speed to an unexpected trauma.
I got home and there I stayed, iced and elevated, panicking about swelling and how long my knee might take to heal.
‘What if it takes too long? How will I walk the dogs?’
‘What if it’s flared up my old knee injury?’
‘What if it doesn’t get better?’
‘What if, what if, what if…’
After working myself up into a frenzy I took some deep breaths and I reminded myself of words I’ve written before. Instead of saying ‘Why is this happening to me?’ I asked instead ‘What is this doing for me?’
What if I’m a little slower when I walk and I notice more of what’s around me?
What if I appreciate the mobility I do have and remember how many people would love to be able to put one foot in front of the other?
What if I trust that my body knows how to heal itself?
What if, what if, what if…
How many times do we favor the loud, erratic, negative voice in our head over the steady, softly whispering, positive one? How many times do we run through the potential pitfalls of a situation before we acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, it might all be ok. That maybe, just maybe, it might all be wonderful.
Sometimes, because I’m human, I play the negative ‘What if’ game in my head. It’s like a little party for all the self doubt and fearful thoughts to come and hang out together. They LOVE to get together and go wild. It’s a full on Ibiza rave sometimes.
‘What if there’s not enough money for me?’
‘What if I’m not able to keep doing what I’m doing?’
‘What if I don’t make it?’
Yep, it’s that kind of party. And I’m sharing this with you because I don’t believe in presenting myself to the world as a totally together person who never worries or has moments of feeling fearful.
I’m also going to share with you what I do when that party in my head gets too loud.
I Shut. It. Down.
I acknowledge that it’s started and then I tell it to move the hell out of my head. That’s when I get out the good booze for my new guests. Empowerment. Strength. Possibility.
‘What if I keep going from strength to strength?’
‘What if I can truly make a difference in this world?’
‘What if the happy just keeps on coming?’
It’s ok to have fears and doubts. It is. They’re reminders of our humanness, of our ability to experience a full range of emotions. It’s good to acknowledge them, it’s just not great to dwell on them. Because when we dwell on the nasty negatives, we’re not leaving space for the amazing positives that really want to come and hang out with us.
What if, what if, what if…
What if I throw another party in my head? One where fear isn’t on the guest list.
What if I stay focused on my path and keep moving forward?
What if we all just do the best we can today, with what we have today?
What if that’s enough?
Also published by TUT.