I am a thinker. When it serves me well, is when I want to write or make decisions. I am good at looking at a situation and seeing multiple perspectives. I’m also good at quickly reviewing the possible outcomes and dangers before making a decision. I can see long range goals and short-term issues. I possess a big picture view. It has aided me in being a calculated risk-taker.
When it doesn’t serve me well, is when I’ve launched into what I call, “disastrous thinking”. Disastrous thinking is when I go into over-thinking and launch myself into hysteria or fear about consequences that may not ever happen. It’s conjuring up unrealistic concerns and then using them as an excuse to keep me paralyzed. It is irrational fear. Fear is not a bad thing. It can keep you from very serious consequences. If I am walking down a street and I get a dooming feeling about a dark block, I will tune into my fear and walk another way. I never second-guess that type of fear, because it could keep me safe. But, irrational fear is not based on rational dangers. It is rooted in dangers that exist, but are less likely to occur.
An example of this type of thinking would be never traveling by airplane because you have convinced yourself that the plane you get on will crash. Statistically, it’s unlikely but you are convinced that there is some type of hex that guarantees that it will happen to you. It’s basically getting yourself worked up into a frenzy of what could happen. Everyone feels it at one time or another, but some of us allow this type of thinking to stop us from moving forward. It could be in a relationship. Maybe, you’ve had a few bad relationships but you meet someone that you really like. In your mind, you’ve created the whole scene in your mind. You start telling yourself that it’s not worth it to get into a relationship because someone will cheat, lie or eventually a fight will break you up. You assume that the new person will follow the pattern of hurt that existed in past relationships, so you don’t even give it a chance.
You may do the same with every decision in your life. You find yourself making plans to avoid the pain of loss. But, the truth is that we don’t know the outcome. We aren’t predicting, but projecting. When you envision disappointment, you set it into motion. What you believe is what you receive. If you think you will be disappointed, you are telling the Universe or praying to God for disappointment. If you don’t want to be disappointed, you have to see yourself happy. The mind is a very powerful thing. It has to power to shape your world.
When I catch myself launching into disastrous thinking, I asked myself questions. I question it until it seems silly. For example, if I was telling myself that I am afraid to go on a plane because it might crash. I ask myself, how many plane rides have I been on and there were no problems? Would I be equally in danger in a car or walking down the street? Can I trust that I will be okay? Do I trust that I am a survivor? The answer to those questions is yes. After some time of doing this, I have seen that I don’t launch into disastrous thinking as much anymore. My conscious and sensible voice steps up pretty quickly before the irrational voice has a chance to get worked up. The other thing that helps is not watching the news and being more selective about what news I do take in. I have found that I am susceptible to the amount of chaos reporting that exists in the world today. When I feel myself getting paranoid, I tune out. I stay informed, but I protect myself when it starts to be too much.
“Let me not pray to be sheltered from dangers but to be fearless in facing them. Let me not beg for the stilling of my pain, but for the heart to conquer it. Let me not look for allies in life’s battlefield but to my own strength. Let me not cave in.”- Rabindranath Tagore
What I have realized is that if I want to live life to the fullest, it is going to require risks. Anything worth having means risking getting hurt or losing before you win. I used to be so afraid that I would avoid making decisions. I wouldn’t commit myself to anyone or anything. But, not making a decision is still a decision. It’s a decision to let life decide what happens to you. It’s much better to take some control of your life. It’s much better to choose your destiny. We are fortunate that we are the creatures on this earth that are given a choice. But, be aware, you may be giving your choices away to irrational fear. Don’t let disastrous thinking to keep you living small because your afraid of what could happen. It is during times like these where the people that trust themselves and believe that they will survive are making incredible leaps. They step out on faith and are not afraid of falling because even if they fall they know that they can get back up. Some people look at this time and get depressed about what they may have lost. But, the truth is that when you have nothing to lose, you are much more fearless. Know, in your heart, that you will be alright no matter what you choose.