What if I told you, it’s your thinking about the problem, that is the problem. Would you believe me?
How many times have you worked yourself into a rut, scared, anxious, worried, nervous, dreading something that is to come? Knowing it will be hard, stressful, troublesome, and sure not to work out in any good way. You just know it will be a disaster.
Whether it be a job interview. The first meeting with your ex-spouse after the divorce. Tearing down the ancient wallpaper in the guest room. Asking the boss for even more time off since your mom has taken a turn for the worst and might not live much longer. Holding a presentation for more people than ever before.
And how many times have you been surprised that the disaster never happened? Surprised at how good the job interview felt. At the civil conversation you and the ex managed to hold. How the wallpaper came down much more easily than expected. How the boss was very empathic and without any hassle gave you a promise to take as much time off work as you need. How you absolutely rocked that presentation, and they asked you for a quote for giving it at their sister company as well.
This if what I mean. How the problem isn’t the problem, the problem is your thinking about the problem.
So what if you picked up on your thinking? What if you became aware that you are thinking nervous, anxious, worried thoughts? Nothing more. Nothing less. You don’t have to do anything about those thoughts, but notice they are there. Notice yourself thinking and feeling them. Knowing what you are feeling are your thoughts in the given moment, not what the problem at hand will feel like. It might. By all means, it might. Because surely interactions with ex-spouses, wallpaper and presentations can all go horribly wrong, taking an even nastier turn that you pictured in your misgivings. But regardless if your misgivings will turn out to be true or false, what happens will happen. Why experience the pain twice, when you don’t have to?
Welcome to my new website, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.