For some of us, our life experiences have caused us to feel the need to be hyper-vigilant, over-prepared, and ready-for-anything.
We may even tell the story of our survival through the lens of being able to always prepare for the worst-case.
I totally get that. (Jenny raises hand.)
With Covid19, the election, the evolving reckoning around systemic racism, the economy, the upcoming holidays and so. much. more. Many of us are drowning in the stress of the “what ifs…”
- What if I’m not doing a good enough job as a partner, parent, citizen, employee?
- What if we don’t have enough…?
- What if I lose ______?
- What if we get sick?
- What if…..DOWN THE RABBIT HOLE…
And on and on and on….
Here’s the thing: you are living IN THIS MOMENT.
This is all we have.
So when you play “What if…” with the negatives, you are missing an opportunity to recognize positive possibilities available to you. You are spending this precious moment imagining the worst.
However, when you play “What if…” with positive statements you are giving yourself an opportunity to feel good in the now. And maybe even go after possibilities that wouldn’t be possible without your imagining them!
The idea I want to share with you was introduced to me by one of my teachers and mentors, Carrie Contey, and it profoundly moved me to more positive and possibility thinking.
I want you to take it one step further: can you “what if….UP?”
What that means is we often spend our time worrying about the future, instead of putting a positive possibility on those future thoughts.
What we focus on, often comes to light, even if we desperately want it otherwise.
Let’s get specific:
Here are some examples of “What if…” UP statements:
- What if I’m exactly the right parent for this growing person?
- What if knocking it outta the park 1 out of 30 times is way more than enough?
- What if we are all growing and evolving together and as individuals and everything is not just alright but it is “all right?”
- What if we can handle whatever comes our way AND we will be stronger and more connected because of it?
- What if our choices are keeping us safe?
- What if choosing love really is the key to it all?
Do you see — and FEEL — the difference? One raises your stress and causes us to slip into survival mode. The other invites us to trust ourselves and look for possibilities.
This doesn’t mean we’ll take our hands off the wheel, but it does mean we haven’t pre-determined the worst-case scenario is our only possibility.
I’d love to invite you to this journaling exercise:
Write down a few of your worries.
Address each of those worries with a “What if….UP?”
WHAT IF you took really good care of yourself today? What would you do? (or not do?)
What if this is just the invitation you needed today?