For most of my life I have adopted this strategy….always be prepared for the worst case scenario and then you will either be prepared, or you will be pleasantly surprised when something better happens. I thought that it was a way to protect myself and to be ready and not be caught off-guard or worse. It was practical and logical and very, very protective. But it has only recently occured to me that it is also a ‘glass half empty’ mentality. What began as a ‘be prepared’ changed to a ‘what if’ and that progressed into fear, sometimes even paralyzing fear.
Living with the ‘worst case scenario’ strategy forces you to look at all the possiblities, negative possibilities and think about them, perhaps even dwell upon them. No good! It is not a strategy to ‘be prepared,’ really, it is quite the opposite. It leads to many sleepless nights and fear-filled days. How silly, thinking that I could be prepared (control? —-another blog entry) for whatever life throws at me.
As of late, I am trying something new and the few times that I have been aware enough to catch myself spiraling downward, this new ‘thinking’ has brought me great peace and joy. When I find myself beginning to think of the ‘worst case’ or even a ‘what if,’ I simply refuse to think of it and instead, think…..what if that doesn’t happen? It’s that simple……and that difficult. What if the ‘best case scenario’ is indeed what the future holds for a particular situation. I force myself to think positively instead. To stop at that first ‘what if that happens?’ and not to continue through the litany of fearful ‘what ifs’.
What I thought that I was being prepared for was not preparation after all. It was not living and enjoying my life at that moment. It was transforming a positive moment into a ‘what if’ negative moment. It was removing me from the present moment and projecting me into some future moment that doesn’t even exist and probably won’t ever be.
Sometimes the simplest and most obvious life-lessons are the most elusive. If I can remain aware enough to the present than I can live in the ‘glass half full’ prospective. Today is another day…and the learning continues.