Hello “what ifs”

When I’m spinning in a sea of anxiety or worry about the future, the reoccurring theme tends to be sentences beginning with “what if…”. And these sentences always end with some worst-case-scenario I’ve managed to conjure up in the midst of my panicked state.

Does this help? No.

These “what ifs” are a pain in the arse. But the good thing about them is, they are so flippin’ obvious. When I learnt that a sentence beginning “what if” is a sentence based upon our anxiety in that moment, it made me suddenly aware of every time I said that, that it was not me talking – it is anxiety or worry.

A while back I then began to make a pact with myself, that when these stressful worries hit home, I will challenge the negative what if’s, with a positive one: “what if…everything is going to be okay?”

That sure shuts the anxiety up. It’s almost like I respond with a, “oh yeah…didn’t think of that”.

It doesn’t stop it. The fear tends to come back seconds or minutes later, but the intensity has softened. Just the impact of challenging the negative ‘what ifs’ is huge. It’s like giving the anxiety a giant slap in the face. Give it a try. This pact just kind of came one morning, when I realised I was constantly hearing reassurance from friends that everything will be okay…that everything is okay…so what if I started to think that too? I have always known, out of these anxiety moments, that it is going to be okay (and that it is really okay), but here I am talking about when you’re in those blinding moments of “what if” thinking. When you’re swimming about in negative thinking and negative future tripping. That is when I just wasn’t able to think it might be okay…EVER. Every single worst case scenario under the sun – the most ridiculous and the most possible – would come into my mind at some point. And so I began to train myself to think of all those words of reassurance from friends in those moments. Sometimes it helped, sometimes it didn’t. But just bringing these thoughts to the surface, brings that possibility to the surface too. The possibility that everything could actually be okay…

Sure, I don’t know how. And often I really cannot see how it ever will be, would be, could be…etc, etc. But the fact is, just as much as I don’t know exactly how it is going to be okay, I don’t know exactly how it would not be okay either. All we know to be true is what is happening now. All this fretting about the future just winds up this anxiety even more.

It is, of course, easier said than done. But just the simple act of challenging that notion that the future is going to be just as hard as the present, brings to your awareness that maybe actually, things could be okay?

photo 2-16

I know they will be really. I know they are really. I just wish that anxious voice would hear that too. But you know what? Everything is here to teach us, and maybe this anxiety is here to teach me to stand up to it and tell it to back-the-hell-off, because my heart knows it will be okay and that is what matters. My mind and its worries can take a hike. Anxiety gives you this need to make your connection with your heart and inner wisdom as strong as can be, rather than living with such a connection to our spinning and wondering mind, so that is something to be thankful for. Because that is a resource that is invaluable for life.



8 thoughts on “Hello “what ifs”

  1. I love it too… what if it never happens? Or what if it does? What if everything I ever dreamed of is just around the next corner? What if the answer is just there within reach, and what if I just looked sideways at a certain angle and it came into the light? What if…
    I’m going into battle with that one… It opens up possibilities that might otherwise remain hidden.

    • This is all so true! Going further with the what ifs, and getting specific like you have here is actually really fun and just shows us that we really have no flippin idea what’s going to happen – so lets play around with all the cool things that could come our way, and probably will, rather than all the shitty things that might. And also, the what ifs, if they actually happened, you can guarantee that they wouldn’t actually be as bad as we conjure them up to be in our heads! Lots of love, spud x x

  2. Mmm i loved this post so much. Something that I was taught recently that really clicked was that these thoughts, emotions and sensations connect us as human beings. They are almost the FUEL of our love and benefit to others- they fuel us to seek solutions and positive changes, they fuel us with empathy for others expressing these same thoughts and feelings. They are what make us human, what make us real, and what makes us connect with others. And I am also learning that thought we can(i definately did!) feel that we are the only ones out there feeling this, actually everyone in the world feels these things too, in their own way and under differing circumstances…but they really do just make us human. NORMAL human. 😉 xxx

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