I wish life was simpler and I didn’t have so many things to worry about. A friend of mine told me recently about a book she’d read called The Secret. It says that if you want things to go well, you have to picture them going well, and that if you see them going wrong, they are more likely to go wrong. She says that I worry unnecessarily and that I “catastrophize”.
I admit that I do worry a lot, but I do it because when I picture things going badly, I feel more prepared to deal with them, and then when they don’t turn out as bad as I expected, it’s a relief and a happy ending. It’s always the things that I DON’T worry about that go wrong, which is why I think it’s safer to worry, and then things will always turn out better than I expected.
My friend thinks this is silly and says it doesn’t work that way. I would like to be more relaxed, and I wonder if maybe my friend could be right. What do you think?
I can see how this preparation strategy might appear to work for you, but quite frankly, you’re deluded if you believe that what you picture in your mind has any control whatsoever over “the way things turn out”. That’s ridiculous and impossible. Nobody can control their external environment with the power of thought alone.
If you look at the immense scheme of things, of all the occurences and events that are unfolding at any given time, your concerns are a mere ripple in an ocean… if that. The possibilities that will influence the outcomes of your worries are infinite, interconnected and variable. What you picture in your mind is pure fantasy, and I can assure you that imagining possible outcomes won’t make the slightest difference on real outcomes.
The only way you can make a difference to a situation, is by contributing your real action. Imaginary brain activity alone is useless. Visualization is necessary to map out the steps of your action plan, and obviously if you can visualize these steps clearly and see them working, it will make things much easier for you when the time comes to carry them out. So in this sense, yes, your friend could be right.
It’s important to recognize which are the things that ARE in your control, and which things you can’t control. Whatever you can do to improve the situation, do it. Then accept that everything else is “out of your hands”. No amount of worrying or hoping that the weather will be good, or that people will react the way you want them to react, or that the plane won’t crash, will make any difference.
And anyway, who’s to judge if a situation turns out well, or if it turns out badly? The outcome you hope for is probably not the best one. Just because the outcome is different to the one you were hoping for, that doesn’t make it a bad one. It just is what it is, and if you can accept it, you’re more likely to see the benefits of it. So if you can let go of any pre-concieved hopes or expectations of how a situation “should” unfold, take things as they come, and play your part in taking these circumstances (whatever they may be) and turning them to your advantage, then you can do no wrong.
Or to put it more simply, just do yourself a favour and stop worrying. If you haven’t already done everything you can to contribute to a positive outcome, then stop wasting your energy on worry and put it into action.