Written by Jennifer Beach. Outspoken, honest, blunt, snarky, snappy; all accurate descriptions of my writing style. Full Bio
What if? What if it doesn’t work out? What if I’m wasting my time? Everyone will know I failed, and then everyone will hate me. Do any of these debilitating questions sound familiar to you? You’re not alone. Anxiety disorders are on the rise, and unfortunately, it’s our own fault. The way that we process information and expectations has taken a negative toll on our mentalities, filling up our heads with disastrous scenarios that will never play out.
Worrying is normal, but not if it’s keeping you up at night.
If nothing phased you at all, then that would be a totally different issue. But many of us torture ourselves with thoughts and scenarios that just aren’t in touch with reality.
Example: You just started a new job as a waitress. You don’t fully know the menu, so you rang in some orders incorrectly. To make things worse, you broke a few plates, and now all of your coworkers are annoyed. After you go home that night, you consider never returning to avoid humiliation. But you need the job, so you go in anyway, bracing yourself for ridicule. Much to your surprise, everyone is pleasant and carrying on as if yesterday’s disasters never happened. No one is mad at you, and they certainly don’t hate you. Now that you know the protocol better, you’re less likely to make those mistakes again. So it’s all good.
My motto: prepare for the worst, but hope for the best. Notice how I didn’t say EXPECT the worst, because then you’re already setting a foundation for negativity. Overly enthusiastic optimism can be unrealistic and annoying, but you need to keep an open mind. Don’t worry about something unless it’s actually happening. Don’t concern yourself with what might be, because it hasn’t happened.
You’re sabotaging yourself by worrying too much.
If you let your fears get the best of you, then it’s going to hold you back. You may pass up opportunities or act irrationally because of what could happen, or you have the wrong idea. Either way, you’re setting yourself up for failure.
Let’s look at this from a romantic perspective. You may lose out on a great relationship because you’re too afraid of getting burned again. Or let’s say you’re already in the relationship, and you become paranoid because you jump to the worst case scenario if they don’t answer their phone for 5 minutes.
People tend to expect disaster because they ignore the probability.
Here are a list of things that probably won’t happen even though you’re scared to death that it will:
Plane crash: Car crashes are way more common
I’ll be honest, when I let the reality sink in that I’m hovering thousands of miles above ground, it is a bit unsettling. I feel so exposed, vulnerable. My sister actually helped to console me on this by pointing out that anytime there is a plane crash, it makes national news. Why? Because it’s so uncommon. There are thousands of people who work to route the airways to ensure that there aren’t any collisions. How many car crashes make the paper? Unless there was a celebrity inside one of the vehicles, not many. That’s because they’re so common. So next time you get freaked out about flying just keep in mind that plane crashes are incredibly rare.
Judgment: The truth is, no one really cares that much
This is a big one. We think that everyone is watching and taking note of our every move. The truth is, no one really cares that much. Not to be harsh, but the fact that you said something offbeat in a conversation three weeks ago is probably never going to come up again. In fact, at the time it may have been humiliating for you. But the people you were speaking to probably snickered, shrugged it off, and forgot about it entirely. So stop worrying. You are your own worst critic, and you’re only shining a spotlight on your own flaws.
Abandonment: By avoiding being abandoned, you probably push people away
Unfortunately, this one is a bit deep-seeded and difficult to kick. Generally, if you’ve been abandoned or let down by someone you look up to and respect, it’s going to cause a huge blow to your ego and expectations of others. But you need to realise that not everyone is out to hurt you, and In both cases, you’re going to end up alone. So give people a chance to show you that they want to be in your lives. If they don’t, just let them go.
This article previously appeared on Life Hack.