Last time we looked at the nasty little mind game of the What if scenario.
This week’s subject goes hand-in-hand with that installment. If any of my former clients are reading this you’re probably smiling to yourself about now because you know what’s coming. I call it writing the narrative ahead.
What if begins a thought thread that we, very unwisely, often grab and run with automatically.
Let’s use our third illustration from last time (when I cited several examples of different What if scenarios) to see this point – and to show its connection to writing the narrative ahead.
“What if we get to Mom and Dad’s for Thanksgiving and Mom starts trying to put my wife down in that way of hers? Enter narrative:
“I’m not going to put up with that this year. I’m sick of that – and I’ll let Mom know it this time. She’ll probably get offended and go to Dad. Dad will get mad and start letting me have it. Our arguing will scare my wife and she’ll start crying. Seeing her hurt will make me really mad at Mom and Dad and that’s when I’ll…”
As the narrative develops in your mind you’re getting madder and madder, more scared (though, if you’re typical, you won’t want to admit this one), and a whole lot anxious!
And guess what… you’re still just sitting in your family room with a cup of coffee! It’s September. You’re miles away from Thanksgiving!
You’re nearly three months out from something that might could happen and your thought thread about it has you in an angry, anxious mess.
[su_pullquote]What in the world just happened? You –
1. fell for the What if trap, and you
2. wrote the narrative ahead.[/su_pullquote]
We could also add a third point. You failed to realize how the mind works (see The Program in Menu) and to use that knowledge to avoid the pitfalls of #s 1 and 2.
What I mean is this – when you write a scenario (narrative) out in your head your unconscious mind perceives it as real. Consequently, it releases the emotions that would naturally accompany that narrative were it real. In our example, the emotions are anger, fear, and anxiety.
So there you sit, mentally worn out, emotionally amped up… for nothing. For No Thing. The situation isn’t even occurring in actuality.
What if and writing the narrative ahead are members of the Make Me Miserable gang that roams the streets of your mind. They want you anxious!
Just as I recommended last week, I say again – refuse to play the game. You don’t have to engage in writing the narrative ahead any more than you have to obey What if.
Learn to take charge of your thought life or such ingrained habits as these two rogues will make you miserable.
Anxiety is like other malfeasant emotional states – it cannot exist without our mental cooperation.