We all get scared or anxious sometimes. But some of us wallow in those negative emotions as a lifestyle. Do you focus on “what ifs” so much that it seems like the definite outcome of something that worries you? Projecting beliefs about the unknown creates great anxiety and holds you back from doing things you’d really like to do. Negative feelings can morph from “what if?” to “this will probably happen to “I know this is what will happen.” But since you don’t have a crystal ball, what you see as true is just conjecture using a lens your imagination looks through. It can go like this:
• My boss has been cooler lately and hasn’t mentioned me getting promoted when Ben leaves.
• It leads to: I must have done something my boos didn’t like and now he doesn’t like me as much.
• And then it turns into: I’ve screwed up my chances here. Why didn’t my boss have the courtesy to discuss the problem with me?
• And then you end up angry and resentful. It reflects in your attitude at work and people notice it.
This is a common type of scenario that happens when you let your feelings and fears create a false reality. Later you find out that your boss’ wife was in the hospital, which is why he seemed distant and his priority was on visiting her and praying for her recovery. Meanwhile Ben, whose position you wanted, stayed an extra month so the job was pushed back. That was the reality. But you created one where you felt like a victim and could have lost your job because of the attitude you had at work caused by the distorted picture of what was happening that your feelings created.
It’s important to stay grounded in what’s actually going on instead of letting your fears and anxiety about a situation conjure up something much worse than reality. When you feel an emotional response, try to catch yourself and ask what’s the reality right now. If someone treats you differently they might have something going on that has nothing to do with you. When I was a DoorMat I’d get paranoid if someone didn’t call or something changed. I was so insecure I always assumed the worst.
When you don’t think much of yourself it’s easier to assume you did something wrong but in most cases, the reality is that you didn’t. Keeping your emotions in check so they don’t distort your reality will help you to keep your anxiety down and see situations as they really are. It’s also more self-loving than getting worked up with emotions.
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