Fantasize not Catastrophize

Ever since I was an adolescent, I’ve held on to this weird idea that if I play things out in my brain,  they’ll never come true.

Whenever I’ve had crushes on boys, or really wanted a job-I wouldn’t allow myself to imagine a scenario where things went my way.

I’d imagine the boy that I liked telling me I was repulsive. Or that I would fall over during an important audition. I would play out the scene where I walked into a party, and everyone laughed at me. Whenever approaching a controversial conversation, I would imagine that I tripped over my words and sounded like an idiot.

I never intended to become the type of person who only imagined the worst case scenario. In fact, it started out as the opposite.

I used to be the type of person who would lie in bed at night and play out fantasies. When I was a child I looked forward to the hour or so before I actually fell asleep. That was when I got to be a famous actress. I made A’s on tests. I gave inspirational speeches.  I was confident. I could do anything, talk to anyone. Boys liked me. I allowed myself to become the person who I truly wanted to be.

I don’t know when I lost that… but at some point something switched in my brain. I realized that nothing ever happened the way it did in my fantasies. I became jaded. Cynical. I stopped believing good things could happen.

Instead of playing out the movie I wanted to be in, I started playing out the scenarios I never wanted to happen, because I truly believed that once I thought about it, there was no way it could happen in real life.

I then used that time in the dark to imagine that I had cancer. That I would get in a car accident. That no one would ever love me. I would even imagine horrible things happening to the people I loved, just so it wouldn’t happen in real life.

It recently dawned on me that I could  possibly have it all wrong. The good things in my life have all happened because I wanted them to happen, not because I didn’t imagine them happening. I would even say that some of my life this last year has played out exactly as the optimistic and hopeful child of my past might have imagined it.

And guess what? Bad stuff that I never imagined has  happened. People I’ve loved have died. I’ve experienced heartache and pain. I know that even if I had spent my entire life imagining every horrible scenario possible, I couldn’t have prevented any of it.

I want to change. I’ve spent so much of the last few years being afraid and always imagining the worst. It’s started to creep in every facet of my life. I realized this last week that I (not even joking) have issues with being a hypochondriac. I’ve let it ruin weeks of my life.

In the last few years, I’ve briefly read about vision boards and “The Secret.” and now I’m wondering if there isn’t something to them. Is there really a power to positive thinking?

If nothing else, I’d rather spend my life fantasizing about happy thoughts rather than waste my life away dreaming up negative ones.

What do you want to change about yourself today?

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  • Heath

    I’m a huge believe in the power of thought and in the basic principles of The Secret (if not the marketed packaging of it) and the Laws of Attraction. Discovering Eckhart Tolle is one of the most important discoveries of my life. It’s the closest thing to “religion” I’ve ever found. Really it’s just the most accurate portrayal of my soul and beliefs in the universe. I’ve always said that “The Force,” though it’s a fictional sci-fi thing, is actually pretty awesome and close to my own beliefs. I do believe that we have to be careful what we put out into the universal energy and what we attract and that we are all part of a universal energy. 

    Wow, I sound all new agey and hippy and shit. I feel like I should make poop or dick jokes now or something to cleanse the palette.

  • Sarah

    “I started playing out the scenarios I never wanted to happen, because I truly believed that once I thought about it, there was no way it could happen in real life.” -I used this same tactic every time I got on a plane! In my mind’s eye, the plane I was on would always crash leaving no survivors. It helped somehow because I, like you, thought there was no way it would happen in real life if I played out the fear in my mind. I felt like I was confronting my fear somehow. Pshhh. Eventually, I discovered that enjoying 2-3 glasses of wine before boarding a plane worked much better without me having to imagine dying in a horrific plane crash. 

  • Jenneethompson

    I’ve had similar thoughts and sometimes I catch myself destroying my own possibilities before they ever come to be possibilities.  There is a lot to be said about living in the moment instead of waiting for the right moment.  Unfortunately people seem to think that living in the moment is living without consequences or responsibility and being as selfish and self absorbed as possible but really it’s about taking the moment to enjoy life for what it is, to  laugh out loud and cherish the moment, and if the moment is bad, to learn from it.

  • Ducky

    I want to change my butt. That aside, I absolutely believe there is power in your thoughts. Positive people aren’t sick as often and reportedly live longer according to “they”. I’ve seen it first hand though… Is thinking positively about winning the lottery going to mean you will? Or if I think positively about my boobs growing over night they will? No. But my thoughts do affect my mood and my opinions and my reactions to life. Happy and positive is a far better road than constantly negative.

  • Me

    I want to be less negative too. I want to stop feeling unloveable and finally feel worthy. And reading through the comments, I’m totally looking up that dude Mr. Tolle (thanks!).

  • Me2

    ps. sorry about the fake email — disqus makes it easy to stalk people and I am skeptical about the ability to remain anonymous, so I never use my name or blog name when commenting on their platform. But this is asplnia.

  • CarissaJaded

    I’ll definitely have to check out the Force! I read The Secret a few years back, and it was really interesting. The whole “if you imagine money, you will get rich” thing kind of threw me off. I’m going to have to re-read now.

  • CarissaJaded

    You definitely are worthy! We just have to remind ourselves sometimes. And I understand the anonymous thing. I wish i still had that sometimes. :)

  • CarissaJaded

    I’ve been thinking “sausage biscuit for the last 10 minutes and nothing has happened. Highly disappointing. But yes… I’m liking the positive thinking already. 

  • CarissaJaded

    Love this. Being mindful is definitely something i’ve been working on. It’s so easy to get lost in the past of the possible future. I dont want to waste that time anymore.

  • CarissaJaded

    I do the same thing before plane rides! Also before I’m forced to drive somewhere on a highway. I am terrified of life. No more.