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.
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?